The National Salvation Front Opens Office in Washington - Syria Comment

The National Salvation Front Opens Office in Washington

Bayanouni and KhaddamThe National Salvation Front has officially announced that it is opening its Washington office on May 1, 2007 and that it has hired former US Ambassador to Qatar, Elizabeth McKune, to represent it and lobby congress on its behalf. The NSF was formed over a year ago and is led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, the Vice President of Syria, who left Syria in 2005 and joined forces with the Muslim Brootherhood.
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Dr. Husam Dairi will head up the Washington Office. He is a member of General Secretariat of the NSF. From April 17-19, representatives of the NSF met with members of the National Security Council and members of congress to discuss the deterioration of human rights in Syria, the repression of the regime, and the terrible conditions of political prisoners.
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The Front argued that without democracy in Syria, there could be no real democracy in Lebanon…..
US lawmakers agreed that they must include demands about the liberalization of internal Syrian conditions with demands on the Syrian government to change its foreign policy before any real dialogue with Syria could be initiated. Here is the announcement of the NSF in Arabic. 
 

بيان من مكتب جبهة الخلاص الوطني في سورية
واشنطن – الولايات المتحدة
19 نيسان/إبريل، 2007
عقد وفد من جبهة الخلاص الوطني في سورية سلسلة اجتماعات مع مسؤولين من مجلس الأمن القومي، ووزارة الخارجية، وعدد من مساعدي أعضاء الكونغرس في الفترة من 17-19 إبريل، 2007. وترأس وفد الجبهة الدكتور حسام الديري، عضو الأمانة العامة للجبهة، وضم الوفد أعضاء من الجبهة وممثلين عن المجلس الوطني السوري. وعرض الوفد واقع حقوق الإنسان المتدهور في سورية، وتنامي حملة قمع النظام للنشطاء السياسيين في البلاد.
وشرح وفد الجبهة للمسؤولين الأمريكيين واقع حقوق الإنسان في سورية، وخاصة المعاملة المهينة التي يتعرض لها السجناء السياسيون بشكل منتظم، ومنهم الدكتور كمال اللبواني، والمفكر ميشيل كيلو، والأستاذ أنور البني، والدكتور عارف دليلية، كما تعرض الوفد إلى "الانتخابات" التشريعية المخزية التي ستجري في شهر نيسان/إبريل الحالي، والاستفتاء الرئاسي المتوقع عقده في شهر حزيران/يونيو القادم. وأكد الوفد على قناعته بأن هذه العملية عديمة الجدوى، إن لم تكن مدعاة للسخرية، بسبب القيود القانونية المتعددة المفروضة على الأحزاب والمرشحين المستقلين، بما يضمن فوز حزب البعث والأحزاب الشكلية التي تدور في فلكه. وأشار الوفد إلى غياب حرية الاختيار في الاستفتاء الرئاسي، حيث تتم العملية في العلن—أمام ممثلين لرجال الأمن- وذلك في محاولة واضحة لإرهاب الناخبين. وأثار الوفد ضرورة تركيز الرأي العام على هذه القضايا، خاصة على ضوء زيارة أعضاء من الكونغرس الأمريكي إلى سورية، والطريقة التي يحاول النظام استغلال هذه الزيارات في إعلامه الرسمي.
ونقل وفد الجبهة تقييمه للمسؤولين الأمريكيين بأن سلوك النظام لن يتغير إلا بعملية تحول ديمقراطي حقيقية. وبالنسبة للوضع في لبنان، أكد الوفد على أن لبنان لن ينعم بالديمقراطية والاستقرار إلا بوجود نظام ديمقراطي في سورية. وأضاف وفد الجبهة أن الشعبين السوري واللبناني قد عانا بما فيه الكفاية على يدي نظام الأسد الاستبدادي الفاسد.
 
ومن ناحيته، عبر ممثلو مجلس الأمن القومي ووزارة الخارجية عن عدم رضاهم عن سياسات النظام السوري وتصرفاته، قائلين بإنهم لم يلمسوا أي إشارة على نوايا النظام السوري تغيير سلوكه ليبرر انفتاح الولايات المتحدة تجاهه. هذا وقد تم إبلاغ وفد الجبهة بأن الإدارة ليست معنية بالحديث إلى النظام السوري. هذه الرسالة الواضحة والقوية، تم التأكيد عليها في المؤتمر الصحفي الذي عقده السيد سكوت كاربنتر، نائب مساعد وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية، مع مراسلي وسائل الإعلام العرب في واشنطن. فقد قال السيد كاربنتر، في لقاءه مع الصحفيين العرب، بإن الإدارة تريد أن ترى "بداية لمسار" يؤدي في النهاية الى إصلاح سياسي داخلي وديمقراطية حقيقية في سوريا.
 
وفي موضوع متصل، أخبر بعض مساعدي أعضاء الكونغرس وفد الجبهة، بإنه تم إبلاغ رسالة قوية وواضحة حول حقوق الإنسان إلى المسؤولين السوريين، بمن فيهم بشار الأسد، وأن أي وعد بتحسين العلاقات مع الولايات المتحدة رهن بتغيير سلوك النظام السوري على كافة الجبهات، بما في ذلك تحسين واقع حقوق الإنسان، والانفتاح والإصلاح السياسي الداخلي. واتفق الجانبان على أن الرسالة التي حملها أعضاء الكونغرس أثناء زيارتهم إلى سورية قد تم تشويهها في الإعلام السوري.
ومن جانبه، فقد اغتنم وفد الجبهة الفرصة للإعلان عن افتتاح مكتب جبهة الخلاص الوطني في واشنطن بشكل رسمي في الأول من شهر آيار/مايو المقبل. وسيقوم على أنشطة المكتب أعضاء الجبهة في الولايات المتحدة، بينما تساعد في الإشراف على إدارته –كمستشارة- سعادة السفيرة إليزابيث مكنو، السفيرة الأمريكية السابقة في قطر. وسيركز مكتب الجبهة في الولايات المتحدة جهوده في التواصل مع الإدارة الأمريكية وأعضاء الكونغرس، إضافة إلى تواصله مع أعضاء الجالية السورية الأمريكية، للمساعدة على تقديم صورة واضحة عن الوضع في سورية والمنطقة عموماً.

Comments (100)


ausamaa said:

Imagine Syria being ruled by the two “Liberal and Democratic” personalities pictured above.

April 21st, 2007, 5:46 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

LOL Ausamaa. So true. It never fails to amaze me how, for example, Khaddam, a certified thief for 30 years would get to be born-again democracy lover. What Kool-Aid did he drink, and who hid that Kool-Aid from him for 30 years?

In fact, this is the only posting on SC I did not bother to read above what is in the title. What a waste of precious space.

April 21st, 2007, 6:41 pm

 

Innocent_Criminal said:

You should read deeper into this than just these two clowns. They wouldn’t dare and couldn’t even if they wanted to, pull something like this without regional backers. it just goes to show you that the relationship between Riyadh and Damascus is still shit.

April 21st, 2007, 6:56 pm

 

ausamaa said:

IC,
You are right, there is definitly more to it. But if these are the best “faces” they can put forward, then they are in for a big dissapointment.

But again, and judging by the fact that the US can not seriously seek an MB style “regime” in Damascuse, then the Bush Admin is merely using them (the MBs) for the time being just to cause as much “trouble” and “headach” as possible. The fact the that MB is now having a Washington DC address will provide the Syrian authoreties with great milage and would further discredit the MB inside Syria.

Why is every one acting so desperately? From the MBs to Jordan’s King Abdullah (recent statements), to the Feb 14 crowd? Is there some sort of a timetable or deadline that is drawing near?

April 21st, 2007, 7:36 pm

 

G said:

Oh no, IC. Just look at the pictures that Alex linked the other day! That surely proves you’re wrong!

April 21st, 2007, 7:48 pm

 

bilal said:

to Ford Perfect
Yes I am looking to the day that the NSF will liberate Syria and I am sure then you will be proud to be Syrian and will dance on the tables.

April 21st, 2007, 8:14 pm

 

bilal said:

I am surprised by these comments. First we have heard a lot of accusations concerning Khaddam corruption by the present regime and still NO evidence was present. Khaddam has even challenged the regime to form a committee to investigate corruptions and let them start by his. They were not able to answer this challenge because they have searched and were not able to find ANYTHING. Let’s face it, when Khaddam was handling foreign policy up until 1998 Syria was in a much much better situation internationally than now. Look where we were in Lebanon, in the Arab world and internationally and where we are now. Definitely he is way more capable to lead Syria than an inexperienced adventurous amateur that we have now. Furthermore, Khaddam is not willing to lead Syria. Only democracy will.
We should not be closed minded. We need democracy badly in order to survive in this world. With the present corrupt regime all the Syrian wealth is shared by the ruling family depriving the Syrian population from prosperity and development. We need this democracy thru the NSF or any other mean. We should support the NSF, the Damascus Declaration, and any other Syrian opposition that will help us get rid of this corrupt regime.
Yes the NSF and other opposition group should target the US, Europe, Saudi Arabia, & others to help us get liberated. They should seek whatever means to achieve this providing of course that they do not give up any Syrian right or power and we know that the NSF & the Damascus Declaration will never do this. We actually see that the present regime is doing this by secret negotiation with the Israel thru Mr. Souleiman. Bashar is ready to give up the whole Golan for his regime. We should be careful.

April 21st, 2007, 9:26 pm

 

Alex said:

Why Syria did not mind trading its share of Palestinian Israeli conflict resolution management to the Saudis (for now, until the Damascus summit next year) … it aint going far.

Haaretz:

Jordan’s Abdullah tells Israel: We share same enemies

Jordan’s King Abdullah II yesterday told a delegation of Knesset members that “we are in the same boat, we have the same problem. We have the same enemies.” The king reiterated the comments a number of times, which those at the meeting said referred to Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Abdullah also emphasized that he spoke not only for Jordan but for a group of states in the region. The king asked at one point: “Do you want Iran on the banks of the Jordan?”

Former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin said in response: “I have seen Jordanian openness that does not hesitate to scold extremist Muslims.” MK Shlomo Breznitz said that the comments raise the first hope that moderates plan to set the tone in the Arab world. “The style and daring are new,” he said.

meanwhile…

Arab press

تصريحات العاهل الأردني الأخيرة تستفز الفلسطينيين

King of Jordan’s latest statements anger Palestinians…

April 21st, 2007, 9:29 pm

 

ausamaa said:

Bilal,

If the Muslim Brotherhood ever takes over, I doubt that they will permit dancing of any kind; on the tables or under the tables. Unless their leadership has become socially liberated after spending so many years schmoozing all over Europe, and DC as of lately.

You really want those guys in?? Uhhhh..!

April 21st, 2007, 9:31 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

It is normal for the NSF to have an office in USA,(washington),it is not a step backward,afterall most of the opposition to the syrian regime are living in USA,what I am against is the creation of a lobby that needs to work with the american adminstration, we should never forget that Ibrahim suliman went to Isreal saying he is doing it on behalf of the syrian goverment,talking to the isreali officials, comparing the two,I do not see anything wrong with NSF opening office in D.C.

Imad said:
They should strengthen their ranks and means and be seeking help in setting appointments with President Assad and make a deal with his Excellency. By exchanging views directly, there is a better chance that changes may come.
Imad did you forget that those who did that ,now they live in syrian prisons.

April 21st, 2007, 9:35 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Al Jazeerah just mention that, that the Iraqi refugee,in Syria and Jordan are 4 million iraqi, this number is huge, I wonder if this is permanent immigration.

April 21st, 2007, 9:48 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Syria and its people face a number of challenges that need to be addressed. Having said this, I fail to see how a more religiously inclined leadership will solve its problems. Does Mr. Bayanoni really think that he has what it takes to address the country’s challenges? I see absolutely no room for people like him in power. Does the U.S. really think that such individuals will lead Syria into a more democratic landscape? What a joke.

April 21st, 2007, 9:55 pm

 

K said:

I support any Syrian opposition movement. I have my preferences among them – for liberals, secularists and democrats over ex-regime figures and Islamists – but my main concern is Lebanon. I don’t care what form of dictatorship, “Islamic” or Ba’thist, Syrians choose from themselves so long as their foreign policy respects Lebanon’s sovereignty. Ideally it will be a Syria of freedom and social justice so the Syrian people live without oppression, but I can’t impose my view on this. What can I can impose on Syria, by any means necessary, is respect for Lebanon’s independence.

April 21st, 2007, 10:07 pm

 

bilal said:

to ausamaa
No the MB will not take over nor the NSF will take over. It will be the Syrian people that will take over. They will FREELY elect the best to do what THEY want. In case this guy does not do a good job or become corrupt he will be kicked from office and not just pass it to his kids.

The Syrian opposition does not want or expect the US to overthrow the Syrian Regime. All what they want is to stop the Syrian Regime to struck a deal with the US against the interest of the Syrian people as President Bashar is badly trying and will give up whatever it takes to save his long neck.

The NSF has opened an office in Washington DC, Paris, London, & other regional cities.

April 21st, 2007, 10:26 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

bilal said:

I am surprised by these comments. First we have heard a lot of accusations concerning Khaddam corruption by the present regime and still NO evidence was present.

Bilal,

You’re surprised? I’m not. The posters on this website don’t really care about thieves and they surely don’t give a damn about democracy, freedom and human rights. No, they prefer to complain, whine, and support the bigger thieves that payoff and use fundamentalists and terrorist to continue their jihad against Israel and their own peopel! And when someone dies in process, these whiners cry foul and wonder why the Zionists fight back.

So when the Hamas and Hezbollah start the next war, please don’t be surprised. When the thieves rob the state and stiffle economic progress in the Middle East, please don’t be surprised. You’ll know who to blame.

majedkhaldoun said:

what I am against is the creation of a lobby that needs to work with the american adminstration

Whether you like it or not, there will be no solution in the Middle East without American backing. Which is why the US was instrumental in bring the Palestinians and Israeli together between 1993 and 2000. Without the US, that never would have been possible.

The US brokered a peace treaty (that even Alex admits) was largely brought about by Carter and his administration.

The Europeans, the Russians and the Saudis are really a side show. Peace and reforming the Middle East is still a process that only the US can successfully contibute to.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II yesterday told a delegation of Knesset members that “we are in the same boat, we have the same problem.

If only Jordan has some sort of influence.

Maybe one day. Be well dear King.

April 21st, 2007, 10:45 pm

 

DeekelJin said:

regardless of them not having any practical agenda, I oppose trying to bring down the Syrian regime-mafia from the top and handling the results. We should work our way from the bottom to the top by pushing for education, human rights, women and children’s rights, secularism, environmental awareness, etc etc… after we have accomplished social reform, we can then ask for democracy. you can’t have a wagon functioning without the donkey.. democracy is the wagon but social reform and secularism are the donkey!!

April 21st, 2007, 10:51 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Bilal,
I was in Syria in the late seventies when the MB was on a killing rampage until they were neutralized. No good will ever come from any organization that advocates religious supremacy – they are in the same league as Al Qaeda, Kadima, and similar mass murders.

As for Khaddam, no need for an investigative committee. Just the fact that he served in the Ba’ath Party for 30 years is an enough indictment.

April 22nd, 2007, 12:05 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Deekeljin,
Excellent thought. Thanks!

April 22nd, 2007, 12:06 am

 

ugarit said:

العمّال السوريّون في لبنان: مشاكل وآلام

http://www.al-akhbar.com/ar/node/29912

April 22nd, 2007, 1:57 am

 

ugarit said:

K said: “I support any Syrian opposition movement”

Regardless of their philosophy? Merely being an opposition group is insufficient.

April 22nd, 2007, 2:01 am

 

trustquest said:

On my side I do not think change in the near horizon for the Syrians; I think the struggle is just started for the change. The vehicle for the change is the continuous pressure from inside and outside against the regime. Bush’s administration wants regime change behavior, opposition want regime change direction.
The regime in Syria has made its moves last month to reach for the American by attacking the American administration and played on American internal policies; this is too hot water for a small country like Syria to middle in.
Question:
Can someone think of other scenarios for change?
I believe the NSF has only one strategy, to rely on high ranking officer to execute a coup in the country. This scenario is unlikely without bloodshed and there is no stomach for this since Syria with all its coups history still most coups were bloodless not to mention the expected defense from the regime.
But I still feel optimistic in general, the regime never experience a pressure like this and I hope they will get the message and start change from within.

April 22nd, 2007, 2:20 am

 

Zenobia said:

Deekeljin,

I second Ford Prefect’s praise.
I could not agree more with your sentiment.
Bottom to the top is how anything real and lasting changes, not the reverse. Otherwise we will find the empty wagon will be going at the same speed in the same direction with nothing substantively new.

April 22nd, 2007, 3:24 am

 

Bakri said:

Syrian Islamists will join the post Baath Syrian governments and i dont fear them because most of Syrian islamists are moderates as it’s for the Turkish AKP.
It will not be the first time, in the 50’s and 60’s they participated as ministers in the syrian governments and respected syrian politicians as the former president Dr Nazem Qudsi and former prime minister Dr Maaruf Dawalibi were close to them.
Anyway ,Syria belong to its people and it’s the right of the syrian people to choose what they see is the best choice.

April 22nd, 2007, 4:38 am

 

why-discuss said:

Khaddam risks to be indicted by the International Tribunal in Lebanon.. By allying himself with the US, he is trying to cover his ass..

April 22nd, 2007, 7:04 am

 

ugarit said:

Bakri said: “Syrian Islamists will join the post Baath Syrian governments and i dont fear them because most of Syrian islamists are moderates as it’s for the Turkish AKP.”

I’m afraid that their “moderation” will be further destroyed by petro-dollars from the Gulf. I recommend that everyone read http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2007/02/case-of-tariq-ramadan.html to see how “moderate” the Muslim Brotherhood’s philosophy is.

April 22nd, 2007, 1:43 pm

 

bilal said:

TO Ford Perfect & Akbar Palace :

Do you know why the MB were so bloody in the late seventies? Maybe the regime was even bloodier then. I am not defending the MB’s but here you have to see who started it. They were both extremely bloody and deserve to be prosecuted but we cannot stop there.
Today we clearly see the MB as moderate and we have to seize the moment. They are a major part of the Syrian society and we have to accept them whether we like them or not.

April 22nd, 2007, 2:05 pm

 

ugarit said:

The MB’s philosophy is NOT moderate. Read http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2007/02/case-of-tariq-ramadan.html Only their current behavior is moderate and that can change rapidly once the anti-intellectual Gulf petro-dollars pour in.

April 22nd, 2007, 2:26 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

bilal said:

Today we clearly see the MB as moderate and we have to seize the moment. They are a major part of the Syrian society and we have to accept them whether we like them or not.

Really?

As much as I despise the terrorist enabler governments of the Middle East including Syria and Iran, and the terrible record they have against the Moslem Brotherhood, I can’t say I agree with you.

Frankly, the Middle East is completely devoid of moderates. The Moslem Brotherhood is not a moderate organization and they have supported terrorism from Day 1. They may not actually get involved in the killings a murders (like the Saudis), but I’m they have always supported terrorism financially and in spirit.

Which brings us back to: where exactly are the “Moderates”?

Who is speaking out against Islamic terrorism? What groups are demonstrating against violence? Who is speaking out against this?

You can rail against Bush and Zionism all you want, but the Middle East people have to start taking responsibility for their own fate at some point. Right Professor Josh?

http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP65504

April 22nd, 2007, 2:36 pm

 

trustquest said:

The coverage of the Syrian Parliamentary election has proved the mishaps of the regime for the past 44 years of this comic practice. People are getting information in bulk about other nation from their brothers in the Diaspora. People start realizing that those independent individual hungry candidates who do not represent parties are bad tool for the country and pubic realizing how the regime organized the election to serve them not the public all these years. They realized that 60% of the ballot is forced on them through the national progressive front. I hope we will hear calls for real election soon support from the public. I hope from the brothers on this SC form to admit at least with the mistakes of the regime and take the just side when it is obvious. Pressure on the regime is for the good of the people.

April 22nd, 2007, 2:45 pm

 

bilal said:

To get info about the Syrian elections go to:

http://www.tharwacommunity.org/syrian_elector /

April 22nd, 2007, 3:03 pm

 

bilal said:

to Uagrit

I read your proposed article. Do not read what Al-Banna wrote 50 years ago. Read what the MBs of Syria are writing now. They are against AlQaeda and against all what they stand for. They have criticized all terrorism conducted under the name of Islam. Today the Syrian MBs are different than the Egyptians and Jordanian MBs. They do not mind that the next president of Syria to be Christian as long as he is good and loyal to Syria & only Syria.

April 22nd, 2007, 3:22 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

BILAL,

Will the MB be willing to make this public and official? Have they announced that they are committing to changing the constitution or is it your conjecture?

April 22nd, 2007, 3:51 pm

 

Innocent_Criminal said:

Bilal,

Though some of your points might be valid, in general you are totally delusional. MB (or any other political party in syria) will more than likely “fight” to gain more influence instead of relinquishing it. it has nothing to do with the flaws within political islam or the MB in particular. It’s a simple more primal trend to pursue more power when you finally attain it. Especially when parties like these are lobbying to become the “salivation”. they will never be interested in real multi-party rule.

April 22nd, 2007, 4:00 pm

 

Alex said:

Bilal,

You know how “moderate” the Muslim brotherhood is? more or less as moderate as Samir Geagea … both today want us to believe they are really capable of representing all the people despite their religion, and both want us to not worry about their random violence in the past which led nowhere but to pure destruction and murder of civilians.

Both of them changed supposedly. Maybe there is some finite change, but most of the “changes” are in their carefully fine-tuned public messages.

And no, we can not compare them to Turkey’s case. In Turkey there is a strong secular army that sets the rules and makes sure everyone respects them. You know what happened in 1997, one year after the previously elected religious party (Rafah party, prime minister Erbakan) took power… the Turkish army forced them out of power and their party was banned from politics.

And even today’s very successful Turkish government led by MR. Erdogan, they tried to pass some laws which alienated secular turks .. for example they tried to make it a crime to have sex outside marriage (adultery).

Syria, which does not have decades of democratic experience (like Turkey today) and will not have a secular army and president to protect the secular nature of the state in case the MB took over, will not be ready yet for such a challenge.

April 22nd, 2007, 4:15 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit,Asaad AbuKhalil,i respect him but he has an extremist leftist secular opinion.

I think the better way to avoid radicalization of the muslim society and to eradicate terrorism is to allow these parties to be part of the political life.All the other policies look more like social time bombs and are not solutions.
And i ask for all ,these islamists are they coming from the mosques or from the universities and institutions dominated by the secular totalitarian regimes ?
Whereas the educational system of the Islamic ottoman state had produced great liberal minds.

April 22nd, 2007, 4:33 pm

 

Bakri said:

Again Alex,silly attempt,It’s the brotherhood Who came from the Mountains and from the Badya to Aleppo,Lattakia,Damascus,Hama ,Homs,Raqqa to kill ,rape(children included) ,steal,to destroy and to loot the historical heritage of the syrian people ?
I’m sure that u know that 99 % of the civilians killed during these events were from the hand of the regime militias.
So plz if you really love Syria and its people stop this show because it’s disgusting.
Brotherhood are close to the syrian people identity and i’m sorry for you but your friends have few things in common with us,they are thieves,killers,rapists,drunkards and treacherous ,ready to sell what belong to us in exchange of the seat …such people have no future in Syria.(it must be understood this is not an attack against the alawite community ,the regime is mostly alawite but this is not the fault of a whole community)

April 22nd, 2007, 5:23 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri said: “Ugarit,Asaad AbuKhalil,i respect him but he has an extremist leftist secular opinion.”

Asaad AbuKalil and I would be declared zanadIq and kufar if the Islamicist take over Syria. What would happen to non-believers in that kind of Syria? Tell us please. There would be little to protect us.

You call AbuKhalil extremist while the MB moderates? That’s absurd.

April 22nd, 2007, 5:51 pm

 

Alex said:

Bakri,

“it must be understood this is not an attack against the alawite community ,the regime is mostly alawite but this is not the fault of a whole community”

This is exactly what I was talking about. These statements do not help erase what you wrote above it. Your REAL opinions and motivations are obvious, just like the MB’s. (and like Geagea and his foolish supporters, in case you would like to think I am thinking like a Christian)

The regime is very corrupt. THAT we need to do something about. And Syria has a challenge of finding a way to allow people to participate in a genuine way, not through the circus elections we are having this week.

But thank you for the drama and for the black and white way of seeing yourself and those you do not like … This is exactly what Syria does NOT need.

April 22nd, 2007, 6:11 pm

 

Bakri said:

Yes Ugarit,there is extremist wings in all parties ,he is from the extremist left as there is the other side the extremist right and also the extremist religious trend…those are not able to bear eachothers…
And For your knowledge the brotherhood are also called kafir by many extremist salafi cheikhs.Unlike the other neighbor brotherhoods most of syrian brotherhood belong to the sufi trend of islam.

April 22nd, 2007, 6:15 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Bakri,
Just like Alex pointed out, MB is trying to get to the seat of power under any vail. They have tried every trick in the book – it is not working and it will never work. Why? Because Syria cannot and will never be an Islamic state. There is a single way out of this dilemma for the MB: be secular and renounce advocating an Islamic society (a change in name would be nice too). Syria is NOT Turkey. Syria is the cradle of all major faiths. Let’s keep Syria free and secular as it has always been.

April 22nd, 2007, 6:23 pm

 

Bakri said:

be honest Alex ,if someone call him mister x came to your house and killed your son,father or mother …i will not add more drama ,what will be your logic reaction ? and yes this is what happened in Syria.
So plz ,avoid us such insults as “this killer mister x was a great leader”…..Alex still 18000 syrians are still missing,their fate must be known ,so their relative will sleep more easy and then i hope they will forgive …is that not more respectable than to look for a deal with the foreigner powers to remain more years on the neck of the syrian people ?

April 22nd, 2007, 6:25 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ford Perfect, the syrian society is among the most religious in the region more than Turkey,Iraq,Egypt and Maghreb ,in the syrian cities more than of 80 % of women are veiled, you are secular and i respect you but i’m against a imported secularism,in my eyes we were more civilized during the late ottoman era than we are today look at the architecture of that time,to the dynamism of our past society,to intellectual,religious and political elite(christian or muslim) of the 1900’s and compare it with today….and i’m too against an Islamic state in Syria ,most of the syrian people share the same beliefs with the brotherhood but it doesnt mean that it will be translated into the political ground,syrians have a merchant culture they will vote for those who bring them wealth…so the nature of the state is not important ,the most important are our values ,our history,our culture ,this our identity ,the west has great values and an effective society but copying it in a blind way will lead to more problems(and paradoxically al qaida like groups are a result of this policy) we have to creat our modernity which must be rooted in our culture which is not only Islamic.

April 22nd, 2007, 6:47 pm

 

bilal said:

From where do you get your info that the MB will turn Syria into an Islamic State? Read the statements of the NSF where the MB is a major part. They clearly say that Syria will be a civil country where everything will be decided by transparent real democratic elections. If we keep treating them as they are fanatics and exclude them from participation and dialogue maybe they will become fanatic then and it will be our fault. It is no sense to compare them to Samir Geagea. Why?
We cannot judge people and issue our sentence against them just for unconfirmed and unrealistic perception we may have. THIS IS WRONG AND WE SHOULD BECOME MORE OPEN MINDED AND ACCEPT ALL SYRIANS WHETHER WE LIKE THEM OR NOT & CREATE A NATIONAL DIALOGUE FOR THE SAKE OF SYRIA. We owe it to Free Syria..

April 22nd, 2007, 7:09 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri said: “Yes Ugarit,there is extremist wings in all parties ,he is from the extremist left as there is the other side the extremist right and also the extremist religious trend…those are not able to bear eachothers…
And For your knowledge the brotherhood are also called kafir by many extremist salafi cheikhs.Unlike the other neighbor brotherhoods most of syrian brotherhood belong to the sufi trend of islam.”

Please tell me what makes Asaad AbuKhalil’s views extremist? What makes the MB moderate? What would happen to non-believers in that kind of Syria? Tell us please.

Let’s assume that you are correct that the “syrian brotherhood belong to the sufi trend of Islam”, how long do you think that trend would last once they are in power and then the Salafi’s with their petro-dollars go after them?

Stop avoiding the issues.

April 22nd, 2007, 7:28 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Bakri, well said and I admire your thoughts. But allow me to further elaborate. Being secular does not mean anti-religious. Yes, Syrians are amongst most religious (I know as I am one of them who practices religion daily), but they are also the most secular. People from all faiths in Syria are by and large religious but above all, secular as well.

I am totally in agreement with you that no imported democracy, secularism, socialism, or capitalism will work in Syria. I believe in bottom-up maturing towards an indigenous equilibrium of liberty, freedom, religion and democracy.

Where I beg to differ with you is regarding the MB and their political Islam. That version is unsafe for Syria as it is unsafe for anywhere else in the Muslim or the Arab World. While they now advocate tolerance and secularism as you mentioned, it is clear that these two premises are incompatible with their Islamic political belief. The MB cannot come back now through the back door being allied with a certified Ba’athist (of the Ali Baba and 40 Thieves, he is Ali Baba). I am sorry but Khaddam has already undermined whatever credibility the MB has left with the Syrian people. And it is very obvious they are playing the sectarian card with him.

April 22nd, 2007, 7:37 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit,
This classification of far left,centrist ,far right are used as political designations…so what’s the problem if i say he is far left ?am i wrong ?is he for example far right or centrist ?

April 22nd, 2007, 7:44 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri claims: “we were more civilized during the late ottoman era than we are today look at the architecture of that time,to the dynamism of our past society,to intellectual,religious and political elite(christian or muslim) of the 1900’s”

Please look at the vital statistics of the life of Syrians a hundred years ago and you’ll realize that your claim is unfounded. The last thing we need are “elites” running the country. I have to admit that there were many positive things, however.

April 22nd, 2007, 7:47 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ford Pefect ,the world of politic is not a dream world such alliance are a political necessity …in my opinion we should avoid to focus on khaddam past ….and if an another baathi has decided to join the opposition we should welcome him.

April 22nd, 2007, 7:50 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri asked “This classification of far left,centrist ,far right are used as political designations…so what’s the problem if i say he is far left ?am i wrong ?is he for example far right or centrist ?”

I asked no such thing. I asked you the following:

Please tell me what makes Asaad AbuKhalil’s views extremist? What makes the MB moderate? What would happen to non-believers in that kind of Syria? Tell us please.

Let’s assume that you are correct that the “syrian brotherhood belong to the sufi trend of Islam”, how long do you think that trend would last once they are in power and then the Salafi’s with their petro-dollars go after them?

I asked you why you had called him an extremist and not why you called him a leftist. Again you are not answering my questions. Why?

April 22nd, 2007, 7:53 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit ,in political language ,marxism,communism….are also designated far left or extreme left ….dont see it as pejorative word.

April 22nd, 2007, 8:00 pm

 

bilal said:

I agree with Bakri answering Ford Perfect we should avoid looking at Khaddam past. But in case we will then at least we have to base our judgment only on proven facts. All what Ford Perfect is saying are baseless accusations that do not have any merit or credibility. They are just accusations by the present regime the day Khaddam attacked it and mentioned its corruption and various mistakes. Even the regime was not able to answer Khaddam challenges to present any fact. Ford Perfect is just repeating the regime slogans and I believe if he wants to make smart judgment he should at least present FACTS. Accusations are cheap.
But like Bakri has said, Khaddam past is not the issue. Please Ford Perfect & Akbar Palace let’s stick to the issue.
As I said we have to judge the MBs on what they really are and not on what we expect they are. Maybe due to the fact that they have been in exile for such a long time in Europe they became more democratic & open minded than most other Syrians.

April 22nd, 2007, 8:10 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri: thank you for your answer; however, how about the other ones?

To all:
Why are some against the importation of ideas when Islam itself is an imported idea? Are we not humans like the rest of humanity? Are we not living on the same planet?

What would happen to a person like Abu al-Ala’ al-Maari in Islamicist controlled syria?

As an example if one were to say what al-Ma’ari had said about a thousand years ago:

The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.
(Abu’l-Ala-Al-Ma’arri, 973-1057)

April 22nd, 2007, 8:14 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bilal:

Does that mean that the past is of no consequence even for the Assad’s or the Baath or is that only permitted for ones who ally themselves with the MB?

April 22nd, 2007, 8:33 pm

 

Bakri said:

yes Ugarit ,since the begining the syrian opposition said they are ready to forgive the past and to open a new page.And among those who were the most inclined to such option were Michel Kilo ,Anwar Bunni,Aref Dalila……
But what was the answer ?

April 22nd, 2007, 8:34 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri said: “,since the begining the syrian opposition said that they are ready to forgive the past and to open a new page.And among those who were the more inclined to such option were Michel Kilo ,Anwar Bunni,Aref Dalila……

Thank you Bakri. That’s very promising. Would secular parties be allowed to run for elections?

April 22nd, 2007, 8:41 pm

 

Alex said:

Bilal siad “Maybe due to the fact that they have been in exile for such a long time in Europe they became more democratic & open minded than most other Syrians.”

And I say: Bring them back to Syria today and give them power then watch that acquired open mindedness evaporate as soon as someone challenges them.

Tell me something Bilal and Bakir: What happens when there is a conflict between a group of ministers who will try for example to ban the consumption of alcohol, or who want to pass a law requiring the respect of decent dress codes for Universities … how can the secular Syrians who strongly disagree resist such a move? … what happens when those ministers remind them that God himself wants it this way? .. can anyone dare oppose God’s will?

If in Turkey there was no strong secular army, what would have happened to the country when Ergogan’s party tried to make “adultery” a crime? … half the Turks put in jail? … or huge demonstrations in the Streets by the secular half of Turkey? .. reminds you of Lebanon where the country is split in many ways, one of them is those who are looking for the West for inspiration (including many Christians and Muslims) and those looking to protect and enforce their own religious values and beliefs.

Imagine if Geagea was the strong Christian president … or imagine of Hizbollah led the country with absolute unopposed Iranian backing …or if the Fundamentalists Sunnis …

I know you hate the Syrian regime, and I know you would love for your favorite replacements to take power, but Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq for now have to be handled with extreme care, especially with the madness to our East, and the boiling situation to our West.

I’ll remind you (like I already did many times here last year) that when things go out of control, it becomes contagious sometimes.

The current system we now have is good enough, but not optimal … we need to be open to all suggestions if we want to improve it or change it to the better. The problem is that when I hear “those rapists of children” in describing the current regime, and “the MB are moderate” .. then I don’t see where we can move from here.

April 22nd, 2007, 8:59 pm

 

bilal said:

To Ugarit,

Not at all. What I am saying that when we want to judge any person we should base our judgment on facts and not on accusations. Personally I would favor judging the Regime past & present every one included but we have to reach our judgment based on proven facts. Ford Perfect is doing exactly what the regime is doing.
It is extremely easy but totally unprofessional to just spread accusations. We should be smart enough not do such a stupid mistake. Each should be entitled to defend himself. Don’t you agree?
Here you can ask me how I accuse the present regime of corruption. That is extremely easy. Just look at: Syriatel, Free Shop, etc…

April 22nd, 2007, 9:06 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit ,of course they will and likely the liberal trend will be the majority in parliement …and why you are asking this question to me ,i’m a normal syrian with no political activities.

April 22nd, 2007, 9:15 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bilal said: “Not at all”

Not at all to what?

“Each should be entitled to defend himself. Don’t you agree?”

Absolutely. However, MB’s goals are very clear and in my opinion they are regressive and oppressive.

Do you really think that corruption is going to end when this regime is gone? That’s a bit naive don’t you think?

April 22nd, 2007, 9:17 pm

 

bilal said:

Alex:

I cannot believe you are saying this. I know you as much open minded person than this. You remind me of the person who wanted to use his neighbor iron machine for 2 hours. On his way to his neighbor door he started questioning what if his neighbor does not want to lend him his Iron machine. He started saying to himself that now his neighbor will try to find all kind of excuses like his wife is using it or that it is not working or that…So when his neighbor answered the door the guy immediately told him dam you & your iron machine.
You are just imagining scenarios that most probably will not happen to judge the MBs. Common be realistic and stop this nonsense and judge people on what they really are and not on what you think they are because what you think is WRONG.
I have big hopes for you so don’t let me lose it please.

April 22nd, 2007, 9:18 pm

 

Bakri said:

Alex this is your idea and as you are pseudo baathi who like to see the syrian people worshipping statues,no one will prevent you to expose your political views to the syrian people…the regime of statues is a shame for Syria…you speak about the syrian people as it’s a depraved people and in the same time the killers who ruined syria physically and materially ,are called by you great leaders…

April 22nd, 2007, 9:23 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bilal said: “You are just imagining scenarios that most probably will not happen to judge the MBs. Common be realistic and stop this nonsense and judge people on what they really are and not on what you think they are because what you think is WRONG.”

Please please please tell us what does the MB believe about the following:

Which version of Islam are they propagating
Non-muslims holding high government office, such as the presidency
Will they leave office if they are voted out
Unveiled women attending classes with men
Unveiled women walking in the streets
A person who renounces their Muslim religion
A muslim who converts to another religion
An atheist
An anti-religious person

April 22nd, 2007, 9:25 pm

 

bilal said:

To Ugarit:

Not at all to your question: “Does that mean that the past is of no consequence even for the Assad’s or the Baath or is that only permitted for ones who ally themselves with the MB?” What I am saying that when we want to judge any person we should base our judgment on facts and not on accusations. Personally I would favor judging the Regime past & present every one included but we have to reach our judgment based on proven facts.

In the future the people will have the right to judge any politician or minister on his behavior. I do not expect that corruption would stop as it is all over the world but it will be much less. Now the whole Syrian population sees the corruption in front of them but they cannot do anything about it. Simply speaking, in a Free Syria they can.

April 22nd, 2007, 9:26 pm

 

ugarit said:

To all:

Why are some against the importation of ideas when Islam itself is an imported idea? Are we not humans like the rest of humanity? Are we not living on the same planet? We import most things already and somehow we must stop when it comes to politics?

What would happen to a person like Abu al-Ala’ al-Maari in an Islamicist controlled syria?

As an example if one were to say what al-Ma’ari had said about a thousand years ago:

The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.
(Abu’l-Ala-Al-Ma’arri, 973-1057)

April 22nd, 2007, 9:29 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit during the pre baath democratic era,alliances between brotherhood and christians and even with communists existed.

April 22nd, 2007, 9:32 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bilal:

I look forward to the day when Syrians can openly attempt the end of corruption in Syria.

Remember my other questions?

Please please please tell us what does the MB believe about the following:

Which version of Islam are they propagating
Non-muslims holding high government office, such as the presidency
Will they leave office if they are voted out
Unveiled women attending classes with men
Unveiled women walking in the streets
A person who renounces their Muslim religion
A muslim who converts to another religion
An atheist
An anti-religious person

April 22nd, 2007, 9:33 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri said: “Ugarit during the pre baath democratic era,alliances between brotherhood and christians and even with communists existed.”

Those were the days when Salafi petro-dollars were virtually non-existent. Now, the the Salafi’s are very powerful and will infiltrate Islamicst parties.

April 22nd, 2007, 9:36 pm

 

bilal said:

Trust me I am not MB but I know a great deal about them but obviously I do not agree more than 60 % with their ideas. Anyway to answer your questions:
Non-muslims holding high government office, such as the presidency
They have already accepted this in the NSF declaration that is fully accepted by the MB.
Will they leave office if they are voted out
Definitely they will like every one else.
Unveiled women attending classes with men
Unveiled women walking in the streets
They do not call for such a thing.
A person who renounces their Muslim religion
A muslim who converts to another religion
An atheist
An anti-religious person
Here I do not know maybe we should ask them but regardless of their answer what difference does it make? They will be part of Syria but will never own Syria. No one should own Syria from now on. No more Syria Alassad or any other Syia Al… Just Syria

April 22nd, 2007, 9:36 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit thanks for quoting Abu Alaa al Maari.
And btw,despite his philosophical pessimism elaborated in Luzumiyat and his Risala ,Abu Alaa al Maari was a devoted Muslim.

April 22nd, 2007, 9:37 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit ,what is your obsession with petro dollars ?
These petro dollars are more seen in Rotana and Arabic MTVs..than somewhere else.
Is it Abukhalil effect ?

April 22nd, 2007, 9:43 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri asked: “Ugarit ,what is your obsession with petro dollars ?

It’s not my obsession but a statement of reality. If you’re unable to see the correlation between the effective spread of extremist Islamic views and the rise of petro-dollars then you need to look again. There is a very strong correlation.

April 22nd, 2007, 9:49 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri said: “Ugarit thanks for quoting Abu Alaa al Maari.
And btw,despite his philosophical pessimism elaborated in Luzumiyat and his Risala ,Abu Alaa al Maari was a devoted Muslim.”

You’re welcome.

al-Maari’s supposed devotion to Islam is highly questionable. He’s much closer to being an atheist. Remember that he wrote a parody of the Quran in order to compete with its supposed miraculous nature.

April 22nd, 2007, 9:52 pm

 

Alex said:

Bilal,

There are things one should be optimistic about (borrowing the Iron from the neighbor), and there are things one should be careful: The future of a country.

Please tell me if you find me too picky and too pessimistic: how can I do my homework about the MB or any religious party or leader taking power in Lebanon, Syria or Iraq? … can I look for similar examples from Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon? can I trust my conclusions about how humans behave in general when they are given actual power to add to their absolute moral backing (God’s will)?

I had endless discussions with one of the smartest Ikhwan (or ex-ikhwan) thinkers. At the beginning I was very impressed. He knows the Bible by heart, he read all European and Asian philosophers … he told me all the right things. But when we got into the details and “what if” … it was the same problem … he needed to have revenge from the “mountain people” and his ultimate reference is the Quran… and he had mostly wonderful things to say about Saudi Arabia … no problem their with the corruption, or lack of democracy or political prisoners or torture or lack of women’s rights or religious rights …

Interesting, but not for leading Syria.

April 22nd, 2007, 10:09 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit what i really see is the secular liberal trend is dominant among the owners of the petro dollars.

April 22nd, 2007, 10:11 pm

 

Alex said:

Bakri,

The owners of the Petro Dollar are two types, both troublesome … those who want to go out of their way in pretending they are totally liberal and Americanized, and those who are religious fundamentalists who were generous to any fanatic movement they could find.

April 22nd, 2007, 10:37 pm

 

Bakri said:

Alex,Syria is not Iraq nor Lebanon , the culture of revenge is not ours…and the struggle is for justice …when these killers will die we will forget the past,this is a national duty ,their relatives and sons are not concerned nothing will happen to them.
And this is not new,When Syria became independant after the french mandate nothing happened against the former syrian collaborators and remained in their jobs.
Many alawites are in the opposition but as we know ,alawites are severely punished if they dare to proclaim their loyalty to Syria.And this is the worse sectarian policy that have known Syria and we should always insist that the alawite community is innocent from asad familly sectarian policy.

April 22nd, 2007, 10:39 pm

 

ugarit said:

Bakri said: “Ugarit what i really see is the secular liberal trend is dominant among the owners of the petro dollars.”

That means you don’t know the meaning of secular nor liberal.

April 22nd, 2007, 10:40 pm

 

Bakri said:

Ugarit ,ok this is your opinion ,but the saudi society is changing quickly and is no more the former beduin society that you have in your mind.

April 22nd, 2007, 10:42 pm

 

bilal said:

To Alex:
Please read the various statements of the NSF past & present. It will calm most of your fear positively as it had addressed most of these issues in a way that will be acceptable to your concerns. No they do not seek revenge against the “mountain people”. In a matter of fact Bayanouni personally said last year in London that he these people are being discriminated against by this regime as any one else if not more. They should not worry as they already got the assurances they are looking for. Here Khaddam plays a major role as he knows most of them personally and they trust him. Also they do not see the Shria as the base of the new constitution.

April 22nd, 2007, 10:44 pm

 

Alex said:

Bilal,

The NSF’s statements and Bayanouni’s statemetns both sound good. Ammar helped them a lot with what they should or should not say.

But the problem is:

1) I believe more what I read on the MB’s website 2 years ago before all the Americans, Lebanese, and Saudis coached them on their new image..

2) Opposition parties always say the most wonderful things, and when they get to power almost all the time perform more or less similarly to the ones in power before them… in Syria’s case, the System needs years (or decades) to mature into a democracy … Khaddam and the MB are proposing too much change in too little time… and most probably they will deliver another corrupt administration, minus the stability… why? because that’s life. You can’t change a System in that dramatic way without major bloodshed.

April 22nd, 2007, 11:14 pm

 

DeekelJin said:

Guys.. guys..

excuse me for butting in into your discussions.. but I think you are all shifting away from what Syria really needs right now.

Don’t get caught up with political figures.. trying to analyze what the MB says or what the MB might do.. who gives a nickel right now? they are politicians.. they can change overnight and you can’t blame them.. that’s how politics work

What we should be doing over here as free Syrians who can think critically.. is how to exactly carrying on change in our society. The change that is supposed to target the basics of our society.. how can we NOW start educating Syrians either by starting new live forums (not like that of Al-attasi that got too political quickly).. or open non-for-profit organizations that can give social support for women or children.. how can we rally to stop violence against women.. how can we rally RIGHT NOW to change some laws that make Christians and Muslims unequal..

u know.. just straight practical stuff. of course they will be hard to accomplish.. but these are things that we can pursue and that will not face grave opposition from our regime. but if we keep talking about Khaddam or Ghadri or whoever.. what benefit does it give to us?
If these people are going to rule Syria (via US power).. then they will do and we will not really have any say about it!! so it really doesn’t matter at all right now what the MB REALLY think in their deep hearts.. seriously people.. who cares? why does it matter at this stage?

let’s try to squeeze our minds and see how can we do some real social change.. right now.

I wish you all all the best

April 22nd, 2007, 11:21 pm

 

Alex said:

Deekeljin,

I totally agree … my problem with “opposition” is that they keep avoiding the simple fact that there are three options

1) oppose the regime by force (1970’s MB style, or Jumblatt style)

2) oppose the regime through opening an office int eh US and appearing on Hariri owned newspapers … which goes nowhere and delays actual progress because it makes th regime more stubborn and more cautious and more opposed to change.

3) Be a strong critic of everything except asking for regime change. Let the change process take its natural time, as long as the regime does not feel threatened that if they opened up a little bit, the opposition will ask for a regime change again.

I wish they all put their energy in option 3 .. instead of the time wasting of option2, or the madness of option 1

And I am doing something about it, unlike all those who are only interested in changing the regime tomorrow.. they are only creating noises that led to nothing useful so far, and will lead to nothing useful.

April 22nd, 2007, 11:34 pm

 

Bakri said:

Alex,those who opted for number 3 option are now in Jail.
You know better than me that the minority familly regime can not bear any of these options.They only believe in the death or alive or coup d’etat logic,they did a putsch so they think that they are the lawful owners of Syria and to hell the syrian people ….this is a tragedy

April 23rd, 2007, 12:23 am

 

DeekelJin said:

I couldn’t agree more Alex. Option 3 is the way to go.

and great job on creativesyria.com by the way. you deserve to be recognized for this outstanding work.

April 23rd, 2007, 12:25 am

 

Alex said:

Thank you Deekeljin!

Bakri, I know Kilo was one of those who followed option 3 and was put in jail and that’s why i got very upset when they jailed him.

But there it was a time when they were very nervous about the increasing challenge from the March14th group in Lebanon and Michel, who spent the two years before practicing option 3 perfectly well, eventually he escalated a bit and that was not the right time for it.

It is better if we have a 1000 regime mild critics outside jail than a 1000 opposition leaders who want to do a coup d’etat against the regime, in jail or outside Syria.

Look at Rime Allaf and Murhaf Jouejati .. they are always criticizing everything in Syria, no one will put them in jail. Why? because they are not taking any steps to escalate the criticism and they are not seeking a coup d’etat .. and they do not have personal roles for themselves to play in the future.

In the mean time, they are wonderful representatives for Syria (regardless of who is the regime today) and they do not waste their time attacking the regime and doing nothing but attack the regime and dreaming about how they will personally lead Syria.

Michel Kilo a year ago was perfect…. we need a 1000 others like him, and change will take place, slowly, but at least it will.

April 23rd, 2007, 3:48 am

 

bilal said:

To Alex:

Please rename option 3 to option Syria AlAssad because this is what it is. First we have to agree what is the cause of the Syrian problems. Can’t you see that the inexperience, adventurous, corrupt, and spontaneous… Bashar Alassad is the main cause of our problems. Every one in Syria, in the Arab World, and the international community see this very clearly. I am surprised you don’t. I wonder why?
Anyway why keep him where he is the source of our miseries. Syria is not his farm and he does not own it so we can ask for his departure.
I am sorry but you being upset about the jailing of Kilo are not freeing him. Why were you upset? If you are willing to surrender Syria to the corrupt family of AlAssad the great majority of Syria will not and would oppose this one way or another. We have seen enough of this corrupt family.
I cannot understand why we should not ask for a regime change? If Rime Allaf and Murhaf Jouejati are not put in jail for the only reason they are not in Syria. Trust me the bloody regime we have does not mind jailing the whole Syrian population if needed for him to survive.
As for March 14 I agree with you that they should not oppose the regime despite the fact that all information’s lead that this regime has assassinated the majority of their leaders and trying to finish the rest. They should sit quit and wait their faith as the regime sees it.
In summary I see you a very peaceful man that accept whatever is imposed on him.

April 23rd, 2007, 12:39 pm

 

Alex said:

Bilal,

First, Rime Allaf was in Syria for many months last year. She wrote some very critical articles and no one came close to arresting her.

Second, true that I am a very peaceful man, but I am not stupid and I am not infinitely passive.

Instead of going back to the personal opinion of “Can’t you see that the inexperience, adventurous, corrupt, and spontaneous… Bashar Alassad is the main cause of our problems.” which almost everyone dropped except neocons and the Syrian opposition, let us please start from logic:

My understanding Bilal, is that most analysts agree that Changing the regime is only possible through a bloody process. Most Syrians do not want that option.

So what are you and the NSF calling for? Either you have secret plans for this forced regime change (which is not what the Syrian people want you to risk), or you are only creating noise and making the regime more stubborn and more cautious and more defensive and more repressive.

The main point I was trying to make with options 1,2, and 3 is the following:

Learn to live with what you can not change This illusion that “we should put strong pressure on the regime from the inside and from the outside” led us to no good. I have seen it from 1978 until today (on and off). Since Syria opposed Camp David, America and its regional Arab friends have been helping “Syrian opposition” put pressure on the regime from outside and from inside.

The same way you are upset with a regime that did not go away for 37 years, I am upset at the counter productive “Strategies” of “Syrian opposition” and their outside backers.

Let us simulate in our minds a “what if” scenario:

What if the MB did not try their violent three year long attempt to fore the regime out?

What if “Syrian opposition” did not become (knowingly or unknowingly) part of the regional politics by accepting the “support” of the Untied States and its Arab allies… like Saddam Hussein at some point, Walid Jumblatt and Saad Hariri at another …

What if (again) they stuck to Rime Allaf and Murhaf Jouejati’s style of constructive criticism?

My “learn to live with what you can not change” does not necessarily mean that the current regime will govern Syria forever. It means that the people of Syria will be the ones who CAN remove the regime when THEY want to. Mr. Khaddam can not, and the MB can not.

The same way Romanians removed their regime when they wanted to. Syrian opposition needs to realize that as long as Syrians did not do a Romania style revision, it means they are not as angry and as opposed to the current regime as you would like to believe.

Let the Syrian people decide, because only them can do it … when they decide they need to.

April 23rd, 2007, 2:32 pm

 

bilal said:

To Alex:

Still you did not reply why we cannot ask for a regime change? Is Alassad above any judgment? If you think that everyone dropped the notion that the inexperience, adventurous, corrupt, and spontaneous… Bashar Alassad is the main cause of our problems. Then you are wrong again. Listen what every one is saying. But at least I felt you agree with me that he is the source of our problems.
Anyway, your note that “Changing the regime is only possible through a bloody process” is exactly what the regime is making us believe. This is wrong. The regime is spreading 2 rumors:
1. The only way to change the regime is thru blood and a little like Iraq.
2. The revolt will be against the allaouitees and they will be massacred.
The regime knows that these will never happen but he is spreading these rumors to justify his existence. It is a cheap move. The NSF has assured all allouies that they are discriminated against by this regime as much as any one else if not more that is why we see some coordination between some of the prominent allouites and the NSF is taking place for the sake of Free Syria.
By no way I suggested that you may be stupid but too accepting of whatever is imposed on you whether you like it or not. You repeated this by saying “Learn to live with what you can not change” If you accept this I and the whole Syrian polpulation does not anymore. They have accepted this way too long and if we do not do anything about it now then who will?
Please answer my MILLION Dollar question: Why we should not ask for the dismissal of the source of our problems: the inexperience, adventurous, corrupt, and spontaneous… Bashar Alassad?
BTW the violence that happened between the MB & the regime, both are to blame for this equally. They were both too criminals & bloody in regard to the Syrians and both should be prosecuted for their crimes.

April 23rd, 2007, 3:01 pm

 

Alex said:

Bilal,

If changing the regime is that easy how come it did not work since they tried to do it in a million ways starting in 1977 … I had enough with wasting energy on the opposition’s (and outsiders using opposition for their own benefit) attempts to remove the Syrian regime. 30 years is enough! … if this is not a failure, than what is?

How many times did Khaddam promise that within the next few months he will succeed? how reliable and how promising! .. The Syrian opposition were talking about “a window of opportunity” in 2005 when the United states, France, Saudi Arabia, Lebanese M14 group, and many in Europe, supported the Syrian opposition to remove the regime … that did not work! … what are you waiting for to happen next? support from GOD?

The fact is: it does not matter what you or I think … it is what the majority of the Syrian people do that counts. They are not doing anything … you seem to want to LEAD THEM out of their passivity. I find that a bit “undemocratic” .. the Syrian people read the news, and they know how to form their own judgments and to rebel against the regime if and when THEY decide to.

Instead of wasting 30 more years trying to unseat and replace the regime, try to do something useful for Syria instead. Can you name one productive thing Khaddam or the MB did for Syria so far in their roles as “Syrian opposition”?

April 23rd, 2007, 3:34 pm

 

bilal said:

To Alex:

Still you did not answer my Million Dollar question.
Do you think under the present regime the Syrians can freely say what they want? Yes, Kilo, Bunni and others thought they can.
BE REALISTIC.

April 23rd, 2007, 4:26 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Bilal,
I was late in contributing to the discussion above, but Alex and Deekeljin spoke my mind already. To answer your last question, no Syrians under the current government (the government that embodies the Ba’ath regime) can freely speak. And that is a CRYING SHAME. But I would like to pint out that Syria today in 2007 is many orders of magnitudes better than Syria in 1997 on many important factors. It seems to me that it is the people that are maturing and progressing towards a balanced equilibrium of liberalism and democracy – not the government. I have full confidence in them. But your thoughts are genuine and I appreciate the value you are adding to this discussion.

April 23rd, 2007, 5:52 pm

 

bilal said:

To Ford Perfect:
Thanks for your kind remarks.
I do not see that today we are better off than 1997. Look how isolated we are. Look how we lost our great position in Lebanon. It was a great card for us. Now it is against us. Look how we were using Iran to our advantage where today we are a card in Iranian hand. Today Saudi Arabia & Iran meet to decide what Syria has to do. We used to impose what we want over both of them.

April 23rd, 2007, 7:44 pm

 

Alex said:

Bilal,

These

1) Today we are a card in Iranian hand.

2) Today Saudi Arabia & Iran meet to decide what Syria has to do. We used to impose what we want over both of them.

Are examples of selective attention, and selective retention of information. If Syrian opposition websites and Neocon and Saudi owned newspapers say it, well it ain’t true. Read the facts elsewhere, from reporters who are not biased like your favorite sources.

The economist (which usually dislikes Bashar) this month:

“But on a range of issues, his patience, stubbornness and absolute intolerance of dissent may be paying off.

He owes his new lease on political life to the incompetence or fatigue of his enemies, to clever diplomatic footwork and to lucky circumstances.”

Besides, FP was talking about internal reforms.

April 23rd, 2007, 8:20 pm

 

bilal said:

To Alex:

I cannot add any new. Just 2 issues I previously has raised. I hope you will be kind enough to let me have in order to have a good night sleep.
1. Be realistic. Would you beleive the Economist if they tell you I am the king of China? This could have more truth than what they claimed.
2. My Million Dollar question. Again it is:Why we should not ask for the dismissal of the source of our problems: the inexperience, adventurous, corrupt, and spontaneous… Bashar Alassad?

Thanks in advance. I may see you in my dreams if you send me a logical and direct reply.

April 23rd, 2007, 9:54 pm

 

Alex said:

: )

Good night Bilal.

April 23rd, 2007, 10:10 pm

 

bilal said:

To Alex:

Then I will not see you in my dreams as you did not answer my 2 issues despite the fact that I asked you 4 times to answer my Million Dollar question (Why we should not ask for the dismissal of the source of our problems: the inexperience, adventurous, corrupt, and spontaneous… Bashar Alassad?)
I was sure you could not answer it as all other Million Dollar questions.
Good night to you as well and sweet dreams. You could see Bashar in your dreams and maybe he can answer it for you.
Until we meet again in a new article.

April 23rd, 2007, 10:16 pm

 

Alex said:

Bilal, I can answer your question but it will take 5 more rounds of discussions.

Today my computer keyboard ran out of fuel : )

If you are still awake, here is something lighter than politics before you go to sleep.

April 23rd, 2007, 10:45 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

I am late in replying again, sorry.

Bilal, indeed, I was referring to Syria internally. While the freedom of speech is still curtailed (shameful), today’s Syria has many more open forums (and speakers) than there were in 1997. In Syria today, one can say things that were illegal to even cross the mind in 1997. Today’s Syria does not have pictures of Hafez, Basel, and Rifaat plastered where people buy their daily bread.

Today there are private banks, hospitals, schools, and colleges. The service sector is booming; employing thousands of Syrians. There is a thriving private industrial sector. Import restrictions have eased. Industrial output is at an all time high.
Today you can deposit dollars and withdrow euros – no question asked. You can transfer money in and out of the coutry with ease. Imagine that in 1997.

Art galleries are bursting with work of local artists. Musicians, composers, singers are producing at record pace. Syrian TV shows are the hottest in the Arab world. And the list goes on and on.

Mosques and churches are full with worshipers. When I was in Damascus last, I couldn’t even set foot at the Rawda Mosque for the Friday prayer. I ended up praying on the sidewalk (almost across the street from teh mosque!) with my shoes by my side. There were many like me bringing traffic on the street to halt. People tell me this happens every Friday at every mosque. My friends in Bab Toma tell me that churches have never seen such a revival either. I am sure this is not a Damscus or Latakia phenomenon, it is everywhere.

Today’s Syria has many more teachers, doctors, engineers, scientists, economists, computer engineers, Web site administrators, and graphic artists than there were during the horror years of the Father, by far.

I remember in the 90’s when Syrians had to get a matching fax machine delivered to the secret service so they can have a fax line. A fax received is a fax monitored.

And Lebanon? I’d say good riddance. We did not belong there in the first place. It is a curse that all Syrians are better without. I am glad we lost it (if lost is the right word). May we never win it again.

Finally, in writing the above I feel pain at the same time. I feel the pain of the genuine Syrians who are in jails for what they believe in. The true Syrians who lost a father, a son, or a brother because they dared to have a mind of their own. And the pain and suffering of the Syrian prisoners from the beloved Golan languishing in Israeli jails for over 20 years now.

I do realize that Syria is far from the ultimate finish line of a liberal democracy, but we are not at the start line either. Many difficulties remain ranging from corruption to unemployment to imprisonment to lost opportunities to pure ignorance.

But hope remains as strong as ever.

The dangerous minds that created today’s chronic problems, the ideologues of the Ba’ath, the MB’s, the Communists, the Syrian Nationalists, the Arab Nationalists, and scores of others cannot be the same minds that will solve the problem.

Give the Syrian people peace, a liberal economy, and a solid and fair judiciary and see how they prosper and excel. Watch them produce a generation of young educated and talented Syrians that evolve toward normalcy and secularism while protecting their values and heritage. Watch form the basis for a strong and stable liberal democracy. A democracy that will be able to defend itself because it is genuine and indigenous. No good will ever come from a Ba’athist/MB cocktail. The Syrian people have had that recipes figured out.

April 23rd, 2007, 11:14 pm

 

nahed Al-husseini said:

Mr. Ladis, thanks, I found the article in the search. Pls answer the questions I already sent you on the Washington office of National Salvation Front. I need your help to build a perception, because I cannot make a story on hearsays. Pls. send me your e-mail on the above mentioned e-mail, becasuse I have a problem with my website. I need to fix it soon.
I will keep in contact with you, and if you have any question, pls do not hestitate to e-mail me or call me.
Best regards,
nahed

May 1st, 2007, 10:05 am

 

بلبل said:

WE DONOT NEED WESTERN ,ESPECIALLY American democracy.we are o.k.and we can manage by ourselves.America,mind your own business,and let people alone.They will be o.k.

May 2nd, 2007, 10:24 pm

 

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