"Ticking Clocks and ‘Accidental’ War," BY Alastair Crooke - Syria Comment

“Ticking Clocks and ‘Accidental’ War,” BY Alastair Crooke

"Policy Brief" by Alistair Crooke, circulated by the U.S./Middle East Project, of which Henry Siegman is the Director

TICKING CLOCKS AND ‘ACCIDENTAL’ WAR
BY ALASTAIR CROOKE *
9 October  2007
Editor: Robert Malley

In an article in Salon.com on 19 September, Steven Clemons describes a debate at a recent Washington dinner party attended by eighteen persons at which “Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft squared off across the table over whether President Bush will bomb Iran.”

Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Carter, Clemons writes, said he believed Bush’s team had laid a track leading to a single course of action: a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Scowcroft, who was national security advisor to President Ford and the first President Bush, held out hope that the current President Bush would hold fire, and not make an already disastrous situation for the U.S. in the Middle East even worse.

The 18 people at the party, including former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, then voted with a show of hands for either Brzezinski’s or Snowcroft’s position. Snowcroft got only two votes, including his own. Everyone else at the table shared Brzezinski’s fear that a U.S. strike against Iran is around the corner.

Clemons, who moderated the debate, argues that the case presented in terms of a ‘binary decision’ – to bomb or not to bomb – is unlikely to lead to the decision to bomb Iran, for various reasons, resting mainly on the U.S. military’s known opposition to conflict with Iran. In his final paragraph, Clemons suggests that “we should also worry about the kind of scenario David Wurmser has floated, meaning an engineered provocation. An ‘accidental war’ would escalate quickly and ‘end run,’ as Wurmser put it, the president’s diplomatic, intelligence and military decision-making apparatus.”
 
The view from those most likely to be affected by an “accidental” war, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, all share the conclusion both that war is imminent and that any one of a number of “ticking clocks” may be “engineered” as a provocation that would by-pass the Pentagon chiefs of staff arguments against expanded conflict and trigger war. All of these actors have been preparing flat-out for the coming conflict.
 
They see the circumstances of the Middle East as one of hair-trigger instability and escalating tensions. Equally significantly, there is a heightened inter-linkage between events that suggests that, as in 1912-14 in Europe, some unexpected and relatively insignificant event – a Sarajevo moment – could ignite currents and dynamics over which major states and movements would have little influence.

Iran (from where I have just returned) as well as leaders such as Hassan Nasrallah and Khaled Mesha’al see the signs of preparations for conflict taking place in Israel. These are the signs they see: Israel conducting low level overflights in Lebanon to create sonic booms; Israel, whose prime minister had been volubly warning of the risks of some misunderstanding leading to war between Israel and Syria, then launching an aerial incursion into Syria. And all of this as the international community remained silent.

The Syrians saw on their radars the four fighters that penetrated into Northern Syria from the Mediterranean; but they also saw the much larger numbers of Israeli aircraft that were flying in a holding position close to Cyprus. The Syrians were not about to disclose their anti-aircraft missile capacities to Israel; and the intruders dropped the munitions and their long-range fuel tanks without pressing any attack, but returned to join the larger group still flying a holding pattern off Cyprus before all returned to Israel as a single formation.

The Israeli objective remains a matter of speculation, but the general conclusion is that Israel was only ready to run such a risk against unknown air defenses either as a proving run or, given the size of the numbers of aircraft off Cyprus, to destroy some target that for whatever reason they were unable to engage. Either way, the mission seems related to future conflict……

This is only one among a series of ticking clocks:
(i) Lebanon: ……

(ii) Syria ….

Comments (183)


norman said:

If logic has a role the US will not attack Iran , I do not think president Bush has common sense. He will attack and think about it later.

October 8th, 2007, 12:59 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

the dangeous period for Bush to attack Iran is after the election, however he could manipulate the election and do something after may 2008.
I suspect Israel would discourage him of attacking Iran,Israel would loose more than one million jew.

Brammertz report is taking too long,waiting for the presidential election however, is wise, to vacate Lahoud ability to pardon some people

October 8th, 2007, 1:47 am

 

why-discuss said:

As for a ‘Sarajevo’ type war trigger, there are two major operators that have interest in creating it: Al Qaeda and Israel.
Both could take the lead in inflicting through their proxies a spectacular blow to the US army in Iraq. With the current accusations that Petraeus and the media are colporting about Iran, that will trigger a international and generalized anti-iranian resentment and would greatly justify an attack on Iran. Let us not forget that Iran is Al Qaeda’s and Israel’s most threatening ennemy. The same strategy has been applied in Lebanon to put the blame on Syria for all the killings and have it ostracized and isolated by the internal community, so as to justify eventual military retaliation on Syria!
Israel and Al Qaeda are so cornered now that they may actually help the US neo cons in achieving the US ‘national interest’ goals at the cost of US and Iranian livess

October 8th, 2007, 2:38 am

 

Enlightened said:

The conjecture: “Ticking Clocks”, during the cold war there was a clock that used to measure MAD (mutual assured destruction), and it always read minutes to midnight.

I would liked to have been a fly on the wall at that dinner party. Scowcroft is a Bush family loyalist, and Brzezinski ( pragmatist ), is merely stating the obvious laying out how all Bush’s actions point to confrontation.

More alarming “In his final paragraph, Clemons suggests that “we should also worry about the kind of scenario David Wurmser has floated, meaning an engineered provocation. An ‘accidental war’ would escalate quickly and ‘end run,’ as Wurmser put it, the president’s diplomatic, intelligence and military decision-making apparatus.”

There is a parallel in History for us to observe here (minus the nuclear scenario of course), and that is the 67 War and the conditions for its outbreak.

Bush and Ahmedinadjad both messianic in their outlook might be the craziest men ever to have control of power over two countries bent on confrontation, yes war engineered or not appears inevitable.

On a side note my brother in laws wife just returned fro lebanon after a six month holiday and reports are everyone is arming themselves!

October 8th, 2007, 2:45 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

One month after operation, Washington Post reports / N. Korean scientists hurt in IAF strike in Syria
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/910273.html

October 8th, 2007, 5:47 am

 

abraham said:

Enlightened,

Ahmedinejad’s power within the constructs of Iranian government does not parallel that of the US Monkey in Chief. His is more of an administrative role. He does not have the power to launch a war.

Another difference is that Ahmedinejad seems rational, whereas Bush seems batshit crazy.

October 8th, 2007, 5:55 am

 

Dr. George W. Oprisko said:

From Russian Sources:

Pantsyr-S1 (also known as Pantsir) is a close-in air defence system designed to defend ground installations against a variety of weapons including both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, ballistic and cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions and unmanned air vehicles. It can also engage light-armoured ground targets.

It was designed by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau of Tula, Russia, and is manufactured by the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant, Ulyanovsk, Russia.

The system is undergoing trials with the Russian Air Force, with first deliveries of production systems due in 2008.

In May 2000, the United Arab Emirates ordered 50 Pantsyr-S1 systems, half to be mounted on tracked GM-352M1E vehicles from Minskiy Traktorniy Zavod of Belarus and half on wheeled chassis.

The first batch of was delivered in November 2004. However a new radar was requested by the UAE and first deliveries of the completed system are planned for 2007. Final deliveries are scheduled for 2009.

It has been reported that Syria has placed an order for 50 Pantsyr-S1 systems with deliveries to begin by the end of 2007. Jordan has also place an order for an undisclosed number of systems.

From the above it appears that DEBKA/File is deliberately trashing an AA system still in development, and which has yet to be deployed.

WHY………..

Possibly multiple reasons……….

To discredit the Pantsyr S-1 system ??? For commercial reasons???

To justify IAF failure????

Regarding the Pantsyr S-1 system…. it is a close in point defense
system with 18 km range and thus can be evaded by exiting the protected zone, quite quickly, by an F-15 on afterburner.

So, such a system could be evaded, but more to the point, only if the attackers withdrew………..

What we are observing now….. is justification for disorderly withdrawl… or cancellation of the mission…..

INDY

October 8th, 2007, 6:39 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Israeliguy Shmuel Rosner is using his imagination very much in his Haaretz article.

What Jim Hoagland actually said in Washington Post:

But highly classified U.S. intelligence reports say that the Israelis destroyed a nuclear-related facility and caused North Korean casualties at the site, which may have been intended to produce plutonium, according to a senior official with access to those reports. The Israelis have provided the United States with photographs, physical material and soil samples from the site — taken both before and after the raid — according to two independent sources.

Rosner says: “Hoagland said the site of the attack was a plutonium enrichment facility for the Syrian nuclear program.”

Actually Hoagland said: “which may have been intended to produce plutonium, according to a senior official with access to those reports.”

The may word is often forgotten to be mentioned in these Israeli rewritings of foreign “stories”. One could also ask Rosner/Hoagan what is the logic in hiding this “secret report”. It would have been a “smoking gun” for the US/Israeli governments and they could do extremely much with it politically. However this event is only commented anonymously by “senior officials” time after time. Doesn’t make any sense at all.

There is also small “problem” for Rosner to explain from where Syria gets to fuel for this “plutonium enrichment facility”. Is the tiny old ship returning to North Korea and now bringing more material to be enriched? Come-on.

Rosner says: “Media reports are providing an increasingly fuller picture of the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the activities undertaken at the site. ”

Repeating the same few rumours by anonymous sources hundred times doesn’t make the picture any fuller nor explaining the activities undertaken on the site. Well from the Iraq war preparation we remember that when the lie is repeated enough often it begins to be the “truth”.

October 8th, 2007, 7:28 am

 

MSK said:

Dear Josh,

I couldn’t find Crooke’s article online anywhere & you’re not providing the full text.

What are his sources for the “Israeli planes that flew into Syria were only part of a larger formation circling off Cyprus” story?

I am very suspicious of it, since that version hasn’t been reported anywhere else, not even the various rumor-mills.

–MSK*

October 8th, 2007, 7:53 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Israeliguy said:

One month after operation, Washington Post reports / N. Korean scientists hurt in IAF strike in Syria

Israeliguy,

Sorry, this couldn’t have happened.

His excellency, Dr. Bashar said the “military related” facility “was empty”.

I hope this clarifies things for you and the rest of the forum.

On another related note, one of the Middle East’s most “charismatic” and respected leaders, Muammar Gaddafi speaks out against democracy:

Democracy treats people like ‘donkeys’ – Gaddafi

Published: 10.08.07, 10:48 / Israel News

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said multiparty democracy is a sham promoted by governments that treat their people “like donkeys” and deny them real power, the official Libyan news agency Jana reported on Monday.

Gaddafi added in a speech last week that his north African country would never abandon its “state of the masses” system of rule by town hall meetings, which he has long predicted will be eventually embraced by governments around the world, Jana said. “They talk about the alternation of power (from one party to another). What does that mean? It means that people are being ridden like donkeys.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3457453,00.html

Yes, Presidents-for-Life sure have a way with words…

October 8th, 2007, 10:46 am

 

t_desco said:

“One report claimed the Syrian plant may have been intended to produce plutonium, but some experts doubt that, saying it would require the presence of a reactor.”
Condoleezza Rice opposed Israel’s attack on Syrian nuclear site
The Sunday Times, October 7, 2007

October 8th, 2007, 11:27 am

 

t_desco said:

Return the Shebaa Farms
We should take advantage of Syria’s agreement to hand over disputed land to UN control
Dror Zeevi

Several days ago, Syria informed Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos that it is willing to hand over the Shebaa Farms to UN control, or in other words, Damascus is willing to recognize the possibility that the area belongs to Lebanon rather than to Syria. Lebanon claims that this territory was always held by Lebanese villagers and this is the official reason presented by Hizbullah to justify the ongoing Lebanese struggle against Israel.

Up until now, Syria’s refusal hindered the possibility of Israel returning the area to Lebanon, thus putting an end to the remnants of the border dispute between the two countries. Syria’s agreement to hand over the Shebaa Farms to UN control enables us to advance on the Lebanese track. …
Ynetnews

October 8th, 2007, 11:56 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Yes, Presidents-for-Life sure have a way with words…

Well Akbar you and the president-for-life have so much in common.

Guess Akbar who Israeli politician is this:


“At 8am we’ll bomb all the commercial centers…at noon we’ll bomb their gas stations…at two we’ll bomb their banks.”

X said the prisoners should be drowned in the Dead Sea and he would provide the buses to take them there.

“They [Israeli Arabs] have no place here. They can pack their bags and go to hell.”

In November 2006, X called for the execution of any Arab Members of Knesset who meet with representatives of the Palestinian government, saying, “World War II ended with the Nurenberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset].
—-

Isn’t he a “lovely man” (hint for you Akbar). Israeli democracy indeed is dangerous when such religious extremists can become ministers and the state prosecution finds X’s anti-Arab remarks kosher (not racist and don’t constitute incitement to violence).

October 8th, 2007, 12:34 pm

 

t_desco said:

Lebanon arrests 30 militants who allegedly plotted to attack Arab, European ambassadors

Authorities have arrested some 30 Islamic militants who allegedly plotted to bomb the main police headquarters in Beirut and attack Arab and European ambassadors in Lebanon, court and security officials said Monday.

The 30 militants were detained nearly two months ago in and around the southern port city of Sidon when the Lebanese army was engaged in fierce fighting with militants of the al-Qaida-inspired Fatah Islam group in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon.

Some of the arrested belong to Fatah Islam and the rest are members of another al-Qaida-inspired group, said the security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Interrogation of the detained militants showed that they planned to blow up the headquarters of the Internal Security Forces with an explosives-laden military vehicle, the officials said.

Police have since tightened security around its headquarters in Beirut. Concrete blocks have been set up around the building and people living in the vicinity have been barred from parking their cars.

Officials said some of the militants were linked to a roadside bomb that struck a U.N. jeep in the village of Qassimiyeh in July near the southern port city of Tyre, causing damage to the vehicle but no casualties.

The group was also planning to help some 200 Fatah Islam members and 50 other al-Qaida-inspired militants escape from the central Roumieh prison east of Beirut, according to officials.

Prison security guards, backed by a group of army commandos, foiled an escape attempt last Thursday when relatives of the prisoners tried to storm the prison, the officials said.

Separately, Lebanese authorities charged 20 suspected militants, 16 Palestinians and four Russians, with terrorism Friday for alleged membership in Fatah Islam.

The Russian nationals were the first non-Arabs charged by authorities with being among the Fatah Islam fighters who the Lebanese army finally crushed on Sept. 2 after a three-month siege that destroyed large parts of the Nahr el-Bared camp near the northern city of Tripoli.

In the past weeks, Lebanese authorities charged more than 330 people of different nationalities with terrorism and belonging to Fatah Islam.
AP

October 8th, 2007, 2:06 pm

 

will said:

“x” now is vegetable, ain’t that fitting..hehehe!

October 8th, 2007, 2:13 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Want to criticize the Syrian government online?
Think again…

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/10/08/africa/ME-GEN-Syria-Rights.php

October 8th, 2007, 3:39 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Will said:

“X” now is vegetable, ain’t that fitting..hehehe!

Except that “X” is not a vegetable. “X” is MK Avigdor Lieberman.

SimoHurtta,

As a pro-Hamas, terrorist sympthizer, such as yourself, I wouldn’t think racism would concern you very much. And with the arab government controlled media airing gobs of anti-semitic canards almost on a daily basis, I’m sure you are writing posts in protest to all these arab media outlets complaining about their racism. (LOL)

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

Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on the comments you cited:

1.) “At 8am we’ll bomb all the commercial centers…at noon we’ll bomb their gas stations…at two we’ll bomb their banks.”

And now in context:

In 2002, at the height of the Palestinian al-Aqsa Intifada, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Lieberman in a Cabinet meeting saying that the Palestinians should be given an ultimatum that “At 8am we’ll bomb all the commercial centers…at noon we’ll bomb their gas stations…at two we’ll bomb their banks….”[9]

Sure, why not bomb the enemy since they do the same to Israel? Of course, I would give them 30 minutes to clear innocent civilians of these places. The Hamas and Fatah aren’t as kind.

2.) X said the prisoners should be drowned in the Dead Sea and he would provide the buses to take them there.

This was an irresponsible statement. Plus it’s very hard to drown in the Dead Sea.

3.) In May 2004, he said that 90 percent of Israel’s one million Arabs would “have to find a new Arab entity” in which to live beyond Israel’s borders. “They have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost,” he said.[11]

Another iresponsible statement. Of course any Israeli who is found guilty of treason should be place in jail for life.

4.) In November 2006, Lieberman called for the execution of any Arab Members of Knesset who meet with representatives of the Palestinian government, saying, “World War II ended with the Nurenberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset].”[12]

I would have left out the word “Arab”. Any MK who meets with Israel’s enemies should be thrown in jail.

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

October 8th, 2007, 4:22 pm

 

t_desco said:

About 30 militants linked to alleged bomb plot arrested in Lebanon

Lebanese authorities arrested some 30 Islamist militants two months ago for allegedly planning to bomb police headquarters in Beirut, a Lebanese judicial source said Monday. At the time of the arrests, the number two leader of the Fatah al- Islam movement, Abu Hreira, was killed by the police in Tripoli in north Lebanon.

“The Lebanese security service managed to arrest at the time the driver of the motorbike Abu Hreira was riding behind whose name is Jamal Eddine Malas, and through interrogations they discovered two sleeping cells in the area of Sidon,” the source said. …

Those arrested were mainly Lebanese and Palestinians who had also confessed to plans for “a massive escape of Islamist detainees from Roumieh Central Jail,” the source said. …
DPA

October 8th, 2007, 4:26 pm

 

Links for 10/8/07 at The Arabist said:

[…] SyriaComment – Ticking Clocks and ‘Accidental’ War (Alastair Crooke on Iran/US/Israel) […]

October 8th, 2007, 4:35 pm

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

The Arab world is not democratic. A teenage Syrian or Egyptian or Saudi blogger could be punished for writing something that the regime does not approve.

But I’m sure that your friend SimoHurrta will remind you that when it comes to human rights abuses, Israel is possibly the champion in our area.

October 8th, 2007, 4:39 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Yes Akbar you are right X is Lieberman (the Moldavian Israeli, not the American version of moderate Jews). Not the famous vegetable.

Some quotes of the famous vegetable

“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”

“A lie should be tried in a place where it will attract the attention of the world.”

“I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him.”

“Everybody has to move; run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours. Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”

“In principle, I’m sorry that we didn’t liquidate him”

“Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying. Even if it means blowing up one or two synagogues here and there, I don’t care.”

and Akbar you blame Ahmadinejad. Funny isn’t it.

I would have left out the word “Arab”. Any MK who meets with Israel’s enemies should be thrown in jail.

Well Akbar if Israeli Jewish MK’s use their second (or third) passport to visit the “enemies” should they also then be thrown in prison? By the way Akbar has any country ever succeeded to make peace without speaking with the enemies?

October 8th, 2007, 5:24 pm

 

Alex said:

The bigger problem with Lieberman is that he is considered respectable enough for this administration to meet with and to have a big smile

October 8th, 2007, 5:48 pm

 

Alex said:

Some dates are sacred

Akiva Eldar, Haaretz

The Palestinians consider November to be unlucky, and justly so. Since the Balfour Declaration in November 1917, which recognized the establishment of a national home for the Jews in the Land of Israel, November bodes badly for them – in 30-year intervals.

In November 1947 the United Nations General Assembly voted on the establishment of a Jewish state; in November 1977 Egyptian President Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem to announce that the most important Arab state recognized the Jewish state. If in the coming weeks there is no dramatic change during the meetings for drafting the Annapolis document, November 2007 will be added to that forlorn list. But this time the failure will be marked in bold letters in the book of misses by the Zionist movement.

As in any talks designed to reach a compromise and achieve reconciliation, it is necessary to identify the counterpart’s red lines and know when to stop bargaining. Olmert would do well to study the lessons of Ehud Barak in his negotiations with the Palestinians at Camp David and the Syrians at Shepherdstown. Arafat and Hafez Assad refused to give up on the principle – established in the peace agreement with Egypt – of peace in exchange for the territory occupied in 1967, even at the cost of the talks’ failure and a falling out with the United States. Abbas, who lost the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, which lost the support of a significant portion of West Bank voters, will not give Israel more than Arafat was willing to give, just like Bashar Assad will be no more generous than his father

October 8th, 2007, 5:54 pm

 

why-discuss said:

The Israelis talk about sharing Jerusalem : Is is part of the campaign to spice up that pre-november conference campaign that does not seem to attract many arab countries or is it a 360 degrees turn?
The planned war against Iran and the attack on Syria, “Operation Orchard”

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater

October 8th, 2007, 5:59 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Israel the champion human rights abuser?

Ever heard of a city called Hama?

What about the hundreds of Lebanese prisoners unaccounted for in Syrian jails?

And people who muzzle freedom of speech must have a lot to hide. There are probably many many human rights violations in Syria that don’t get reported.

October 8th, 2007, 6:04 pm

 

why-discuss said:

What about the 10,000 palestinians and lebanese in Israeli jails, that Israel releases like sheeps when it is convenient for them. No, no, contrary to these primitive arab contries, Israel is the champion of democracy and human rights in the middle-east!

October 8th, 2007, 6:10 pm

 

Alex said:

Anotherisraeliguy,

Hama was terrible indeed .. but it was in 1981. Roughly the same time Mr. Sharon gave us Sabra and Shatila and 18000 dead Lebanese during his invasion of Lebanon.

Let us compare Apples to Apples:

Since year 2000 (since Bashar came to power) how many political prisoners did he add? … how many did he release? … how many opposition members did he kill?

During the same period …How many Arabs did Israel put in Jail? how many did Israel kill? how many died during Israel’s optional war on Lebanon?

And let us stick to known facts … for example, I did not count Lebanon’s assassinations on Israel (as Nasrallah did last week) and you will not blame Syria, like many anti-Syrians do.

The same for Iraq … I will not blame Israel for its friends the Neocons who started the Iraq war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and you will not quote president Bush who would like to blame Syria for the foreign fighters using its territory to reach Iraq.

Get a calculator and let us see the real numbers. And if you prefer to add the unverified ones then I will not mind to count the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis blamed on Israel and the 7 Lebanese assassinated politicians blamed on Syria.

I obviously don’t mean to claim that I am happy with Syria’s record on human rights (although I am very happy with parts of it: religious rights and to some degree women’s rights) but I just want to bring the good guys into the same picture … Israel, the Untied States, the Moderate Arabs …

Here is what Robert Baer, the former CIA agent, said to the British magazine “The New Statesman” in 2004 “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear—never to see them again—you send them to Egypt.”

I hope that puts things into perspective… The United States and Syria and Egypt and Jordan and Israel can all work on their human rights abuses.

October 8th, 2007, 6:16 pm

 

Alex said:

SYRIAN ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNCOVER 11TH-CENTURY BC PAINTING
2007-10-08 13:36 (New York)

Damascus (dpa) – A painting believed to date from the 11th century
BC has been uncovered by archaeologists in northern Syria, the
country’s official news agency SANA reported Monday.
Archaeologist Youssef Kenjo told SANA that the painting “of
geometric shapes; squares and rectangles painted in natural dye of
white, black and red,” was discovered at Jaadet al-Maghara, north of
Aleppo in northern Syria.
The painting was found on a wall inside a house and is considered
to be “one of the oldest paintings in the world,” Kenjo said.
The house seems to have been used for “religious rituals and
social occasions,” Kenjo added. dpa opc ch

October 8th, 2007, 6:25 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

How can we compare apples to apples when the Syrian regime does not allow freedom of speech let alone investigative reporting and human rights monitoring?

You ask good questions, but the only way to get good answers about Bashar’s regime is blocked by Bashar’s regime. This makes me suspicious that Bashar is hiding countless human rights violations. What is Bashar working so hard to hide???

Optional war on Lebanon? You mean the one started by Bashar arming Hizballah? Give me a break.

And what about the hundreds of Lebanese prisoners? Why can’t Bashar free them? Most of them are Aoun men anyway and are your allies.

October 8th, 2007, 6:47 pm

 

Bollinger said:

Meanwhile

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – An estimated 100 students staged a rare demonstration Monday against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling him a “dictator” and scuffling with hardline students at Tehran University.
Ahmadinejad, who was giving a speech to a select group at the university to mark the beginning of the academic year, ignored the chants of “death to the dictator” and continued with his speech on the merits of science and the pitfalls of Western-style democracy, witnesses said.

The protesters scuffled with hardline students who were chanting “thank you president” while police looked on from outside the university gates. The protesters dispersed after the car carrying Ahmadinejad left the campus.

Students were once the main power base of Iran’s reform movement but have faced intense pressure in recent years from Ahmadinejad’s hardline government, making anti-government protests rare.

The president faced a similar outburst during a speech last December when students at Amir Kabir Technical University called Ahmadinejad a dictator and set fire to his picture.

Hoping to avoid a similar disturbance Monday, organizers imposed tight security measures, checking the identity papers of all students entering the university and allowing only selected students into the hall. But the protesters were somehow able to gain entrance.

Iran’s reform movement peaked in the late 1990s after former reformist president Mohammad Khatami was elected and his supporters swept parliament. But hardliners who control the judiciary, security forces and powerful unelected bodies in the government stymied attempts to ease social and political restrictions.

Numerous pro-reform newspapers were shut down, and since Ahmadinejad’s election in 2005, those that remain have been muted in their criticism fearing closure.

At universities, pro-reform students have been marginalized, holding low-level meetings. They hold occasional demonstrations, usually to demand better school facilities or the release of detained colleagues. But pro-government student groups have grown more powerful.

October 8th, 2007, 6:59 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Hi AnotherIsraeliGuy.
Nice to see that I’ve been cloned 😉
Where are you from?

Maybe sometime in the future we’ll see IsraeliGirl around here.

October 8th, 2007, 7:22 pm

 

Jamal said:

The guys publicly sentenced to Bashar’s prisons are the least of it.

Let’s not forget those who are “disappeared” or “questioned to death”

Syrians live with gut-wrenching state terrorism and an undercurrent of fear.

As part of earning his living – not political activism – the poor guy below was apparently accused of translating into Arabic
material about the human rights abuses of other places, not Syria.

MAN MISSING ONE MONTH AFTER RESPONDING TO MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SUMMONS

(New York, August 31, 2007) – The Syrian authorities should reveal the fate of Ali al-Barazi, a translator who has been missing for the past month after being summoned by Military Intelligence, Human Rights Watch said today.

The letter sent on August 27 to President Bashar al-Asad, Human Rights Watch requested information on the whereabouts and well-being of al-Barazi, a 45-year-old resident of Jdaydet `Artuz, a Damascus suburb. Military Intelligence called him in for questioning on July 28, 2007. Neither his family nor his friends and associates have seen or heard from him since then. Al-Barazi’s family does not know why he was called in for questioning. In response to family members’ inquiries, Military Intelligence has told them that al-Barazi is not in their custody.

“We’re concerned that government forces may have ‘disappeared’ Ali al-Barazi,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “This is an extremely serious crime under international law, and we hold the government fully responsible for his well-being and safe return to his family.”

Al-Barazi works as a translator at the Syrian European Documentation Center (SEDC), a Damascus-based private company. Among other clients, SEDC translates documents produced by Human Rights Watch into Arabic for publication on its Arabic-language website. SEDC does not translate work produced by Human Rights Watch on Syria.

October 8th, 2007, 7:50 pm

 

Alex said:

AnotherIsraeliguy,

Welcome to this forum : )

As for “What is Bashar working so hard to hide???”

Again, this is speculation. If we follow the same logic then we would have to ask: “what is Israel hiding by trying to ensure it has control over American and western media outlets”??

You know that foreign reporters in Syria (some living in Syria) did not hear of anything more that what we all hear in public. Whenever anyone is put in jail, his family complains to foreign Human rights activists in Syria and those outside… because Syria is not America’s darling, those claims are not only heard, but they are very well amplified everywhere.

So Bashar is probably not hiding new things, he is trying to prevent opposition activists from being more active in the future… and that part we know.

As for your “Optional war on Lebanon? You mean the one started by Bashar arming Hizballah? Give me a break.”

If you want to go back into the past .. then we can stop at some other causes to the last optional Lebanon war:

1) Israel creating Hizbollah with its 1981 invasion then long occupation of Lebanon. Before that bloody war, Hizbollah was nothing.

2) Israel creation as a state and its aggressive policies towards the Arabs which caused bitterness among Hizbollah’s supporters.

3) Israel’s refusal to talk peace to Syria based on UN resolutions 242 and 338 … If Israel settled with Syria in the 90’s, we would not have had a military Hizbollah today.

So, in order to compare apples to apples, I hope we would ignore those kinds of arguments for now.

October 8th, 2007, 7:59 pm

 

Friend in America said:

We should remember no one at the dinner table was a member of the government and no one had an inside track to what is really going on. The dinner table converation is over rated. The question under discussion was binary – will US attacke Iran, yes or no? Wrong question. The proper question should have been what is the US administration’s strategy for confronting Iran’s international activism? But then, no of them could answer that question authoritatively either. But all at the table would agree the U.S. has only 2 concerns with Iraq and both are serious:1. Iran’s meddling in Iraq; 2. Iran’s development of a nuclear weapons capability.

Do i think the tensions have escalated in the ME and is the possibility of hostilities more likely? Yes. My concerns have been expressed here for several weeks. Ahmadinadjad is just one factor. He is a loose canon and confuses boldness with strength. Is there a Sarajavo potential? Most cerainly yes. That’s why we must heed even the smallest frictions.

The arrest of 30 suspected Al Quada terrorists in Lebanon, including 4 using Russian passports) adds support for the developing conclusion among analysts that Al Quada has decided the possibility for victory in Iraq is gone and has started to divert assets to other soft points in the ME. Keep this is on the watch list this winter. Al Quada makes enemies of enemies become friends of former enemies.

Writers have a need to rush to publish before doing thorough research. It is no secret Syria for over 25 years has had a small reactor near the Euphrates River in a desolate area 4 km outside of Dayr as Zawr. It is a research facility. That is where the shipment of bags, etc marked “cement” was shipped. That is where the air strike occurred.

On U.S. and Iran, as written before, there will be no bombing of Iran by the U.S. If Israel (or any other country – don’t count the others out) does, it will be because a perceived clear and imminent danger to its national security warrants self protection.

So what should we look for in the short term?
1. Continued effort by U.S. to warn the various leadership groups in Iran that Ahmedinadjad is steering his country into very dangerous waters. Public get tough statements (Brezinski will continue to be confused). This will continue because the Revolutionary Guards led by the Persident believe the”lets get out of Iraq in 2007″ remarks by certain Democrat candidates for President means the U.S. is too soft to perservere thereby an opportunity is opening for Iran to be come the principal player in the ME. They are mistaken. Kosovo is the reply.
2. Continue searching for and arresting every Revolutionary Guard Quds person found in Iraq. They are not being released.
3. Securing the Iraq-Iranian border by building very sophisticated checkpoints at each highway coming from Iran; implementing a new and thorough process of searching vehicles and questioning passengers; impounding vehicles containing weapons or weapons materials and detaining suspect passengers; securing the wide desert places between the highways with detection devices and alarms; patrols every morning to search and follow new footprints and vehicle tracks; placing garrisons in every town near the border (there are not many) so as to deny shelter to those who evaded the check points by walking or riding though the desert. Construction of these security devices is under way now. It will take a year to measure its effectiveness.

The remaining step is for Damascus to close its international airport to single males between 18 and 40 traveling from another Arab country on one way tickets with light luggage. 75% of all terrorism in Iraq is caused by men willing to enjoy paradise in a dismembered body.

October 8th, 2007, 8:03 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Israeliguy,

You are irreplaceable. I really admire your patience. I am not that saintly. I am from Ramat-Hasharon but currently in the US.

Alex,

Foreign reporters in Syria are extremely limited in what they can do and are monitored constantly by the Syrian intellingence. This is not speculation. Bashar is afraid of wide knowledge of what is happening in Syria and of transparency.

Do you know that Al-Jazeera freely reports from Israel even though they are staunchly anti-Israel? The Israeli government is not afraid of any reporter walking around Israel and interviewing people. Bashar on the other hand is afraid of even letting internet criticism. People who are afraid of criticism are afraid because they have something to hide. When you oppress freedom of speech to the extent Bashar does, it must mean that you have many many skeletons in your closet.

Very few people complain about family members being abused in Syria because they are intimidated and afraid and know they will suffer the consequences. The complaints that get through are the tip of the iceberg.

And let me repeat, why isn’t Bashar freeing the hundreds of ex-Aoun fighters languishing in Syrian jails? He is a Syrian ally now after all.

October 8th, 2007, 8:12 pm

 

Jamal said:

I’m sorry, Alex, you sound like an apologist.

And how much good does the human rights reporting do anyone? Look at who is still rotting their lives away in prison.

By the way, I am confused by your comment: “Again, this is speculation. You know that foreign reporters in Syria (some living in Syria) did not hear of anything more that what we all hear in public”

So foreign reporters do not hear more than others hear in public (apparently from other media).

Those who complain to the Human Rights bodies are taking a risk that others are afraid to.

I think you would have tougher views, Alex, if anyone in Syria dear to you was ever “summonsed to talk to the authorities”

And don’t be goaded into defending Syria because Israeli commentators here strike a higher moral pose. Their backsides are bare and should be burning in shame for the way their own authorities operate.

October 8th, 2007, 8:23 pm

 

Student said:

“…when it comes to human rights abuses, Israel is possibly the champion in our area.”

I’m not sure why I am even dignifying such a comment with a response. However, a newbie like myself can easily recall, Hama http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hama_Massacre), Black September http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_September_in_Jordan, and more recently the Qamishly incident in 2004. Let’s also not forget, Halabja (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_poison_gas_attack). While I can’t recall specific incidents relating to KSA and Iran, we know that a place which has institutionalized the cutting off of hands as a punishment for theft and the execution of homosexuals are no exceptions to the seemingly regional rule of states which flagrantly violate human rights on a massive scale.

On a more personal note, I frequently meet with two young Damascenes to practice Amiyya. I often in engage in political discussions with one of the two and have noticed that the other actively stays out of the conversation. I once asked the friend who does discuss politics if our friend’s fears are well founded. I was told that his friend’s greatest fear in life is being picked up in the middle of the night by the secret police, held in some secret prison, tortured, and never heard from again. Also, I know two people, a journalist and my landlord, who have told me that they have been tortured.

October 8th, 2007, 8:37 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG (another Israeli guy)

I wish we had hours to dedicate to this subject. Because it is not as simple as you would like it to be … suppressing freedom of speech is “bad” for sure, and I am against it. But … it is not one sided at all.

I will simply ask you to stick to the original point I tried to make: If you add the numbers, Israel did the most serious damage in human rights abuses … at least the past few years.

If you want to talk about the alleged hundreds of Aoun prisoners in Syrian prisons … how come Aoun himself does not think there is a real problem there?

If we want to take all the claimed against the Syrians at face value, then we would have believed many things that are not true. Like the story that was widely reported all over the world that a mass grave was discovered next to Syrian intelligence HQ in Anjar Lebanon.

few days later we found out that those were the remains of Lebanese (Actually Syrian) people who died in Ottoman times.

But of course the damage is done already, and not many peole remember the truth.

So please, let us stick to what we know, not to “I’m sure Bashar is hiding more”.

I was speaking last week to a Palestinian who was sure Israelis did 9/11 … like hundreds for millions who believe the same … so should we start basing our discussions on those opinions?

October 8th, 2007, 8:41 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

No doubt that Syria has problems with human rights, nobody denies it. However when we watch the Human Rights Watch’s reports, letters etc about Syria they are normally cases with handle a few individuals treatment. In Israel’s case the same letter, reports etc are much more serious and handle with the faith of millions and deaths of numerous people. Also the amount of reports, letters etc about Israel is three, four timers bigger than those about Syria. And even almost 50 percent more than with Iran.

Israeli guys (the first, second etc) and their American cousin Akbar, the mother of in-depth thinking, lecturing to Arabs about human rights issues is simply humorous. Israeli guys who have spend the best years of their youth on roadblocks humiliating Palestinians and making their life miserable (if not doing even worse things), should not be speaking about human rights in foreign countries. Not even in Myanmar (where by the way Israel has should considerable amounts of weapons for the junta – see Jane’s report).

October 8th, 2007, 8:42 pm

 

Student said:

I am curious, what do people make of the views by some that Ahmedinejad has an apocalyptic world vision. He began his last speech at the UN by praying for the return of the Mehdi. The return of the Mehdi is believed to be preceded by a chaotic world ff injustice and tyranny. Is this all just fear mongering or is it possible that such a world vision by Ahmendinejad could lead to a less rationale and less risk averse foreign policy for Iran. And to what extent does the fact that, Ali Khamenei, has the final say, make these issues and Ahmedinejad irrelevant.

October 8th, 2007, 8:59 pm

 

Alex said:

Jamal,

It is not only a matter of “defending Syria”. True I love Syria and I try to “defend it” whenever I can, but there is more to it.

I want the peace process to start and I want every one to see that they are on the wrong track these days. There is a real chance the middle East will be on fire … and no one will be spared.

Turkish foreign minister in Israel and Damascus this weak said the same.

One of the excuses those who try to not be forced to talk to Syria come up with is that Syria is not “good enough” to talk to.

What you see as “sound like an apologist” is my recognition that if we do not get over that artificial hurdle (Syria is exceptionally evil, even by middle Easters standards) then we have no option but to sit and watch the whole place burning.

When we avoid the madness of this administration’s mideast policies, then we’ll look at freedom of political expression in Syria.

You are free to continue being mostly motivated by highlighting the regime’s human rights abuses. To each his priorities Jamal… the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis are a bit more serious in my opinion.

Besides, I had enough from the dwarfs of “Syrian opposition” (not the decent ones) who made it their daily job to create and spread lies about “the regime’s atrocities” … the Ghadries, the Khaddams, and the outsiders like the pure saints Jumblatt and Geagea lecturing us about democracy.

First we reach a peaceful settlement with Israel, we agree with our “Arab allies” on everyone’s role in the region, then we work on mostly economic reforms, and over the next 10 years we seek democracy …

I do not wish anything faster for Syria.

October 8th, 2007, 9:01 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Are you serious? Your argument is that since Syria represses freedom of speech and hides its abuses we should only consider the abuses reported through the Syrian iron curtain. That is playing to the hand of the abusers.

If Bashar has nothing to hide, let him allow free foreign press. Otherwise, it is clear that he is hiding something serious because he is suppressing evidence.

This is not the case with 9/11. The evidence is out there for all to see. If somebody insists it was Israel, let him be judged for the strength of his argument and if anybody wants to believe it, tfadal.

If you want to compare apples to apples let the foreign and domestic press roam free in Syria, let them publish what they find and then let’s argue about what the evidence means.

But to suppress the evidence and use this as argument that no abuse is happening is really not in good faith.

October 8th, 2007, 9:04 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Why do you need peace with Israel as a pre-requisite for democracy in Syria? Israel has a democracy even though it has no peace with Syria. It just seems an excuse for Bashar to stay in power.

Since Bashar controls both the peace and the democracy process, when you buy into this logic, you are allowing Bashar to resist democratization forever by not getting to peace.

October 8th, 2007, 9:13 pm

 

Jamal said:

Hang on Alex, now the argument is that Syrians were not brutal to ordinary Lebanese?

You can do your research two ways – speak to normal decent Syrians who did military service in Lebabon and get them to discuss what they witnessed. Or casually ask around any expatriate Lebanese community and listen to some of the horror stories there.

This discussion is very depressing, debating who is worse.

Again, I refer you to Kanan Mikaya (repeating what I said on an earlier thread) with his “Putting Cruelty First”, which calls for elevating cruelty, violence, and abuse over any other consideration.

He has the guts to focus on the wide chasm between the experience of the victims and the words of Arab and western intelligentsia, often on the left (“a catalogue of evasions: silence, exculpation, complicity, rationalisation, subject changing, denial, avoidance..”)

It is sobering to read him and then apply that prism to the actions of the Israeli regime against Arabs and Arab governments against their citizens (and in Syria’s case against the citizens of Lebanon as well for good measure).

October 8th, 2007, 9:16 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Thanks AnotherIsraeliGuy 🙂
I’m glad to see you here.

I like Ramat-Hasharon very much.
I have a thing for small cozy towns and I live not far, in Ramat Gan.

Alex, we don’t agree on 95% of the things that we discuss, but I’m sure you mean well for yourself, your country and your people.

If you’re asking me, peace talks between Israel and Syria won’t happen before the next round of war.

But to be honest, even after the Iranian issue will be resolved, I still can’t see Syria and Israel sit and talk seriously.

Israel doesn’t want to relinquish the Golan for peace and Syria doesn’t want to relinquish the claim for the Golan for peace – so the odds for talks are basically next to zero.

October 8th, 2007, 9:20 pm

 

Student said:

Alex:

Alex wrote:

“First we reach a peaceful settlement with Israel, we agree with our “Arab allies” on everyone’s role in the region, then we work on mostly economic reforms, and over the next 10 years we seek democracy …”

While I understand your desire for gradual change. Predicating your desire for moves toward democracy on peace with Israel seems to be precisely what a regime of this nature would want. If the regime seeks survival it ought to simply maintain a state of war with its militarily powerful neighbor while subjecting the population to live under an “emergency” situation in which civil rights are disregarded in the name of security.

It is possible to develop a Syria’s relationship with its “allies” in the region and have economic reforms while simultaneously relaxing the state’s control over the Syrian people.

Without some decentralization of power, it be impossible to have real economic reforms. The independence of the courts is necessary to ensure that foreign investors have faith in the system, i.e. contracts. As long as the system is corrupt Syria will lack the resources it needs to obtain from the world abroad to replace dwindling oil exports.

October 8th, 2007, 9:22 pm

 

Jamal said:

Alex I just read your comment about getting over the hurdle of criticising Syria to strike a peace deal etc. I respect and appreciate that view. I am driven by wanting the ugliness and fear taken out of Syrian’s daily lives and the feeling that from this can flow external normalisation. The fact the Iraqis lived so long with so much ugliness and fear is not divorced from the way things have turned out there.

October 8th, 2007, 9:26 pm

 

Alex said:

Thanks Jamal,

Israeliguy,

I might be “an optimist” but you sure are a pessimist!

Yoiu know why? .. because I am sure that war will be devastating to my country (and yours too). You really believe, despite all that you tell me here, that Israel will do well next time it engages Syria.

If you really believed that the next war will be the mother of all Middle Eastern wars, then you would be spending all your free (and not free) time in Israeli forums … lobbying your government to talk peace with Syria.

Anyway, last opinion poll I read said that 60% of Israelis were opposed to returning the Golan Heights… not all Israelis as you suggested.

It is not impossible to see 20% from the center move to the other side.

To do so, it takes a new American administration that does not continue harping on the same old “Syria is not democratic, Syria is supporting terror .. you can not talk to Syria”

We will wait and see … your war scenario is quite possible, and my peace scenario is also quite possible.

AIG,

Joshua lived in Syria for two months this summer … he noticed an increase in the level of “fear” in Syria, true. Those who would like to criticize the regime are now more worried about the consequences of speaking in public.

But Joshua also noticed that most Syrians are not into opposition politics and they are far from being “oppressed” … most Syrians are OK, some are not OK at all.

I can live with that for now. When a genius will invent a quick and safe approach to change, I will be happy to support it .. until now, the only brilliant fast change I have seen was in Iraq.

It is not about what is optimal, we all know what is optimal .. it is about what is feasible.

Jamal,

I do believe you that it is possible to have SOME democratic reforms today, without waiting for peace first. But there are many restrictions … meaningful reforms are tied to the regional situation.

Why?

Here are only a few examples:

American support for Kurdish autonomy or separation … Saudi support for Islamists, Hariri support for Khaddam … American support for Ghadri and Mamoun Homsy …

This is a long discussion topic, but if we were sitting in a cafe for a whole afternoon, I think I can present to you a more meaningful background on how I formed my opinion.

October 8th, 2007, 10:02 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, it’s true that I’m not an optimist, but I don’t see myself as a pessimist, but as a realist.

War is always painful under any circumstances, but I’m (and probably the Israeli government too) approaching the issue from a logical point of view.

I accept the fact that my logic is not identical to yours and that you don’t agree with mine.
That’s ok.

Sometimes, as an individual and as a country, you have to choose not between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (which is easy), but from bad and a lesser evil.

The vast majority of Israelis are willing to do anything, including some major sacrificing, so the Iranians won’t have nuclear weapons.
That leads me to the conclusion that the war is inevitable.

Peace with Syria has nothing to do with the Iranians having nuclear weapons – so it won’t prevent the war.

I don’t know when this poll, that you’re mentioning, was taken.
I’ll be extremely surprised if a current poll will show that 40% are for giving the Golan Heights to Syria.

My guess is that it’s somewhere in the 20%-30% area.
Probably closer to the 20% than to the 30% mark.

The way I see it, giving the Golan to Syria is a none issue in Israel these days.
Other than the ideological left, who was always interested in such a deal and always will be – nobody supports it.

Cracking the center’s wall is a lot tougher and I can’t see it happening in the near future and under the current circumstances.

October 8th, 2007, 10:30 pm

 

Jamal said:

Alex, don’t worry, I think it would only take about half an hour and we’d be holding up our coffee cups in a toast of agreement.

I know Syrians are going about their lives normally enough, but the ugliness and fear is subtle, it’s economic and social, not just political – though everything can be linked to the latter.

As the years go by I have found that I have developed more and more a “zero tolerance for zero tolerance (by Governments)” and anger at thugs running the lives of millions by the gun. Let’s not have any illusions, Syria has the potential to become another Burma overnight.

October 8th, 2007, 10:31 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

You are basically admitting that there is no real Syrian identity and that without a “strong leader”, Syria will undergo secterian strife a la Iraq. I agree. But see, national identity takes generations to build. It takes decades for tribes to become nations, so your analysis of Syria democratizing 10 years after peace does not make sense. It will never happen or will happen in a cataclysmic way.

Even the US became a true democracy by going through a costly civil war let alone the terrible wars Europe had to endure. So while your intent is good, don’t fool yourself. You can sacrifice democracy for the pretense of unity, but you will never be able to transition to democracy wihtout major upheavel.

Bashar understands this equation well and knows people like you will make a rational decision to support him because you cannot bear the consequences of a transition to democracy. But at least don’t fool yourself that you are on the way to democracy. You are not. Bashar has you exactly where he wants you and your options are very limited.

October 8th, 2007, 10:35 pm

 

t_desco said:

For the record:

Terror cells ‘planned to bomb ISF headquarters’
Security forces, army crack down on WEAPONS SMUGGLED INTO PRISON FOR FATAH AL-ISLAM FIGHTERS
By Hani M. Bathish

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Two terror cells, one from Iqlim al-Kharroub and the other from Sidon, rounded up since mid-August had allegedly plotted to blow up the Internal Security Forces (ISF) headquarters in Achrafieh as well as several Arab and European embassies and missions, a security source confirmed Monday.

The daily As-Safir reported that the terror cells were also planning to free around 200 Fatah al-Islam militants detained at Roumieh Central Prison.

Interior Minister Hassan Sabaa categorically denied what was reported by As-Safir as a fabrication Monday, and said the incident at Roumieh was due to prisoners’ refusing to submit to a routine search of some of the cell blocks. The Cabinet meeting Tuesday is due to discuss referring crimes that threaten state security to the Judicial Council, the highest judicial authority in the country, whose rulings are not subject to appeal

Despite Sabaa’s denial, a security source told The Daily Star on Monday that unprecedented precautionary measures have been taken around ISF headquarters, including the addition of concrete blocks around the building and stringent screening of all visitors. Non-military vehicles were also barred from parking along the outside perimeter wall of the building.

“Information received indicated that the terror cells were planning to use around 1 ton of explosives in a truck parked outside the building,” the source said. “This would have had a devastating impact on the surrounding area.” The ISF headquarters is located just 10 meters from a hospital.

As-Safir’s report on Monday linked the Iqlim al-Kharroub terror cell with planning the bombing of ISF headquarters and to previous bomb attacks against the Spanish and Tanzanian contingents of UNIFIL in South Lebanon, as well as plans to free Fatah al-Islam prisoners from Roumieh.

On Thursday Lebanese Army Special Forces and ISF units raided the prison cells and confiscated mobile phones, knives and screwdrivers that had been smuggled into them inside the facility.

“Their women would deliver iftar meals to the prisoners and ask the guards not to open the package as they would taint the food since they are not devout Muslims,” the security source said, adding that using the screwdrivers in their possession, prisoners dismantled closed-circuit cameras. Although Fatah al-Islam and other Islamic fundamentalist prisoners were dispersed among the general population into two prison blocks, they managed to stay in contact using mobile phones.

As-Safir said the intelligence unit uncovered two sleeper terror cells in August. The first cell was based in Sidon and included Lebanese and Palestinians and had $50,000 in their possession destined for Fatah al-Islam military commander Shehab Qadour, know as Abu Hureira. The capture of that cell led security forces to a second cell in the predominantly Sunni Iqlim al-Kharroub area in the Chouf.

“The second cell were fundamentalists, they were working to be accepted as members of Al-Qaeda, but had yet to prove themselves,” the security source said, denying claims they were part of Al-Qaeda.

As-Safir said investigations into the first terror cell revealed their link to the attack on the Tanzanian contingent of UNIFIL, while investigations with the second terror cell uncovered a plot to assist the escape of Fatah al-Islam and Islamist prisoners from Roumieh.

As-Safir also alleged that the Iqlim Kharroub cell managed to recruit a young man from the Southern Sunni village of Yarin, identified only as M. S. J., who was asked to infiltrate the ISF.

The paper said M. S. J. succeeded with the help of a local political figure to join the ISF and get assigned to the prison in Roumieh.

The paper said a member of the Iqlim Kharroub cell, identified only as B. B., was M. S. J.’s contact and assigned him specific tasks. B. B. was also tasked with delivering explosive materials south of the Litani River with the aim of carrying out attacks against UNIFIL forces. With the arrest of the Iqlim al-Kharroub cell, B. B. allegedly revealed to investigators the plan to free Fatah al-Islam prisoners from Roumieh and the fact they had smuggled knives and cell phones into their cells.

Security forces immediately beefed up security around the Roumieh Prison with the assistance of Lebanese Army units. The security source denied that the confiscation of weapons and mobile phones resulted in any injuries among the prison population as had been reported. Some prisoners tried to break their phones and flush them down the toilets.

“The families of prisoners who came Thursday for a scheduled visit were to distract security forces while the prisoners made their escape,” the security source said, adding that families had come from Sidon, Kharroub and Tripoli and many of the women’s faces were covered. “They put the women in the front, as the soldiers would be reluctant to attack them,” the source said.

He said the prisoners’ beards and heads were shaved for hygiene purposes, denying reports it was done to humilate them. …
The Daily Star

October 8th, 2007, 10:42 pm

 

ausamaa said:

ANOTHERISRAELIGUY (New Tennant in Palestine now living in his second country,m the US of A) said:

“I am from Ramat-Hasharon but currently in the US”.

Just curious, What was Ramat-Hasharon called before the State of Israel was forced on the Palestinian Arabs? Any idea? Got any pictures of the homes of demolished houses of the evicted or killed Palestinian Arabs who used to live there before the now matter-of-fact Ramat Hasharon was built on that rubble of whatever Arab village which existed there before?

And please. dont tell me Palestine was an empty desert. We are past that stage.

October 8th, 2007, 10:58 pm

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

The poll was last year, before the Lebanon war. The thing to remember is that all polls depend on the way a question is asked … you can have somewhere between 15% to 50% if you word the question right. I have designed many scientific surveys and I know how soft and meaningless it is to measure behaviors and attitudes.

AIG,

I am quite aware that it is in the regime’s interest to have this situation … but that is irrelevant to me. I do not love and do not hate the regime.

You are quite correct that we are not on the road to democracy … yet. But for this year my goal is to not be on the road to hell.

In 2009 I will hope for starting to move along the road towards democracy, slowly.

Moving towards “democracy” (or whatever it is that fits Syria well) is a process of change … changing the whole system which is made up of 20 million Syrians (and Iraqis and Palestinians living in Syria), not “the regime” only … that can only be organic. Any sudden change will backfire at some point in the future … look at Pakistan and Turkey … they were forced by their leaders to become more secular than their general population would like them to be. We will one day have a bad shock in at least one of these two countries.

It is possible to move towards democracy without civil wars and wars… I think I and others will find calmer ways to get everyone closer to some center that they all can live with.

But that won’t work when you have outsiders playing with Syrian politics “supporting Syrian opposition” … it makes it exponentially more difficult to

My energy is therefore towards reaching a peaceful settlement with Israel which will facilitate the next necessary step of settling Syria’s issues with the other regional powers … America’s Arab allies.

Then we tackle the complicated inside challenges… i

Finally, most Syrians feel strongly about their nationality. Syria is not a new country … Damascus is the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city. If any country has identity it is Syria.

But there are enough Syrians (10% Kurds for example) who also feel strongly about other identities they belong to…. and not all Kurds feel this way .. mostly the new Syrians (those who escaped from Turkey into Syria the past 40 years) are the ones who want to be part of Kurdistan. Damascene Kurds have been Syrian for hundreds of years.

When America and Israel stop giving them hope that their Kurdistan is within reach in Syria and Iraq, they will be happy to be regular Syrian citizens and Syria will give the 200,000 Turkish Kurds the Syrian citizenship that they hope to have.

October 8th, 2007, 11:04 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Ausamaa, just curious, What was your city called before the USA was forced on the Native Americans (aka Indians)?

Any idea? Got any paintings of the demolished tents of the evicted or killed Indians who used to live there before the now matter-of-fact your city was built on that rubble of whatever Indian village which existed there before?

And please. don’t tell me USA was an empty wilderness. We are past that stage.

It looks like you’re a settler, Ausamaa.

October 8th, 2007, 11:07 pm

 

ausamaa said:

This is from the Labanese Al Akhbar newspaper

http://www.al-akhbar.com tuesday 9 Oct 2007.

The series about Al Harriri assasinatio which this paper says that it intends to staring tom should be interesting,, Is Brammertz leaking things in the opposite direction of Mehilis? Is that is Dubbya is upset with the slow progress of the International Invistigative Committee work?

رواية مجموعة الـ 13 عن اغتيال الحريري
فداء عيتاني

كيف تقرّرت العمليّة ومتى جُهِّز أبو عدس ومن تولّى المراقبة وأين فُخِّخت الميتسوبيشي ومَن هو الانتحاري؟

تدخل قوات من «الفهود» التابعة لقوى الامن الداخلي إلى سجن رومية، وتتعرض بالضرب لموقوفين في السجن متّهمين بالانتماء إلى تنظيم «فتح الإسلام» وإلى شبكة الدعم اللوجستي للمقاومة العراقية، المعروفة باسم شبكة حسن نبعة، أو شبكة الـ13. ورغم ترداد معلومات صحافية عن اكتشاف وإحباط محاولة فرار كان يجري الإعداد لها، وهو ما نفاه وزير الداخلية حسن السبع أمس، فإنّ ما نشرته الزميلة «السفير» في عددها الصادر أمس الاثنين لناحية اكتشاف تواطؤ أحد السجّانين مع الإسلاميّين، واكتشاف اتّصالات ما بين داخل المعتقل وخارجه، هو وحده ما يتّسم بالدقّة، دون غيره من معلومات.
إلا أنّ ما تعرّض له المعتقلون من ضرب وأعمال بحث وتفتيش وإهانات وصلت إلى حدّ تمزيق بعض السجّانين لمصاحف قرآنية وشتم معتقدات المعتقلين الدينية، أعاد الأمور إلى نقطة حرجة في علاقة كانت تتمّ بالواسطة ما بين المعتقلين والجهات السياسية الفاعلة في البلاد، كما أعاد طرح السؤال عن هوية مجموعة الـ13، وما لها وما عليها.
المجموعة التي جرى التحقيق معها على دفعات تضمّ أشخاصاً من جنسيّات عدّة: السعودية ولبنان وفلسطين وسوريا، وقد جرى التحقيق في مراكز تابعة لفرع المعلومات في قوى الأمن الداخلي، وختم محاضر التحقيق رئيس فرع المعلومات في قوى الأمن الداخلي. كذلك حققت معها أجهزة أمن غير لبنانية، وبصفات متنوّعة، من بينها سعودية وأميركية، دون أن يعلم أفراد المجموعة مَن الذي يحقّق معهم. وعُرض الأمر بتسرّع أمام لجنة التحقيق الدولية. وفي النهاية أسقط من الادّعاء على الشبكة كل ما له علاقة بعملية اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري، وتحوّل الادّعاء العام (الذي نشرت «الأخبار» ملخّصاً عنه في السادس من نيسان الماضي) إلى نص يوحي باعتقال شبكة دعم لوجستي للمقاومة العراقية تعمل انطلاقاً من الأراضي اللبنانية، مع اتهامها بأنها تحرّض على طوائف أخرى (الشيعة).
وبعد أكثر من عام على اعتقال أفراد المجموعة التي قُبض على أوّل عناصرها في أيلول من عام 2005، في إطار التحرّي عن مصير أحمد أبو عدس، وفي آذار من عام 2006، وبخلاف القوانين لناحية التوقيفات دون توجيه اتهام، توصّلت السلطات الأمنية اللبنانية إلى إحالة المدّعى عليهم أمام القضاء، حيث قدّم قاضي التحقيق الأول لدى المحكمة العسكرية رشيد مزهر حينها الادّعاء على 32 شخصاً ينتمون الى تنظيم القاعدة، واتّهمهم بالإقدام «على تأليف عصابة تمهيداً للقيام بأعمال إرهابية وتزوير أوراق رسمية ونقل أسلحة».
تبيّن، وفقاً للقرار الاتهامي، «أنّ المدّعى عليهم، على رغم اختلاف جنسياتهم، جمعتهم عقيدة واحدة وأفكار هادفة الى الجهاد لتحرير العراق من الاحتلال الأميركي. وتحقيقاً لرغبتهم هذه، بايعوا أمراء تنظيم القاعدة. وقد أقدم هؤلاء الأمراء لاحقاً على تعديل وتحويل مهمّتهم وتوجيهها إلى الأنظمة العربية لبعض الدول التي كفّروها في العالم العربي والإسلامي وبعض الطوائف اللبنانية».
وجاء في القرار أنهم «اتخذوا من سوريا مقراً لهم وتوزعت الأدوار بين أمير لها (المجموعة) تمت مبايعته والتزام أوامره وبين مموّل بالمال والسلاح ومزوّر يؤمن المستندات اللازمة المزيفة، وهويات من مختلف الجنسيات لضمان تنقلات الأفراد، وبين آخرين يقومون بتدريبات عسكرية وأمنية بعد الخبرة التي اكتسبوها من اشتراكهم في معارك في أفغانستان والتوصيات العائدة إلى كيفية التعامل مع المحققين وتضليلهم في حالات التوقيف والتزام السرية التامة، فيما انحصر نشاط بعض المدعى عليهم في لبنان بتأمين البريد الإلكتروني واستئجار الشقق لتخزين الأسلحة والعتاد وتخبئة القادمين من سوريا وتجنيد الشباب لتنظيم القاعدة».
ويضيف الادعاء «وتبيّن أن ارتباط بعض المدعى عليهم بعلاقة صداقة مع المدعو أحمد أبو عدس الذي اختفى قبل شهر من ظهوره في تسجيل على شاشات التلفزة متبنيّاً اغتيال دولة الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري أدّى إلى كشف هذه المجموعة الإرهابية من جانب الأجهزة الأمنية».
ومع تراكم الأحداث ومثول المعتقلين لأوّل مرة أمام المحكمة، ظهرت حقيقة التحقيقات التي كان قد أخضع لها هؤلاء الموقوفون، الذين تعرضوا أكثر من مرة للضرب والاعتداء الجسدي، بحسب ما يفيدون، داخل السجون التي مكثوا فيها، وبانت الاعترافات الأصلية لهم، وهي على خلاف التهم الموجهة إليهم في الادعاء وأمام المحكمة.

اغتيال الحريري

ما سوف تنشره «الأخبار» في حلقات يعرض لسير التحقيقات الأولية التي جرت مع الموقوفين والتي تضمّنت معلومات قدمت على أنها إجابات حول من نفّذ عملية اغتيال رفيق الحريري؟ وكيف تحرّكت المجموعة؟ من هي أصلاً مجموعة الـ13؟ من أين أتت ومن هم أعضاؤها؟ كيف تنكّروا وكيف تحرّكوا؟ ما علاقتهم بالمقاومة العراقية؟ وماذا يفعلون في لبنان؟ ما هي الدول التي تشملها حركتهم؟ من يطاردهم وفي أيّ دول؟ ما علاقتهم بالنظام السوري؟ ما هي الأجهزة والشرائح الإلكترونية المتطوّرة التي يصمّمونها وينقلونها؟ وما سرّ المعلومات المشفّرة على أجهزة كومبيوتراتهم الشخصية؟ وأين كان تُنقل ولماذا تستخدم؟ من هم أفراد مجموعات الرصد والاستطلاع لعملية اغتيال رفيق الحريري؟ كيف وأين صُوّر فيلم أحمد أبو عدس؟ ما هي قصّة الساعات الأخيرة لأحمد أبو عدس؟ وهل هو من نفّذ العملية ضد الحريري؟ كيف رصدت المجموعة الإجراءات الأمنية في محيط مكان تنفيذ العملية وكيف أحبطت فاعليتها؟ لماذا لم تظهر الاختبارات وجود الحمض النووي لأحمد ابو عدس في محيط مكان التتنفيذ؟ ما علاقة القاعدة في بلاد الحرمين بعملية اغتيال رفيق الحريري؟ ومن هو المنفّذ السعودي الذي يجري التحدث عنه والمذكور في تقرير المحقق الدولي سيرج براميرتس؟ ومن هو أبو هاجر السعودي ولماذا يرسل المجاهدين إلى لبنان؟ هل من علاقة لمجموعات أصولية جهادية في عين الحلوة بكل ما جرى؟ وكيف كانت تتم الصلات بين المجموعات الجهادية؟ كيف كانت المجموعات تنسق اتصالاتها البشرية والهاتفية والإلكترونية؟
ثم يلقي التحقيق الضوء أكثر فأكثر على ما حصل، ويجيب عن أسئلة حول تراجع المعتقلين عن إفادات أدلوا بها، وعن علاقة أبو مصعب الزرقاوي بهم، وعن علاقة حسن نبعة (أو الشيخ راشد) بزياد رمضان الموقوف لدى السلطات السورية وخالد طه الفار والملاحق من قبل السلطات القضائية في لبنان ودول العالم بناءً على مذكرة ملاحقة دولية صادرة عن دول عدة بطلب من لجنة التحقيق الدولية وبطلب من السلطات القضائية اللبنانية، ولماذا يعتبر المحققون أن المستوى التدريبي والامني للمجموعة أعلى مما هو موجود في لبنان لدى الاجهزة الامنية؟
والأهمّ أنّ محاضر التحقيق التي سوف تنشرها «الأخبار» تتضمن رواية هذه المجموعة حول كيف ومتى وأين ولماذا تم التخطيط والتحضير والتنفيذ لاغتيال الحريري. ولكن ما سيبقى يطرح هو مدى دقة التحقيقات، وعدم عرضها بالكامل أمام لجنة التحقيق الدولية، وإذا كانت هذه المجموعة هي من نفّذ اغتيال رفيق الحريري، فلماذا لم تحاكم على هذا الأساس؟ وإذا كانت مجرّد شبكة دعم للمقاومة العراقية تعمل انطلاقاً من لبنان، فلماذا تقدمت بهذه الاعترافات وحمّلت نفسها مسؤولية الاغتيال؟ ولماذا تأخير محاكمة أعضائها لأكثر من عام ونصف؟

[غداً الجزء الأوّل: التوقيف وتضليل التحقيق]

October 8th, 2007, 11:09 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Israeliguy said:

I’ll be extremely surprised if a current poll will show that 40% are for giving the Golan Heights to Syria.

Israeliguy,

Check out this article:

Dr. Yaacov Shamir from the Department of Communication and Journalism at Hebrew University (HU) and the Truman Institute, focused on last years’ Lebanon War. In his opinion, the media instruments in Israel had treated the Lebanon war as a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and didn’t mention it as a result of the lacking peace treaty with Syria and Lebanon. “Therefore, only 45% of the Israelis are ready to give up the Golan Heights as a price for peace with the Syria”, he explained. On the other hand, he stated that 46% of the Israelis believed that another war with Syria or the Lebanon is likely to happen in the near future.

http://www.kas.de/proj/home/pub/19/2/dokument_id-11870/index.html

Assuming it is true, I am not surprised. Israel bent over backwards with Arafat and got nothing but war. And Israel was completely prepared to turn over the Golan to Syria in a previous life.

But I agree, the atmosphere is not yet ripe.

The Islamists believe they can weaken Israel enough to get the Golan back and then some. And Israel, for some strange reason, doesn’t want to commit suicide. Just the right ingredients for another war.

Ausamaa, just curious, What was your city called before the USA was forced on the Native Americans (aka Indians)?

Israeliguy,

In the world of Arab double-standards (we’re talking about a world the size of Jupiter):

– it doesn’t matter if Arabs have killed more Arabs than Israel

– it doesn’t matter if Arabs are less democratic than Israel

– it doesn’t matter if Arabs governments provide fewer human rights than Israel

– it doesn’t matter if Arab governments support terrorism

– it doesn’t matter if Muslim states and terrorist organizations threaten Israel’s existence

The only thing that matters is what Israel does.

October 8th, 2007, 11:18 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Ausamma,
I don’t care what Ramat-Hasharon was called before. I was born in Israel, my parents were born in Israel and my grandparents were born in Israel. I own all my property legally under the laws of the state of Israel which is recognized by the UN and about 140 countries. I never took land from anybody and nobody will take my land or property from me.

You see, I don’t care that your ancestors killed and pillaged in order to create the Dar Al Salam. Yet, you want to burden me with a crime that MAYBE one of my ancestors did. The world does not work that way. Grow up and join the 21st century. And if you don’t accept this common ideology and want to do something about it, that is why we have the IDF. So, have it your way but don’t complain about the results. I certainly will not. We all make our choices and suffer the consequences.

October 8th, 2007, 11:20 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, I had a feeling it was an old survey.

After the war in Lebanon, the Israeli public is better informed about the Syrian role in the Hizbollah armament.

The general mood during the last year or so of public opinion is the following:

* Not to reward Syria with any prizes for their support to the Hizbollah.

* Syria doesn’t really want peace – just the Golan.

* There will be no much difference between the current situation and a one after a peace agreement will be signed – so what’s the point?

These are the ideas and opinions that 90% of news site talkbacks carry.
About 10% of talkbacks do support peace with Syria.

Personally, I believe the true number is higher and reach about 20% or slightly more, but as I said, these are passionate left wing voters.

October 8th, 2007, 11:24 pm

 

Claeskrantz.com | Det väntande kriget said:

[…] SyriaComment – Syrian politics, history, and religion » Archives » “Ticking Clocks and ‘Accidental’ War,” BY Alastair Crooke The view from those most likely to be affected by an “accidental” war, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, all share the conclusion both that war is imminent and that any one of a number of “ticking clocks” may be “engineered” as a provocation that would by-pass the Pentagon chiefs of staff arguments against expanded conflict and trigger war. All of these actors have been preparing flat-out for the coming conflict. […]

October 8th, 2007, 11:24 pm

 

ausamaa said:

ISRAELIGUY,

LOL

I agree with your remarks wholeheartedly. “That one” was also a big crime. And I am amazed how quicly you sold out (turned on) your American Patrons when you got hot. It would sure be a very intersting debate between American “settlers” and Isareli “settlers” to determine whose actions were blodiest against the natives of the land they occupy now.

As to: “It looks like you’re a settler, Ausamaa”, I am sorry to dissapoint you; I am not even American, I am Syrian and I live in the Gulf (the Arab Gulf, not the one below Texas as clarifications seem necessary in your particular case). But replying to your question, I guess I can be called a settler of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the World: Damascus. And I dont think my forefathers evicted or killed anyone to built Damascus 5000 years ago; they built it from scratch. Real scratch.

See ya…

October 8th, 2007, 11:25 pm

 

ausamaa said:

ANOTHERISRAELIGUY,

Dont worry, I know that you do not care what yor Grandfathers did about sixty years ago. But we do, and we and the world will straighten it out sooner or later.

I also appreciate that you needed and still need the IDF to maintain and preserve your loot. But again, the IDF (Israeli Disfunctional Force) would not be sufficinent to allow you to keep the “loot” forever.

October 8th, 2007, 11:35 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Ausamaa, sorry to disappoint you, but I didn’t sell anybody.
What happened to Native Americans is common knowledge – not some state secret.

Just as history evolved and the American people lives happily in the USA – we, Israelis, live in Israel.

Our country was established after a legal UN vote, so I see myself as a legitimate owner of this land and a proud citizen of this country.

I plan to stick to this land forever and I will not move to anywhere else, like you did.
What happened? Did the good life on the gulf mattered to you more than mother Syria?

Where’s your Syrian patriotism, Ausamaa?

October 8th, 2007, 11:39 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aBJEdCZC2AOg

The young and talented of Lebanon are fleeing. Regrettably, scores of Syrians have done the same. Were the US, EU, Canada and the Gulf embassies to open their doors, there will hardly be any educated and ambitious young men left in these countries. The exception of course is if you were lucky enough to have been born in a thriving and well connected family owned business.

October 8th, 2007, 11:52 pm

 

Alex said:

IsraeliGuy

NO problem. Because I know that those impressions are mostly wrong, I am hopeful that when the next administration allows more honest information to flow everywhere and when they stop portraying the Syrians as evil, then many more Israelis can go back to the days when they used to support peace with Syria.

They same way it was done, it can be undone. I have seen it happen before.

Remember how Mr. Olmert and Mr. Peres both said that they respect Bashar, and Syria, and Syria’s policies and that it is now possible to have peace talks with Syria …??!!

bizarre. But if they and hte Americans, and Saudi owned media and Lebanese (Hariri) owned media all switch to that message, which is what they will fo once they decide to talk to Syria, then few months later you will see the difference.

October 9th, 2007, 12:05 am

 

Enlightened said:

Washington Post article on Harriri visit to Washington

Fixing Beirut First!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/07/AR2007100701032.html

Ehsani; that is the way to salvation-emigration, it is exactly the reason my father emigrated in the early sixties to australia, no future, no hope, emigrate if you can

October 9th, 2007, 12:58 am

 

norman said:

IG , AIG,
I agree with both of you , We are dreaming to think that Israel will give back the Golan Heights , and the Palestinian rights , Israel does not have to , Israel never gave anything without pressure , They were forced out of Lebanon under pressure from Hezbollah and from Gaza under pressure from Ha mas and will leave the Golan only after a long war that will make them understand that they can not fight forever and that war has a high cost that Israel can not pay for a long time , so i call on all Syrians to prepare for war as Israel does only responds to pressure.

October 9th, 2007, 2:19 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Norman bangs his chest is typical jihadist fashion:

Israel never gave anything without pressure

Norman,

Two points for you to take with you as you prepare for your war:

1.) Make sure you don’t lose any more land than you already have.

2.) I predict that if Syria regains the Golan, the “pressure” will continue.

October 9th, 2007, 2:46 am

 

Enlightened said:

Israeli Guy said:

“Our country was established after a legal UN vote”

I cant help but feel the irony in your statement; yes it was established under a legal vote, and your country has ignored every legal vote by the UN since, especially resolution 242, which also was a vote! No one on this site would deny you claim to your land, much in the same way we would not deny the palestinians the right to their righfull land whether they were forced out, or the land that Israel illegally confiscated! Or The Syrian Golani’s right to their land?

October 9th, 2007, 2:48 am

 

Enlightened said:

” Norman keep banging your big hairy chest” it Keeps Akbar excited!

October 9th, 2007, 2:51 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Ausamma,

We have been hearing trash talk from people like you for 60 years. The Israelis will be thrown into the sea, Israel is going away etc.

In 48 Israel was on par with Syria. 60 years later the Israelis are 6-7 times richer than the Syrians, have a high tech economy, enjoy a democracy and have the strongest army in the area. Meanwhile the Syrians are living in fear with a dictatorial regime. As for your economy, the average Syrian would be below the poverty line in Israel.

As for the world, we chose the US, you chose the Russians. Big mistake. The Indians are our friends. The Chinese are our friends. The Russians did not say a word when Israel attacked recently in Syria. You really shouldn’t count on the world to help you out.

Paraphrazing Ben-Gurion: It is not important what the Arabs say, what is important is what the Jews do. As for trash talkers like you, you believe that what Arabs say is important and not what the Jews do. Keep living with your strange philosophy after all it has been prevalent in the Arab word since Nasser’s famous words in 67 prediciting the Jews will be in the sea soon. I bet he is still your hero.

And thank you for threatning to take the “loot” back. This allows us to act preemptively against you and this is why nobody complains when we attack Syria. Trash talk has its consequences also. Just keep talking and we will keep doing.

October 9th, 2007, 2:58 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Norman,

Thanks again for threatning us.

If Israel were afraid of a war with Syria would it have attacked recently deep in Syria? Do your worst. Israel is full of shelters. Shoot your missiles. We will rebuild whatever you hit quickly and move on. Will Syria exist as a functioning state after the war if you shoot missiles at civillian targets? Not likely as it was proven that you have no air defense. But do your own math. Whatever you chose is fine with us.

October 9th, 2007, 3:05 am

 

Enlightened said:

Trowling the internet I found statistics on the Daniel Pipes website relating to casualties from conflicts during the century, Il paste them below, the Arab-Israeli conflict rated very low no 49, however 51,000 deaths too many!

Conflicts since 1950 with over 10,000 Fatalities*
1 40,000,000 Red China, 1949-76 (outright killing, manmade famine, Gulag)
2 10,000,000 Soviet Bloc: late Stalinism, 1950-53; post-Stalinism, to 1987 (mostly Gulag)
3 4,000,000 Ethiopia, 1962-92: Communists, artificial hunger, genocides
4 3,800,000 Zaire (Congo-Kinshasa): 1967-68; 1977-78; 1992-95; 1998-present
5 2,800,000 Korean war, 1950-53
6 1,900,000 Sudan, 1955-72; 1983-2006 (civil wars, genocides)
7 1,870,000 Cambodia: Khmer Rouge 1975-79; civil war 1978-91
8 1,800,000 Vietnam War, 1954-75
9 1,800,000 Afghanistan: Soviet and internecine killings, Taliban 1980-2001
10 1,250,000 West Pakistan massacres in East Pakistan (Bangladesh 1971)
11 1,100,000 Nigeria, 1966-79 (Biafra); 1993-present
12 1,100,000 Mozambique, 1964-70 (30,000) + after retreat of Portugal 1976-92
13 1,000,000 Iran-Iraq-War, 1980-88
14 900,000 Rwanda genocide, 1994
15 875,000 Algeria: against France 1954-62 (675,000); between Islamists and the government 1991-2006 (200,000)
16 850,000 Uganda, 1971-79; 1981-85; 1994-present
17 650,000 Indonesia: Marxists 1965-66 (450,000); East Timor, Papua, Aceh etc, 1969-present (200,000)
18 580,000 Angola: war against Portugal 1961-72 (80,000); after Portugal’s retreat (1972-2002)
19 500,000 Brazil against its Indians, up to 1999
20 430,000 Vietnam, after the war ended in 1975 (own people; boat refugees)
21 400,000 Indochina: against France, 1945-54
22 400,000 Burundi, 1959-present (Tutsi/Hutu)
23 400,000 Somalia, 1991-present
24 400,000 North Korea up to 2006 (own people)
25 300,000 Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, 1980s-1990s
26 300,000 Iraq, 1970-2003 (Saddam against minorities)
27 240,000 Columbia, 1946-58; 1964-present
28 200,000 Yugoslavia, Tito regime, 1944-80
29 200,000 Guatemala, 1960-96
30 190,000 Laos, 1975-90
31 175,000 Serbia against Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, 1991-1999
32 150,000 Romania, 1949-99 (own people)
33 150,000 Liberia, 1989-97
34 140,000 Russia against Chechnya, 1994-present
35 150,000 Lebanon civil war, 1975-90
36 140,000 Kuwait War, 1990-91
37 130,000 Philippines: 1946-54 (10,000); 1972-present (120,000)
38 130,000 Burma/Myanmar, 1948-present
39 100,000 North Yemen, 1962-70
40 100,000 Sierra Leone, 1991-present
41 100,000 Albania, 1945-91 (own people)
42 80,000 Iran, 1978-79 (revolution)
43 75,000 Iraq, 2003-present (domestic)
44 75,000 El Salvador, 1975-92
45 70,000 Eritrea against Ethiopia, 1998-2000
46 68,000 Sri Lanka, 1997-present
47 60,000 Zimbabwe, 1966-79; 1980-present
48 60,000 Nicaragua, 1972-91 (Marxists/natives etc,)
49 51,000 Arab-Israeli conflict 1950-present
50 50,000 North Vietnam, 1954-75 (own people)
51 50,000 Tajikistan, 1992-96 (secularists against Islamists)
52 50,000 Equatorial Guinea, 1969-79
53 50,000 Peru, 1980-2000
54 50,000 Guinea, 1958-84
55 40,000 Chad, 1982-90
56 30,000 Bulgaria, 1948-89 (own people)
57 30,000 Rhodesia, 1972-79
58 30,000 Argentina, 1976-83 (own people)
59 27,000 Hungary, 1948-89 (own people)
60 26,000 Kashmir independence, 1989-present
61 25,000 Jordan government vs. Palestinians, 1970-71 (Black September)
62 22,000 Poland, 1948-89 (own people)
63 20,000 Syria, 1982 (against Islamists in Hama)
64 20,000 Chinese-Vietnamese war, 1979
65 19,000 Morocco: war against France, 1953-56 (3,000) and in Western Sahara, 1975-present (16,000)
66 18,000 Congo Republic, 1997-99
67 10,000 South Yemen, 1986 (civil war)

*All figures rounded. Sources: Brzezinski, Z., Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-first Century, 1993; Courtois, S., Le Livre Noir du Communism, 1997; Heinsohn, G., Lexikon der Völkermorde, 1999, 2nd ed.; Heinsohn, G., Söhne und Weltmacht, 2006, 8th ed.; Rummel. R., Death by Government, 1994; Small, M. and Singer, J.D., Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars 1816-1980, 1982; White, M., “Death Tolls for the Major Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century,” 2003.

October 9th, 2007, 3:12 am

 

norman said:

IG, AIG, AP,
The sad thing is that people like you are going to bring the destruction to Israel because of lack of foresight about the future , I just hope that the Israeli public and the leaders can see what is good for Israel , I doubt that as they are filled with hatred. God help us all .

October 9th, 2007, 3:16 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Norman,

Do you know what is good for Syria? If yes why haven’t you implemented it in the last 60 years? We will take care of our own business. How about taking care of yours? Why don’t you tell Bashar to enact democratic reforms? I promise you, that once Syria is a liberal democracy, there will never be a war.

Why are the Arabs always giving Israel advice instead of taking of their own business?

October 9th, 2007, 3:27 am

 

why-discuss said:

ISRAELIS GUYS

The native indians, inhabiting the now USA were decimated by illness and reduced to almost nothing. They could not defend themselves and are now easily forgotten in front of the achievement that the settlers brought to the USA.
Unfortunately for Israel, the displaced palestinians have not been decimated, in the contrary that have multiplied, they are fighting to regain their land. While the US power have completely obliterated any rights of return to the native indians, Israel does not have that power, despite all it military attempts to eradicate the palestinian will to return.
So you, Israelis, have a big problem for you and your children and it is not by denying it or threatening and building walls that you will solve it. You will have to share that land sooner or later, in one way or the other. It is high time to be realistic and change the settlers cowboy selfish attitude to a more constructive and humane attitude.

October 9th, 2007, 4:42 am

 

Enlightened said:

Several reports around the world media today “Israeli’s contemplating Sharing Jerusalem” hmmmmm dare to believe it?

October 9th, 2007, 5:28 am

 

offended said:

Akbar Palace blabbers:
Make sure you don’t lose any more land than you already have.

Of course, one can never be so sure when it comes to war, but, we would have had the honor of the attempt. After all, we have grown from this land, just like our grand fathers had (my grand father doesn’t happen to be from Lithuania by the way). Of course no one likes war, but a man gotta do what a man gotta do.

You have shelters? Oh ok, didn’t know that; let me report to my military commanders so that they do the needful changes to the plan. Or probably they can install more powerful missiles’ heads.

October 9th, 2007, 5:36 am

 

Alex said:

Syria economy: T-bills for sale
2007-10-08 18:15 (New York)

EIU ViewsWire 08 Oct 2007 (T16:45)

COUNTRY BRIEFING

FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT

The government has finally passed decrees on two important policy innovationsâ??on the exchange rate peg and the
introduction of treasury billsâ??which were first flagged up by Adib Mayaleh, the governor of the Central Bank of
Syria, in late 2006. The measures indicate that Syria’s financial and economic reform process has maintained
some of its momentum, despite the Assad regime’s increasing political isolation. However, there have been
setbacks in the area of fiscal reform, with plans for introducing valued-added tax back by one year to 2009 and
with doubts surfacing over whether a programme to phase out fuel price subsidies will be put into effect.

Following the passage in mid-August of a decree approving the shift of the reference point for the exchange
rate from the US dollar, the central bank in early October included a note on its website to the effect that
the dollar peg has now definitively been abandoned in favour of the SDR, which is weighted 44% to US dollar,
34% to the euro and 11% each to the yen and sterling. In the three months leading up to the formal announcement
of the new peg, the local currency appreciated by about 3% against the dollar, with the rate announced by the
central bank moving from S£50.45:US$1 at the end of June to S£48.80:US$1 on October 8th. There has also been a
modest depreciation against the euro over the same period to S£69.0:�1 in early October from S£68.33:�1 at
end-June.

New instruments

The decree on treasury bills offers the prospect of a significant change in both the government’s management of
public debt and in the operations of Syrian banks. The decree (No. 60) sets out the principles and regulatory
framework for issuing treasury bills, with further details to be provided in the form of executive regulations
to be announced by the prime minister at a later date based on the recommendations of a government securities
management committee.

This committee is to be chaired by the finance minister. Its six other members will include the central bank
governor and the chairman of the Syrian Commission on Financial Markets and Securities (the regulatory agency
for the stockmarket, which is scheduled to start operations in early 2008).

The decree states that the maturity of the treasury securities must be at least one year, and that they may not
exceed 30 years. The proceeds of the issues may be used to finance the general budget deficit, as well as for
projects of national priority and for emergencies. The decree also sets limits of 60% of GDP for domestic and
external debt, respectively, and of 80% for overall public debt. According to the IMF, Syria’s total government
debt was equivalent to 35.9% of GDP at end 2006, with domestic debt of 16.5% of GDP and external debt standing
at 19.4%.

Besides allowing the authorities more flexibility in managing public debt, the introduction of T-bills will
provide much-needed new instruments in which Syria’s newly created private banks will be able to invest. These
banks have had great success in attracting deposits, but have faced difficulty in placing these funds
productively.

October 9th, 2007, 5:52 am

 

MSK said:

Ausama,

You said “I guess I can be called a settler of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the World: Damascus. And I dont think my forefathers evicted or killed anyone to built Damascus 5000 years ago; they built it from scratch. Real scratch.”

Does that mean you’re not Arab? 😉

–MSK*

October 9th, 2007, 6:44 am

 

ausamaa said:

About time Syria took that step. Despite the Only risks that it may give Externals a chance in a way to affect the Monetary and the Exchange rate policies.

It also tells me that there is a Lot of Cash afloat in the hands of the Syrians. I expect the introduction of the T Bills maybe able to help reduce Inflation and bingdown the 30-years old buble in Housing prices, energyizing the money flow cycle and helping in pulling in Syrian investment into the country.

The main positive thing is that it “demonstrates” a sense of Confidence and a willing to move on towards CHANGE and DEVELOPMENT. It tells outsiders that we “can” depend on our people’s money not yours only.

I like it,,, let private and Syrian local Syrian funds in the cycle.

October 9th, 2007, 7:09 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Lebanon’s Muslims, Christians Unite in Quest for Jobs Abroad
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aBJEdCZC2AOg&refer=europe

October 9th, 2007, 7:42 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, theoretically, you may be right.
A new administration can promote talks between Israel and Syria.

However, without public opinion to support a peace deal, it will simply won’t happen.

You seem to ignore that and hope that somehow, a deal will be miraculously reached by bypassing the Israeli people’s opinion.

The odds for that to happen are extremely low.
An American pressure alone won’t do it.

It maybe enough for ‘talks’, which nobody in Israel will reject, but in this era this public opinion approval is mandatory for any deal (including a one with the Palestinians).

As I previously said, peace with Syria is not perceived as a hot merchandise as peace with Egypt and Jordan were, at the time when they were reached.

Conditions on the ground were very different then than the ones which exist now.

Syrians still behave like they’re offering a brand new Mercedes, while they actually offer nothing more than a used Toyota with serious engine problems – at best.

Israelis are asking themselves ‘what’s in it for us?’, ‘why should we go for it?’ and don’t get satisfactory answers.

Until you honestly address the 3 points that I mentioned in my previous reply, it doesn’t look like public opinion will change in the near future – even when a new US administration steps in.

October 9th, 2007, 8:11 am

 

offended said:

Israelis are asking themselves ‘what’s in it for us?’, ‘why should we go for it?’ and don’t get satisfactory answers.

You’ll get the answers soon, Inshallah…

October 9th, 2007, 8:39 am

 

t_desco said:

Funny, just a few days ago I was looking for confirmation of this Al-Hayat article from April and now the Al-Akhbar article quoted above by Ausamaa does indeed confirm it. Nice!

Interesting details:

– a truck bomb with “1 ton of explosives”
– the same group allegedly tried to free the al-Qa’ida cell linked to Khaled Taha and Ahmed Abu Adass
– according to earlier reports, at least one member of that group was a student at BAU, like Taha and Adass, perhaps frequenting Al-Houri mosque
– via Abu Hureira and possibly Nabil Rahim there is a link to Tripoli where at least some of the preparations for the Hariri assassination took place

October 9th, 2007, 9:58 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Enlightened said:

the Arab-Israeli conflict rated very low no 49, however 51,000 deaths too many!

Agreed. Let’s compare:

49 51,000 Arab-Israeli conflict 1950-present

versus

13 1,000,000 Iran-Iraq-War, 1980-88
15 875,000 Algeria: against France 1954-62 (675,000); between Islamists and the government 1991-2006 (200,000)
23 400,000 Somalia, 1991-present
25 300,000 Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, 1980s-1990s
26 300,000 Iraq, 1970-2003 (Saddam against minorities)
35 150,000 Lebanon civil war, 1975-90
36 140,000 Kuwait War, 1990-91
39 100,000 North Yemen, 1962-70
42 80,000 Iran, 1978-79 (revolution)
43 75,000 Iraq, 2003-present (domestic)

That’s about 3.4 million to 51 thousand, yet it is only the 51,000 that upsets Arabs and Muslims. That makes sense.

Offended adds his bravado:

You’ll get the answers soon, Inshallah…

Suggestion: Fix your own house first before you plan to fix someone else’s.

October 9th, 2007, 10:48 am

 

will said:

israeliGuy said:

“Just as history evolved and the American people lives happily in the USA – we, Israelis, live in Israel.”

Using American Indians analogy is moot to say the least, but hell, you know what they say:
-live it while it last.

“Our country was established after a legal UN vote, so I see myself as a legitimate owner of this land and a proud citizen of this country.”

LOL! It is funny when they use “UN vote and resolutions” only when it suits them yet one of israel’s most famous attributes (aside from Sabra, Shatila, Qana and countless other despicable acts) its her utter violation and disregard -and still do as you read- of not only UN resolutions, but also the basic codes of common morality, by that ‘democratic’ civility and breath taking arrogance, israel made a mockery out of it (and also made a mockery of the United States as a “great power”).

However, as a side note, the UN is a big farce (Duh!), its foundation created under the barrel of 16 Inch gun by two “leaders” whose “Anglo-Saxonism” is highly questionable. What was that vote again?

Personally, I’ll give your dear israel 80-100 years; don’t be disappointed, still, it would be a truly immense feat given the fact of Arab feebleness, disarray and lack of focus plus the American quasi-Stockholm syndrome. It would be a sheer luck if israel survived pass the 21st century (really), and that’s an optimistic estimate.

Good luck…Lol!

October 9th, 2007, 11:24 am

 

Antoun said:

MSK,

I second your call for more transparency in regards to the writer’s sources. This story has been covered for over a month now, and this is the first we hear of a large squadron of Israeli jets hovering off the shores of Cyprus.

What are his sources?

As for the ticking Middle Eastern time bomb, the region has been edging further and further towards the brink for some time. I pity those in power who see force as the only means to break the regional impasse. Little do they know that only misery awaits those who choose that path.

Insecurity and fear from all sides is causing a flurry of policy errors, miscalculations and misjudgments.

We had hoped that the Democratic election to power in the coming US Presidential elections may ease tensions in the Middle East, but their candidates seem more belly-up about bombing Iran than their neo-con counterparts.

If the US cannot be relied upon as the responsible broker in this endless conflict, the pressure will be on Israel to ensure every move they make is calculated, precise and not flawed with error … that is if they wish to avert another war.

Neither Syria nor Iran have the capabilities to launch an attack on Israel. Any move in the Middle East that will lead to war will come from either the US or Israel. So Tel Aviv has to seriously ask itself, is regional war really in its best interest?

October 9th, 2007, 11:33 am

 

Thomas said:

Will – What do you mean by two men whose Anglo-Saxonism is questionable?

October 9th, 2007, 11:59 am

 
 

SimoHurtta said:

Neither Syria nor Iran have the capabilities to launch an attack on Israel. Any move in the Middle East that will lead to war will come from either the US or Israel. So Tel Aviv has to seriously ask itself, is regional war really in its best interest?

Maybe the regional war is the only option for Israel not to make painful aerial decisions the world demands with increasing anger and force it to make.

First negotiating with Palestinians and giving an impression that the negotiations are going well, then starting a regional war using the same method Germany used against Poland and Soviet Union against Finland in 1939. And hoping that the world again would think that the weak, small Israel has been attacked by bloodthirsty “terrorist supporters”.

As Israeliguy said some Israelis (majority or minority depends on the area) do not want to give back the occupied areas. A withdrawal back to the 1967 border will create enormous tensions among the Israeli Jewish population. The bearded men will take out the weapons for Eretz Israel…

If Israel is really serious with negotiations why on earth would it do these kind of tricks what today’s Haaretz tells. IDF orders seizure of Arab land near East Jerusalem.

Most probably Israel and USA have planed that first a show summit in Annapolis, then a large regional war which pushes away the peace negotiations. So Israel can continue its land grabbing policy for the next 10 – 15 years and finalize the ethnic cleansing. The history of Ma’aleh Adumim is a perfect example of that process (relates to the IDF decision abowe with E-1).

—-
In the series of quotes by peaceful constructive Israeli leaders (they make Ahmadinejad look like a moderate):

“The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more…” (Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000)

“We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves.” (Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983)

“We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel… Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.” (Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces – Gad Becker, Yediot Ahronot 13 April 1983, New York Times 14 April 1983)

“How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.” (Golda Meir, March 8, 1969)

October 9th, 2007, 1:26 pm

 

bilal said:

(New York, October 8, 2007) – Syria should immediately release writers and activists detained solely for expressing their opinions or reporting information online, Human Rights Watch said today. Syrian authorities have held two men in incommunicado detention since June for expressing online views that are critical of the Syrian government. Authorities have refused to disclose the whereabouts of the detained men to their families. On September 23, the Supreme State Security Court sentenced a third man to two years in prison for posting online comments that displeased the authorities.

“The fact that Syria arrests people solely because they criticize the state speaks volumes about the government’s utter disregard for the most basic human rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Even worse, Syrian intelligence has the nasty habit of not telling families where their loved ones are being detained – in effect, disappearing them for periods of time.”

October 9th, 2007, 1:55 pm

 

ausamaa said:

BILLAL,

I promise you that when Jordan stops sending Journalists to Jail, and when Saudi Arabia even marginally reduces its censorship of journalists and it strong grip over what they can write or not, and when Journalists are not sent to jail for creticiaing Mubark or even comment on his his health (!), and when Tunisia, Qatar and the rest RELAX their hold on Journalists, then Syria will folllow suit.

My friend, if the Moderate Arabs (huh!! places where women can not drive or show their hair)supported by the Father of Free Speach and Democracy who happens to reside in DC (while his heart and mind reside in Judicially Correct Guantanamo) are not giving SYRIA an example of what Freedom of Speach should look like, then how do you expect “dictatorial, ideologically-oriented, and regime-controlled” Syria to think and engage in the principles you promot above?

There is something called Leadership or Teaching by Example. Ask your “admired” pace setters to give Syria a good example to follow.

As to the nasty “Syrin” habit of not telling the famelies detainees of the whereabout of their detained loved ones (which is bad of course), I also beg you to ask democratic, freedom-oriented, and civilized Israel, the US and the Arab Moderates to invite Syria to a seminar where each can demonstrate to Syria how to handle such important issues. Historical and recent examples of such “civilized” practices by those countries may be presented by them to Syria so that Syria can learn from such proven track records.

What do you say? Even a simple numerical comparison of the percentage of poulation under political censorship, surrvailance, arrsest, occupation or detention might be embarassing to Syrian Authoreties? Right? Wrong! My friend. Not that Syria is a heavenly free speach Hyde park ( it has miles to cross of course), but Apples to Apples, Actions to Words, Hypocricy to Practices; Syria will fare much better compared to them. By leaps and pounds. At least it does not make as many claims as they do.

Caio..

October 9th, 2007, 3:49 pm

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

So Syria’s Lexus is a used Toyota?

You remind me of one of my Syrian friends and the way he bargains when he buys a new car : )

Avi Dichter who used to be your top intelligence man believes Syria’s used Toyota is worth the price (the Golan).

He knows the truth.

The current administration’s Syria policy (get rid of Syria as a player in favor of Saudi Arabia and Israel) needed, among other things, to establish the following perception in Israel:

1) Syria will not want to deliver after peace (because Syria is evil and wants to continue doing evil things just for fun)

2) Syria can not deliver … because Syria is stupid and weak. It is controlled by Iran, it can not defend itself …etc.

That perception will change. Because it is forced and fabricated. Syria is not evil and not stupid and not insignificant.

You are flipping reality .. you said “The odds for that to happen are extremely low. An American pressure alone won’t do it.”

American pressure is what you have NOW … pressure to not talk to Syria … you forgot?

Your three points will be addressed after that American pressure (PR as well as direct) is gone.

October 9th, 2007, 3:56 pm

 

norman said:

Olmert rules out Syria talks at Annapolis conference, Israeli official says

The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants the U.S.-sponsored November peace conference to focus on Israeli-Palestinian relations and not Israel’s conflict with Syria, an Israeli government official said Tuesday, probably ruling out Syrian participation.

Olmert made the comments in a meeting Monday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Jerusalem. Babacan pressed the prime minister to open talks with Syria as well, but Olmert responded by saying he wished to give his full attention to the Palestinian front and thought it unwise to include other topics as well, according to a senior Israeli government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

The conference is expected to be held in Annapolis, Maryland, in mid-to late-November to provide the foundation for peace talks to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The U.S. has invited Syria, but Syrian President Bashar Assad has made it clear his country would not attend if the conference did not address the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war.

Olmert said he would be pleased if the Syrians attended the meeting to support an Israeli-Palestinian peace effort, but peace talks between Israel and Syria were still premature.

Tensions have been particularly high between Israel and Syria since Israel attacked a military target in Syria on Sept. 6. Israel and the United States have repeatedly criticized Syria for its support for Hezbollah and Palestinian militant groups and its close ties to Iran.

Foreign media reports, quoting unidentified U.S. officials, have speculated that Israeli planes attacked a weapons shipment destined for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, or hit a nuclear facility built with North Korean technology.

North Korea, which provides missile technology to Syria, has denied any nuclear link. Syria also has denied receiving North Korean nuclear help.

——————————————————————————–
Notes:

——————————————————————————–

October 9th, 2007, 4:22 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, I’m afraid you’re avoiding the real issues and putting on the table artificial ones.
That’s my belief.

Just to set the record straight – I believe that:

* If we’ll sign a peace treaty, Syria will respect it.

* I don’t think that Syria (or the Syrian people) is evil and wants to continue doing evil things just for fun.

I do believe they have adopted the wrong policies, but that’s what they think about us, so it’s fair.

* I don’t think that Syria can not deliver.
As I said, I think that Syria will respect a treaty.

* Regarding ‘Syria is stupid’ – I do feel that they’re playing with fire and do a lot of gambling.

I wouldn’t call it smart policy making and it might hurt them tremendously when we reach the money time, in the near future.

* Regarding ‘Syria is weak and controlled by Iran’ – I believe it’s true.

So I believe that some of your points are not true, while a some are – but these are not the main issues.

The real points that Israel has on its mind are, as I said:
* Not to reward Syria with any prizes for their support to Hizbollah and Palestinian organizations (and their partnership with Iran).

* Syria doesn’t really want peace – just the Golan, and it’s willing to sign a minimal piece of paper to obtain it.

* The bottom line: There will be no much difference between the current situation and a one after a peace agreement will be signed – maybe an embassy in Tel Aviv and a one in Damascus, but that’s about it.

Does it worth it? I can’t see how.

These are some of the real points and once Syria will be able to address them when it communicates with the Israeli government and the local public opinion here, such a move may have a better chance.

Even if a new American administration will really do its best to push for a deal, it still won’t be enough.

October 9th, 2007, 5:02 pm

 

will said:

Dear Thomas,

Am I that confusing? That would be Laurel and Hardy..Sorry.

October 9th, 2007, 5:18 pm

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

If the remaining poiints are

1) Syria is weak, controlled by Iran:

No problem at all. Syria balances its external alliances. When Syria felt that the Saudis are committed partners with this American administration there was no other choice … replace Saudi Arabia with Iran and Turkey … you keep forgetting that Turkey is Syria’s closest ally. Iran might save Syria is case we have a serious war, but until then, it is Turkey who saved Syria … Turkey refused to support the American war on Iraq, Turkish prime minister was the only leader who refused to listen to American orders to not visit Damascus in 2004 2005….and trade between the two countries quadrupled the past few years.

After there is no American/Saudi/Lebanese pressure on Damascus, you will see a gradual shift in Syria’s relations with Iran … back to a more balanced set of alliances… Syria will do what Turkey is doing today .. being friends with very different countries … like Israel, the United States, and Iran… just like Turkey is today a friend of Syria and Israel at the same time… always playing a very positive role.

And a reminder … last summer the Iranians and Saudis and the French were meeting to find solutions to Lebanon’s problems. The Saudis claim that they were all close to a solution but Syria did not allow it. If Syria is weak and is under Iran’s influence then how come it was able to go against Iranian wishes in Lebanon?

And Syria’s support for Iran’s enemies in Iraq? .. the sunnies.

As for “Syria is playing dangerous (stupid) games” … we’ll see. if by the end of 2008 this American administration leaves the scene and Syria is still in control, then this argument will be null.

2) Nothing will change after peace: totally wrong there. The Arab world will open up to Israel after Syria gives the go ahead. Just like the Saudi foreign minister told his American friends that the Middle East peace conference will not succeed if Syria is not there.

Depending how reasonable you are with the Palestinians, you can have much more meaningful and profitable relations with the Arab world … Dubai and Qatar will give Israeli firms contracts worth billions every year… tourism …

I am starting to sound like John Lennon. I’ll go back to work.

See you tomorrow.

October 9th, 2007, 5:37 pm

 

why-discuss said:

The main difference between Zionist and Arab leaders is that the former always knew how to play the cards they had been dealt, the latter did not and do not.

Read Alan Hart Interview on war.
He is the writer of a new book ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS

October 9th, 2007, 5:43 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

It is much simpler to spoil and destroy than to build and develop.

Syria is weak, but still very good at spoiling and destroying. You don’t need to be strong to murder Hariri or blow up the mosque in Samarra. But it sure can spoil. This is exactly how Syria works. It builds and creates nothing but is ready to halt any progress in order to threaten its neighbors.

Bashar can get along with this strategy for a little while longer. But he isn’t fooling anybody and I’m sorry to say that your apolegetics are not helping the Syrian cause.

I understand and appreciate your aim of making sure that what happened to Iraq does not happen to Syria and if we agree on anything it is that if Bashar goes, there is a good chance that Syria will fall apart (barring a palace coup, the way Hafez seized power).

But your problem is that you are trying to convince Israelis instead of talking sense to Bashar. Again, looking outside to solve your problems instead of looking inside. The problem is Bashar, not Israel. It seems you accept the regime in Syria as a constant and try changing everything else. That portrays you as part of the regime instead of someone looking for a true solution.

You should accept the following as true: As long as Mashaal is in Damascus, there will be no willingness in the Israeli public to make any concessions to Syria. Of course, you can choose to ignore this but you don’t understand the effect of the second intifada on the Jewish psyche. Mashaal was responsible for the majority of suicide bombings. He is a guest of Bashar. Therefore, I as well as a large majority of Israelis are not inclined to discuss anything with Syria.

Before peace becomes even a remote possibility Mashaal should leave Damascus. How about lobbying the regime for that?

October 9th, 2007, 7:52 pm

 

Nour said:

Anotherisraeliguy,

The only people causing destruction in the middle east are the US and Israel. Syria did not kill Hariri, as you claim, and there have been no evidence linking them to Hariri’s assassination. Syria did not blow up the Sammarra Mosque, which is more likely to be the work of the MOSSAD. Israel and the US have been known to wreak havoc on that area while other people have to clean up their mess.

The US is the one who invaded Iraq and utterly destroyed it, creating all out chaos throughout the country. As a result, Syria had to pay a heavy price and has had to clean up their mess by taking in almost 2 million refugees. Israel encouraged the Lebanese civil war and participated in killing and destroying Lebanon, while Syria had to carry the burden of stopping that war.

This whole nonsense of Syria has nothing to offer but chaos and destruction is another part of the propaganda against our people which makes us look like nothing but evil warmonging terrorists, and the people who came and stole our people’s land, displaced them, massacred thousands, and laid waste to large portions of our country are the peaceloving responsible ones. Please sell that garbage to others, as it doesn’t work with us. We’ve experience Israeli destruction first-hand.

October 9th, 2007, 8:22 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

AnotherIsraeliGuy your explanations are not very convincing. Didn’t Israel make peace with Egypt, run by a dictator, who started a war against Israel in 1973 (though as a retaliation for two wars started by Israel)? Didn’t Israel make peace with Jordan run by a dictator (king)? So the democracy excuse is not very valid.

What comes to supporting Palestinians, with money (= weapons) etc, every Arab and Muslim country does it. Especially the Sunni countries. So the support to Palestinians excuse is not very valid.

My theory is that Israel doesn’t want to make peace it needs enemies (relative strong) besides the Palestinians. Nobody would take Israel seriously if the only enemy would be the people under Israeli control. The state of constant “cold war” gives Israel many benefits. A steady stream of money and free weapons from USA, a much bigger political influence than the country’s size would allow, possibility to make r&d in defence industry with living targets and naturally the extra land and important water. Also the war like situation allow Jews in USA to hold a firm grip of the political system on a level they could not do without “Israel’s enemies”.

Without hostile relations Israel would be Middle East’s Denmark (and AIPAC would be a minor lobby). A well-off country (if it manages to defuse its internal time bombs, growing religious extremism among the majority and the relations between population groups), but hardly ever in headlines (without cartoons naturally).

October 9th, 2007, 8:56 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG

I spend my time discussing everything with Israelis in order to understand the Israeli Psyche. After reading a thousand pages of counter arguments from many intelligent Israelis, I think I can allow myself to say that I do understand “the Jewish psyche” reasonably well.

The Jewish psyche is a complex challenge for Syria. Israel is not like Utah or like Texas. Israel has Iraqi and Moroccan Jews … It has European Jews… is has Russian Jews … secular and highly religious Jews …

What is the Israeli psyche??

There are Israelis who are so consumed by needing to take revenge for anything that the Arabs did to them in the past. They conveniently block from their minds the atrocities they committed themselves.

I have no respect for anyone (Arab or Jew) who wants to take revenge, but I understand.

There are Israelis who are practical and caring people who want to live in peace with their neighbors. I love those Israelis, but you probably think they are naive leftists and if you get the chance you would try to wake them up to the dangers of those evil Arabs surrounding you.

There are Israelis who are highly insecure. Any small perception of a threat will make them want to rearrange their whole environment (neighborhood) to their liking just to feel more secure… remember those who encouraged George Bush to go for Iraq? … hundreds of thousands killed so that you will feel a bit more secure.

There are Israelis who are quite the opposite … I have read so many comments on Haaretz by Israelis who are lusting to have the next war with Syria to nuke Damascus … they don’t really need a real excuse … they will support destroying Damascus just for the fun of it.

So which Israeli psyche? … I will have to go with the basics .. you are human beings. No?

Abraham Lincoln said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

YOU have power … How would you describe the Israeli psyche given that Israel is very powerful?

Please concentrate on power and not on good and bad … Bashar is not bad when compared to Israel … he is a saint … you want to rely on fiction straight out of Syria’s adversaries’ PR machines to prove to me and to yourself that Bashar is “bad” … Your country killed Over a thousand Lebanese civilians .. it is a fact … Bashar is accused (not a fact) of killing a few Lebanese politicians.

The real story is: you are powerful and you want to force everyone to do as YOU wish.

I am not calling you bad people … Arabs might have done the same if they had your army.

October 9th, 2007, 9:26 pm

 

Observer said:

It was a fascinating exchange above. It is clear that the pro Israel participants have a clear superiority complex that seems to take root in the “chosen people” mind set. This the same mind set that led to the settlment of the lands by the “chosen” people in the first place. One needs to remember that Yahweh at that time was not a unique God but the exclusive God of the “chosen people” as he forbid them from worshiping any other deity. He was a universal but not a unique deity and therefore he could “promise” his “chosen people” a land that belongs to another that would and could not worship him and him alone. This same mentality is the one that maximizes the suffering of the “chosen people” while minimizing that of others: 4 million Poles and at least 7 million Russians as well as millions of Communists Gypsies Homosexuals and slave laborers from Ukraine and other parts of the old Soviet Union could not possibly be equated with the suffering of the “chosen people”; so it comes as no surprise to me to read so much ego centric comment today. It is truly breath taking and thank God that I am not “chosen”. Can you imagine living with such a God and with such superiority complex?

October 9th, 2007, 9:34 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

How is Israel powerful if every second Arab predicts that in 20 years we won’t be around?:)

The little power Israel has comes from the fact that it is a vibrant democracy. All the rest is a consequence of that. If Israel were not a democracy, 80% of the Jews would leave if they could.

That is the fundamental difference between us. I support ONLY a democratic Israel, not Israel in any other form. I would rather die than live in a non-democratic state under a dictator. You could say I am from Patrick Henry’s school: Give me liberty or give me death.

You and many Arabs prefer Bashar and Saddam to the US even though both are dictators. I don’t understand how Mubarak, Bashar and Saddam among others stay in power so long. I don’t understand why Nasser killed democracy in the Arab world and he is a hero to so many. And don’t tell me US support. Both the dictators that the US supported and those it did not stayed in power.

I am really fascinated by Arabs living in the West (and especially the US) that continually bash it. Why would you want to live in a country that for decades, under both democrat and republican administration, has been pursuing a foreign policy that you view as evil? And if you think that the way of life in the US and the West is generally good, why don’t you want to implement it in Arab countries?

To me and most Israelis Bashar, Mubarak and their ilk are evil simply because they are dictators that oppose democracy. We may hold our noses and for pragmatic reasons deal with some of them, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t think they are evil.

I personally would prefer to see democratic elections in Syria even though the Muslim Brotherhood would win. If they become dictators, I would then view them as evil too.

Bashar is personally responsible for funding and allowing suicide bombers to move from Syria to Iraq and kill tens of thousands of Iraqis. Hafez ordered Hama in cold blood. For me his utter meaness and evil is illustrated by the fact that he let his mentors and friends, Atassi and Jadid, rot and die in jail. Bashar is from the same school.

Israel would have preferred to fight Hizballah without harming any civillian. It was not able to and it should try harder next time. Israel had no intention whatsoever of killing civillians. Bashar and Hafez have throughout their reign acted like mafia bosses and had no problems killing people intentionally to further their aim. Again, if they didn’t have so much to hide, they wouldn’t suppress free speech and the press so much.

You are trying to sell us Bashar as the benovelent person whose deeds are better than those of Israel. The reason this doesn’t wash it that people can visit Israel and Syria, read history and make up their own minds about who is evil and who is not.

October 9th, 2007, 10:30 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

SimoHurtta,

There is a very simple way to test your theory. Let Syria and Lebanon declare that Israel is not an enemy any more and that they will never use force against it.

I will wait patiently until this happens.

October 9th, 2007, 10:51 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

First, I want to remind you of where I stand: most human beings would abuse power if they had it. For now you are the one who has it and you ar the one who is abusing it more.

And yes, in 20 years you will not have it .. the pendulum will swing the other way .. as it always does.

Next.

“Democracy” is great .. if it works. Lebanese democracy is not working too well.

But the ultra-simple one dimensional scale that starts with the word “bad” on the left and ends with the word “good” on the right can not be simplified even more in a way that places the different countries and leaders along it solely based on how democratic they are.

It is quite convenient for you to simplify it that way simply because Israel is democratic (with serious restrictions religious and ethnic restrictions of course).

To me, Syria is a “good” country… an amazing country. Because regardless of who governed it, Syria opened its arms to refugees from neighboring countries, no matter what religion, or ethnic background they had. Syria accepted two million Iraqis …. can you beat that? … even the United States, a county that I love, accepted 7000!

You want more complications that make your simplification quite limited? … take the case of Middle Eastern billionaire #1 who could not buy the democratic elections in his country (despite his religious superiority to the next candidate) … and compare him to Mideast billionaire #2 who had no clue what was going on in the country he is leading today… he was able to buy those elections.

Ahmadinejad won democratic elections in which he defeated the billionaire Ayatollah! … Ahmadinejad will lose the next elections (probably) and accept the decision of the people…. so do you find him a good guy?

October 9th, 2007, 11:02 pm

 

ausamaa said:

AnotherIsraeiliguy spreads out his usual wisdom:

“Before peace becomes even a remote possibility Mashaal should leave Damascus. How about lobbying the regime for that?”

I think Syria’s plane is more oriented towards having Massshal go back to his liberated homeland accompanied by the 500,000 palestinian refugeesliving now in Syria who were evicted from their Palestinan land by your Grandfathers. Mishaal is the symptom, not the problem. THe Problem is the Arab Stolen Lands Palestinan, Syrian and Lebanese. Syria couldnt make such a “problem” dissappear even if it wanted to.

And if you do you really believe Syria is “dying” to have peace at any cost, I hate to dissapoint you. Syria isnt. We can wait. Out wait actually.And since you keep repeating that Syria is “weak”, can you tell me what is holding the Israeili Disfunctional Force (IDF) from taking care of Syria once and for all so we can be done with that.

Perhaps you do not realise that Syrians and Arab people have an objective worth waiting and sacrificing for, but Israel’s situation is different. They know they are wrong, they know the crime they committed against the peoples of the area, they know that payment day will come sooner or later, that is why they stay awak at night worrying about the bleak choices they have to make and suspecting the motives of each cloud that crosses the sky. Like a theif with a stolen bundle of cash living next to the rightfull owner of the money and crossing bath with him every morning and evening with both knowing the truth.

Arabs offered Israel many chance to reach a compromise, Israeli insecurity and greed turned down all possibilities of peaceful coexistance and made them evaporate each time peace came close. Even Rabin who knew the crime and the price needed to make up for it, your crowd assasinated him.

However, its still Israel’s choice, but the clock is ticking. Some one above gave Israel a 100 years before it invites selfdestruction. I personally think 20-30- years are more like it if it continues along its same path. WE Arabs, all 300 millions of us do not seem able to forget and to give up, you guys in Israel? I do not think that you think that the stolen goods are worth the trouble once the price gets steeper. and it is going up by the day.

So really, go for it while the going is still possible. Do “something” while people here still think that the IDF is capable of protecting its still undefined boundary. If you wait longer, you really run the risk of reaching that self-destruct/no return point before you know it. And are always on the Casino’s side. Your markers are piling up, and the debtors are knocking harder on the door, and your lender-frinds are not finiding you very credit worthy, usefull or even effective.

Give it some thought really. We Arabs had to give up Spain after 700 years, the Crusaders came here, stayed, paid their bills and left, so did many others before and after them. Even Great Britin had to give up the crown jewels one by one, and South Africa is still fresh in everyones memory. What makes feel or think that Israel is any different? More sly and brutal? Maybe. Otherwise, its just like the few cases mentioned above.

October 9th, 2007, 11:04 pm

 

ANOTHER A. said:

With regard to AIG:

or blow up the mosque in Samarra

If there’s one thing that’s certain in the Middle East these days, it is that Syria was not responsible for the bombing of the Askari shrine in Samarra. It was a professional demolition with holes carefully drilled in all four pillars. The executants had to pass the wall around the town, the US checkpoints on the only entries, the hostility of the Samarrans (who like their shrine, even if they are Sunnis), and yet were able to pass the whole night peacefully preparing the demolition. So guess who would be able to do all that? Certainly not al-Qa’ida (if that’s what AIG meant, as a minion of Syria). If al-Qa’ida were able to do all that, Israel had better be afraid, as the US will be surrendering to Usama bin Laden tomorrow.

October 9th, 2007, 11:08 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Observer said:

It is clear that the pro Israel participants have a clear superiority complex that seems to take root in the “chosen people” mind set.

Observer,

If it is not too much trouble, could you cut & paste the statements by the pro Israel participants here that led you to the conclusion that they have a “superiority complex”?

Thanks.

Nour said:

The only people causing destruction in the middle east are the US and Israel.

Conisdering the millions of deaths outlined above, that statement is patently false.

Alex said:

I spend my time discussing everything with Israelis in order to understand the Israeli Psyche. After reading a thousand pages of counter arguments from many intelligent Israelis, I think I can allow myself to say that I do understand “the Jewish psyche” reasonably well.

Once again Alex introduces the psychological aspects of the Arab-Israel conflict.

Alex,

What is your take on the “Arab Psyche”? Why do you think Arabs concentrate so heavily on Israeli actions and misdeeds and then flatly ignore the misdeeds of their own people and fellow Muslims?

Perhaps there is a psychological term for this.

October 9th, 2007, 11:10 pm

 

ausamaa said:

It is Phopias and paranoia and greed the Israeilies have, not a superiority complex. But you are right in a way, Israelies may think that they have a superiority complex. Self illusion is a common symptom of a society in deep depression. Suicidal tendencies are also associated with the above.

Israeli Superiority complex!!

LOL

October 9th, 2007, 11:23 pm

 

Jamal said:

Alex and Observer, so true, so true on that Israeli psyche thing.
And nothing rational can ever be said in defense of the ugly supremacist behaviour and nasty primitive psyche of the Jewish settlers and their US supporters.

Israel is looking more and more like an experiment that failed because of character reasons.

Anotherisraeliguy, it’s not just Arabs who say Israel won’t always be around.

From the prestigious Jewish journal, Commentary, June 2007:

IF ISRAEL CEASED TO EXIST

Hillel Halkin

“Can Israel, as the prime minister of Iran has bluntly put it, be wiped from the map? Of course it can be. The Iranian nuclear-weapons program has only added to the ways in which this can happen. Any small country whose larger neighbors, including those formally at peace with it, would be delighted, with the concurrence of a significant part of the human race, to see it vanish must reckon on its possible mortality. It has never been anything but foolish for Israelis, American Jews, or anyone else to deny this.
If Iran has made a difference, it is that an intermittent anxiety has now become a chronic one. In the past, acute concern over Israel’s survival has arisen in times of war—1948, 1967, 1973—and abated once the military threat was over. But the Iranian threat is indeterminate. It has developed slowly and may be slow to go away, if ever it does.”

Halkin then goes on to talk about Iranian nukes, nuclear terrorists, the Arab armies somehow getting it together and above all, the inexorable march of the demographic realities with the higher Arab birthrate (and what he politely infers about the drastic drop in the quality of Jewish immigrants now they are mainly coming from places other than western Europe and the US).

His findings are not looking good for Israel, but his biggest wail is about the failure of Israel’s American Jewish supporters to do and be what they say they are by actually going to live in Israel.

He says:

“Today, if Israel has any effect on marginal Jews in America, it is more likely a negative one. Universalist in outlook, liberal in politics, such Jews ask themselves: if this is who the Jewish people turn out to be when left to their own devices, why be part of them? And why cause myself, by living as a Jew, to be associated by other Americans with a country that—at least in the circles I move in—is not esteemed, even if it has not yet become, as it now is in Europe, one of the most certifiably disliked places on earth?
Israel, contrary to conventional wisdom in the organized American Jewish community, may today be more of a spur to assimilation than a bulwark against it”

And also:

“It is possible to think of Israel as the psychiatrist’s couch on which the Jewish people has lain down after long centuries of Diaspora life. Israel forces Jews to surrender fantasies and illusions about themselves that have long been part of their character. It has, literally and figuratively, brought the Jewish people down to earth. As is always the case with punctured ego ideals, this is painful. Still, it is liberating to know who you are, however belatedly, even if it is not who you thought you were.
Except that, at precisely this point, the world has chosen to think otherwise. At the very historical moment when Israel has obliged Jews to come to terms with their ordinary humanity, Israel has more and more impressed ordinary humanity in the opposite manner. Not only has it failed to gain acceptance by a good part of the world as an ordinary country, it has aroused reactions and emotions that ordinary countries do not arouse. The world declines to see it in ordinary terms.”

And another interesting snippet:

“In the face of such charges, many Jews feel a mental helplessness greater than in the past because their sense of themselves is more diminished than in the past. Once, when they believed more in their own exceptionalism, it was possible for them to understand anti-Semitism as the hateful distortion of that belief, its sinister mirror image in which all the good in them was reversed. Did the anti-Semites accuse them of being an infernally arrogant people who refused to mix with the rest of the human race? Yes, they did refuse, but their mission was not infernal but divine. Were they blamed for thinking they were better than others? Of course they thought that—because they were. Was their invisible hand at the center of everything? No, but everything indeed revolved around them, for they were the indispensable ingredient, the magical leaven, that would uplift the entire human race.
Today Jews are left staring at the distorted mirror image alone. The figure that stood before the mirror is gone.”

One has to admire Halkin for the frankness of his soul searching and courage, as of course he was slammed and damned as a person by the usual Jewish Dershowitz-type chorus.

October 9th, 2007, 11:30 pm

 

ausamaa said:

“بحثاً عن الحقيقة” اعترافات شبكة سلفية: تفاصيل جريمة اغتيال الحريري
فداء عيتاني

From the Lebanese Al Akhbar newspaper:

http://www.al-akhbar.com/ar/node/49823

رحلة فيصل أكبر من السعودية إلى سوريا فبيروت
في كانون الثاني من عام 2006 اعتقل أغلب عناصر ما سيعرف لاحقاً باسم «شبكة الـ13». لن ينكر المعتقلون ارتباطهم بتنظيم «القاعدة» في العراق، وسيخضعون للتحقيق، حيث سيتعاونون أحياناً، وسيضللون التحقيق في أحيان أخرى، وسيجري التحقيق معهم مطولاً قبل أن يعترفوا بتفاصيل عملية اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري، ولكنهم سيحالون أمام القضاء بناءً على قرار اتهامي بصفتهم تنظيماً إرهابياً. وتنشر «الأخبار» في ما يلي الجزء الأول من اعترافات المجموعة أمام محققي شعبة المعلومات في قوى الأمن الداخلي، التي استمع إلى بعضها المقدم وسام الحسن، قبل أن يمهرها بتوقيعه وخاتمه، ويحولها إلى مفوض الحكومة لدى المحكمة العسكرية

October 9th, 2007, 11:39 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:


SimoHurtta,
There is a very simple way to test your theory. Let Syria and Lebanon declare that Israel is not an enemy any more and that they will never use force against it.
I will wait patiently until this happens.

Shouldn’t Israel as “democratic” state take the first step an show example? Certainly the hundreds of own nukes + those superpower guaranties would make such a bold move possible. Also making a deal with Palestinians based on 67 borders as “democratic” nation would help. But then would you get from USA the yearly 500 dollars per every Israeli?

Do you really want peace or is belonging to the Herrenvolk and kicking the Untermenschen nicer? Well some Nazis liked their lifestyle and believed in their ideology.

As Rabbi Dov Lior, Chairman of the Jewish Rabbinical Council said:
“…a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail”

What if the Pope or an other high church authority would say nowadays the same in another order? He would be instantly labelled as an Nazi with good grounds. But not in your country where racism is the rule on all levels. What an “democracy” you have there.

The little power Israel has comes from the fact that it is a vibrant democracy. All the rest is a consequence of that. If Israel were not a democracy, 80% of the Jews would leave if they could

Are you really serious with your democracy babbling? Come-on, if lets say Great Britain would have an equal “system” as Israel, it would certainly not be seen as a true democracy. A medieval country ruled by a religious majority. A slightly better version of Taleban Afghanistan.

October 9th, 2007, 11:57 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

It is Phopias and paranoia and greed the Israeilies have…

Ausamma –

It was not Israeli “Phopias” (phobias?) and greed that persuaded the Zionists to accept the 1947 UN partition plan. (The one the Arabs rejected.)

It was not Israeli phobias and greed that caused the Arab states to threaten Israel before the 1967 Six Day War.

It was not Israeli phobias and greed that caused Abba Eban to declare that Israel was ready to discuss a return of captured land for peace in front of the UN.

It was not Israeli phobias and greed that caused the Arab to respond with their “3 Nos”.

It was not Israeli phobias and greed that started the Yom Kippur War.

It was not Israeli phobias and greed that caused Israeli to return the Sinai to Eygpt and parts of the Arava to Jordan for 2 peace treaties.

Lastly, it was not Israeli phobias and greed that caused the Israelis and Palestinians to lay the groundwork for the Oslo peace process and propose the dividing of Jerusalem, the return of 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza, despite the increase in Palestinian terrorism.

October 10th, 2007, 12:29 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

If you think in 20 years the Arabs will have the upper hand then I suggest you wait 20 years. Looking at the 60 year trend I think you are mistaken. The future is difficult to forecast so all we have to go on is our best guess and here the way we see the future is very different. Unless the Arabs adopt liberal democracy, they are doomed. But if they do, there will be peace. It is a win win situation for Israel.

In the fifties Israel accepted 700,000 refugees from Arab lands. As there were about that number of Israelis then, it was quite a feat.

Israel is democratic full stop. Its Arab citizens have more rights and freedom than ANY Arab living in any Arab country. And on average the Israeli Arabs are 5 times richer than the average Arab. If the Arab countries would treat their Arab citizens half as well as Israel does, most of the problems of the middle east would be solved.

And you get things the other way around. Because Israelis demand democracy, Israel is democratic. It is not because Israel is democratic that we support democracy. It is not easy to talk because we are democratic. Democracy means having an Arab MP stand in the Knesset and curse Israel and its politicians and to accept that he has the right to do it. Let’s see someone do that in Syria.

Iran is democratic? Are you serious? The supreme leader decides everything and decides who can run or not. For the example in the last elections over 1000 reformists were disqualified. Iran is censoring the internet and banning satteleite dishes.

Bashar and Hafez are dictators that stopped the advancement of the Syrian people. When people are saying Syria is evil nobody means that all Syrians are evil. We are talking about the Syrian regime. When Syria is a democracy then peace will be between the Syrian people and the Israeli people. Until then it is an agreement not with the Syrians but with Bashar and his evil regime. No thank you, we will wait until Syria is a democracy and then I (and most Israelis) will support giving the Golan to Syria.

October 10th, 2007, 1:30 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

SimoHurtta,

Why argue? Come to Israel, talk to the Arabs that are Israeli citizens and see for yourself what rights they have.

I am not talking about the Arabs in the occupied territories that are not Israeli citizens. Hopefully, they will get their country soon.

And if you don’t believe me checkout Israel in freedomhouse.org or in the UN development reports.

And please stop quoting marginal figures in Israel trying to make a point. There are loonies in Israel like in any other place. Do you think quoting Osama Bin Laden or Zarquai and saying “see, this is how all muslims think” makes sense? What you are doing is racist and I will not do the same.

October 10th, 2007, 1:41 am

 

EHSANI2 said:

AnotherIsraeliGuy

You said:

“we will wait until Syria is a democracy and then I (and most Israelis) will support giving the Golan to Syria.”

Were the Moslem Brothers or another group with strong or fanatical religious tendencies win power in a new and democratic Syria, would Israelis be happy to give the Golan back to this new leadership?

October 10th, 2007, 2:05 am

 

Friend in America said:

I have monitored this site for 2 years, maybe longer, and this is the most interesting thread that I can recall. I was impressed with the amount of concensus, which is stronger than the recent position taking comments. I think the participants here could fashion a peace settlement as good, if not better than, the position taking diplomats who will sit down in November can do, or fail to do.
Josh made this happen by keeping this site up.

October 10th, 2007, 2:23 am

 

Alex said:

AIG, Akbar

I’m afraid we need to quote some basic pop-psychology from wikipedia:

Defense mechanisms are unconscious resources used by the ego to reduce conflict between the id and superego and thereby anxiety. For that reason they are more accurately referred to as ego defence mechanisms. They can thus be categorized as occurring due to the following scenarios:

When the id impulses are in conflict with each other;
When the id impulses conflict with superego values and beliefs;
When an external threat is posed to the ego.

The reason I higlighted the second scenario in bold is because this is the one that applies to your arguments with me … that is all starts and ends with Democracy.

Your Superego tells you that you are a good person and you do not steal and you do not kill … you are good. Your coutry is a great country, your people are the greatest people.

Yet … facts and numbers show you that you are supporing the theft of other people’s lands (like the golan which was stolen from Syria as Moshe dayan admitted, simply because your farmers desired those lands) … you are also supporting your country even though your country killed over 1000 Lebanese last year, and continues to kill Palestinian children and women …etc.

So you have a conflict between your superego and between your id … you id is a big part of the real you … your hidden subconscious …. a selfish, primitive, childish, pleasure-oriented part of the personality with no ability to delay gratification.

That’s how Israel often behaves, and that’s what many Israelis support… yet they think they are supporting those actions purely for good reasons … like “I am defending my people” … or “I want to help the Arabs have democracy” …

You need to be honest with yourself and realize something: Israelis who are not supporters of peace with Syria are govened by their primitive psyche … the id .. the selfish, primitive, childish, pleasure-oriented part of the personality with no ability to delay gratification.

PRIMITIVE, before you complain, is the paranoid part what makes you go out and strike Iran because there is a tiny chance that Iran will commit suicide as a nation and attack Israel (which has 200 nuclear bombs) thuse starting the bloddiest middle East war … simply because you are scared and you see savage Arabs and Muslims that you need to kill before they kill you.

SELFISH is why you killed 1400 Lebanese people because two of your soldiers were kidmnapped.

CHILDISH because you did not learn what it means to pay for your mistakes and to learn that it is not worth it if you make those mistakes again … with your mommy the United states protecting you from punishment at the UN or anywhere else, you have learned to break the law all the time … How many UN resolutions did Israel fail to respect? … you keep taking toys frrom other people and you spit in their faces and … and then you satisfy your superego by believing that you are still “good”! .. why? .. becaue you are “a democracy”

No.

Sorry.

Here, from Wikipedia again, are your defense mechanisms:

Denial. Unconsciously refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality (feelings, events, or both), replacing it with a less threatening but inaccurate one.

Idealization. Form of denial in which the object of attention is presented as “all good” masking true negative feelings towards the other.

Intellectualization (isolation). Concentrating on the intellectual components of the situations as to distance oneself from the anxiety provoking emotions associated with these situations;

Sorry, akbar .. but I do not know how else to deal with your denial.

By the way, I am not saying the Arabs are angels … I am not in denial like you. I am only trying to get this good/bad silliness out of the way … AIG, please do not use the “we will give you the Golan when you are a democracy” argument again … Hamas and Ahmadinejad were elected democratically and you hate both of them. The only ones you like are the King Husseins of the arab world … the ones who will go for peace for peace.

October 10th, 2007, 2:31 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

EHSANI2,

If the moselm brotherhood is elected, and Syria is a liberal democracy, I will wait till the next elections, and if they actually occur and are free, I would support giving the Golan back.

Let’s makes sure we understand what a liberal democracy is. I mean something like in the US, Canada, Israel or Western Europe. There is the simple test: If I or anyone can stand in the middle of Damascus and shout that the Muslim Brotherhood are a bunch of pigs and are corrupt and NOTHING would be done to me, it is a liberal democracy. If there is free press, it is a liberal democracy. If the judiciary is really free it is a liberal democracy and of course if minority rights are protected.

You get the picture. If that happens in Syria, I will DEMAND that an Israeli government make peace with Syria and return the Golan.

October 10th, 2007, 2:37 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Really, what a bunch of psychobabble.
You, who support a regime that suppresses free speech and debate are accusing us of being in denial and ignoring the evidence. Do you see the irony in that?

And why lose all your credibility by inventing facts about the six day war? Do you want me to post all the talk before the war in Syria about how the Arabs are going to get rid of the Jews once and for all and what a great victory it is going to be for the Arabs? The Syrians lost the Golan in a war of aggression with Asad as defense minister. Because he was so successful, they promoted him to president. Go figure.

For too long the Arabs have been using Israel as an excuse not to democratize and continue opressing their own populations. Now you, from the safety and comfort of the US democracy, are using the same methods to justify oppression and support for the Bashar regime. That is really rich.

Once Syria becomes a liberal democracy, it will get the Golan back quickly. You now know what you have to do to get the Golan. go for it.

October 10th, 2007, 2:50 am

 

Alex said:

AIG,

It aint gonna happen before the middle east explodes … this waiting for thre Muslim bortherhood’s second term.

A good friend of mine, Mona eltahawy, interviewed the murshid of the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood and she asked him what his position is on the peace treaty with Israel. He said: We will respect it, but we will have a national referendum … if a majority of egyptians want to scrap it, then we should.

You KNOW that at least 51% of Egyptians will want to get rid of the Israeli ambassador in Cairo.

Why? … because as long as Israel continues to kill Palestinian mothers and Children, as long as Israel’s freinds in Washington force an Iraq war that killed hundreds of thousands … egyptians will vote for any party that will boycott you.

Be realistic .. first you undo all the mistakes, then … lets say 5 to 10 years later when the Arabs have gotten used to the more friendly and more caring Israel, THEN you should hope for democracy.

Remember the childish trait? … wanting everything NOW … not able to understand why you sometimes need to wait for toys?

October 10th, 2007, 2:54 am

 

Alex said:

AIG,

I said at the end of my comment:”By the way, I am not saying the Arabs are angels … I am not in denial like you. I am only trying to get this good/bad silliness out of the way”

read, AIG, read.

October 10th, 2007, 2:57 am

 

Alex said:

AIG,

Maybe I need to add another defense mechnism for what you are now trying to do with me:

Projection. Attributing to others, one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts and/or emotions.

Leave me out of this analysis for now, and lets discuss the Israel part. then I promise you I will be happy todiscuss my psyche.

deal?

October 10th, 2007, 3:00 am

 

Alex said:

And it seems you do not want to take the honest truth from your defense minister:

The Syrians were not threatening us at the time.’ The attack proceeded not because Israel was threatened but because of pressure from land-hungry farmers and army commanders in northern Israel. ‘Of course [war with Syria] was not necessary. About those shellings: Syria shelled and otherwise emanated cold hostility. But, Dayan told his interviewer, ‘at least 80 percent’ of two decades of border clashes were initiated by Israel.

AIG … the 80% thing is is very important … you can always find a negative 20% on the Arabs’ side that will give your superego an excuse to please your selfish childish id.

October 10th, 2007, 3:06 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

It is a fact that the Syrians used the Golan to shell Israel.
It is a fact that continually the Syrian regime talked about destroying Israel.
It is a fact that the Syrian regime had an alliance with Egypt to attack Israel.

So if Moshe Dayan ALLEGEDELY says something, it makes it true?
From wikipedia:
“False Egyptian reports of crushing victory against the Israeli army, and forecasts that Egyptian artillery would soon be in Tel-Aviv influenced Syria’s willingness to enter the war. Syrian leadership, however, adopted a more cautious approach, and instead began shelling northern Israel. When the Israeli airforce had completed its mission in Egypt, and turned around to destroy the surprised Syrian airforce, Syria understood that the news its had heard from Egypt of the near-total destruction of the Israeli military could not have been true.[96] During the evening of June 5, Israeli air strikes destroyed two thirds of the Syrian Air Force, and forced the remaining third to retreat to distant bases, without playing any further role in the ensuing warfare. A minor Syrian force tried to capture the water plant at Tel Dan (the subject of a fierce escalation two years earlier). Several Syrian tanks are reported to have sunk in the Jordan river. In any case, the Syrian command abandoned hopes of a ground attack, and began a massive shelling of Israeli towns in the Hula Valley instead.”

So you see, the Syrians started hostilities by shelling Israel. Fact. They were the aggressors in the Six Day war.

October 10th, 2007, 3:18 am

 

Alex said:

And finally … you told me that I am mistaken … that becasue the past 60 years looked good for Israel then SURELY it will continue going great.

For how long? … for ever?

If not for ever can you tell me what could possily be a sign that Israel’s fortunes are about to decline?

If you are not able to see the signs of a downcycle, then I can give you a hint: over confidence, greed …

October 10th, 2007, 3:20 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

If the muslim brotherhood in Syria and Egypt are elected and don’t want peace with Israel, that is fine with me. That these countries become liberal democracies is more important than my short term interest, and will serve my interests long term.

If Egypt becomes a real liberal democracy, it will not elect to fight Israel. The same goes for Syria. The muslim brotherhood in Syria will need many years to consolidate their rule before attacking Israel. Now, if they turn out to be democratic great. If not, they will suffer from international isolation and be very weak. either result is good for Israel.

Again, you are using Israel as an excuse: Oh, if the Israelis will just be nice to the Palestinians, we can democratize in Syria. That is nonsense that nobody buys.

Democracy in Syria is an internal problem in Syria. It has nothing to do with Israel or the Palestinians. It is just an excuse by Bashar to stay in power. Why are you supporting this line?

I am not demanding that Syria democratize. All I am saying is that Syria will get the Golan only after it becomes a democracy.

October 10th, 2007, 3:26 am

 

Alex said:

AIG,

Remember the 80% that Dayan reffered to? … don’t ignore it. Because if you want to find statements from the Syrians’ side that you want to use as an excuse to invade them then of course you will find something.

The point is … when you look for an excuse to steal, that makes you “bad” no?

You remeber the original reasons president Bush gave us the Iraq war? … he made them sound very valid .. you know, Saddam said this and that … America therefore must attack and destroy Iraq!

The fact is, all those who are now outside the administration told us that the president’s attitude was basically: “find me an excuse to invade Iraq”

And that is what Dayan said … you did 80% of the shelling but you stole the Golan becasue Syria did the other 20% of the shelling.

Denial.

By the way, most of the content on Wikipedia on the Arab Isralei conflict is published by Israelis … I quoted neutral psychology, not controversial analysis.

Look at the Jerusalem Wikipedia page and tell me if it is neutral.

But that’s ok … I will not deny everything in that page. I am not in denial like you… I just wanted to point out that not everything there is balanced.

October 10th, 2007, 3:31 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

I said it is difficult to forecast the future but one has to use the best guess. The past 60 years are a very encouraging trend for Israel. The number of Israeli companies on the Nasdaq is a very encouraging trend. Israel invited to join the OECD is very very encouraging. The great relations Israel has with the US, India, Europe and China is very encouraging. Israel’s status according to the UN development reports is very encouraging.
Israel is one of six global innovation leaders http://www.proinno-europe.eu/doc/EIS2006_final.pdf

All the above is very encouraging. But the most encouraging is the ability of Israel and Israelis to criticize themselves and learn from their mistakes. The Winograd commission is a case in point.

Israel has problems but it is not in denial about them and is not afraid to discuss them and find innovative solutions. Contrast with the Arab world, and you understand why I am optimistic.

October 10th, 2007, 3:36 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Stop muddling the issue. In June 6,7,8 67 Syria started a massive shelling of northern Israel. That is an act of war. Pure and simple. Israel attacked the Golan to stop it. It had every right to do it. If Syria did not want Israel to attack the Golan, it should not have helped the Egyptians by attacking Israel. What can be simpler than that? You are trying to excuse the inexcusable. Dayan had a right to his opinion if he really said it (which is far from sure), but if he did, he is wrong and there is no other Israeli general or politician that says the same. The Syrians made the life of Israelis in the Gallilee hell by their shellings from the Golan over a period of many years. All this stopped when we took the Golan. thank goodness for that.

October 10th, 2007, 3:44 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

The whole fallacy of your argument can be found in this part of what you said:
“Be realistic .. first you undo all the mistakes, then … lets say 5 to 10 years later when the Arabs have gotten used to the more friendly and more caring Israel, THEN you should hope for democracy.

Remember the childish trait? … wanting everything NOW … not able to understand why you sometimes need to wait for toys?”

First, as I explained I am not demanding that Syria become a democracy. I am only saying they will get the Golan only after they become one.

Second, it is YOU that needs democracy in Syria in order to stop the decline that Syria is undergoing. It cannot even supply adequate electricity to its population now. The Syrian people need it, not Israel.

And thirdly, why does the way Israel treats the Palestinians determine whether Syria allows freedom of speech or liberalizes? What is the connection? Let the Syrians hate Israel, but I just cannot see why they cannot both hate Israel and have freedom of speech and a true democracy. It is clear that it is just an excuse by Asad to stay in power and stop reforms.

Why are you supporting this? Why are you a mouth piece for a dictator?

October 10th, 2007, 4:04 am

 

abraham said:

Ariel Sharon is still in a coma. His flaps of blubber hang over the sides of his death bed. Desperate zionists pray to this undead corpse for an answer that never comes.

Where is your hero now, zionists?

October 10th, 2007, 4:18 am

 

Chris Baker said:

The Senate has included in their version of the Defense Authorization bill a non-binding request for a report to be prepared soon after enactment of the Defense Authorization bill concerning Iran’s activities in “anti-coalition forces” in Iraq, and on Iran’s “strategy and ambitions” in Iraq. The report is to prepared by the multi-national force commander in Iraq and the Director of National Intelligence and every 60 days.

The report is to be un-classified as much as possible, and describe and assess in detail the following activities:
1. “any external support or direction provided to anti-coalition forces by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran or its agents”,
2. “the strategy and ambitions in Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, and
3. “any counter-strategy or efforts by the United States Government to counter the activities of agents of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Iraq.”

Notice particularly the language: “counter-strategy” and “counter the activities of agents” of Iran, which means it’s impossible for Iran to play a positive role in Iraq. This language appears to be a modified version of the so-called Kyl-Lieberman amendment, passed by the Senate by a large majority. The Senate bill is now in conference with the House, which included the so-called “AIPAC amendment” on US ballistic missile technology for Israel.

October 10th, 2007, 4:49 am

 

annie said:

Anyone for the one state solution to the Israeli problem ?

Got this from a comment at ich
‘The longterm solution is surely rather obvious; a one state solution. Call it what you will, Israel/Palestine or Palestine/Israel or something else. That isn’t really important, but there has to be one state where both peoples live together in peace. The idea of one ethnic group, the Israelis, carving out a separate state for themselves, by force, and stating that they have exclusive rights to that area, above and beyond the rights of the original palestinian population, is, the the long-term, untenable.”
And do read Abunimah “One country”
Here is a review of the book
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6397.shtml
One can dream, but it would be wonderful for all.

October 10th, 2007, 5:29 am

 

Alex said:

AIG,

First, I suggest you watch an excellent PBS documentary, The 50 Years War – Israel & The Arabs (2000)

You will see amazing interviews with King Hussein, Ariel Sharon, Shamir … and every leader in the middle east (Except Hafez who did not do documentaries)

In that DVD you will realize that there was really no real drama on the Golan … your prime minister at the time discussed the Golan with the Russian ambassador who visited him at home at 2AM and they discussed Israel’s intentions to attack Syria … the war was really between Israel and Nasser .. the rest of the Arabs, despite all the patriotic radio programs, were following Nasser’s directions.

Anyway, if “massive Syrian shelling of innocent Israeli settlers” is the story that will make your superego comfortable with taking the Golan from Syria, then go ahead and believe it.

October 10th, 2007, 7:22 am

 

Alex said:

And about democracy in Syria and the Golan Heights.

With the exception of Farid Ghadry and few other crooks, you will not find many Syrians who want to wait until they have democracy before having the Golan back.

If you love democracy that much, then .. respect their decision and return the Golan first.

Two more things

1) you said: “The great relations Israel has with the US, India, Europe and China is very encouraging.”

China? … democratic China? … you find Israel’s relations with China to be “very encouraging”?

Now I am encouraged! … It seems there is a way for you to make an exception and enjoy relations with non democracies.

2) Syria could not provide enough electricity this summer partly because we had 45-50 degree temperatures every day, and partly because … our population was suddenly multiplied by 1.1 .. a 10% increase … we are hosts to close to 2 million Iraqi refugees from the war that was started next door in order to make Israelis feel a bit more secure after removing Saddam.

October 10th, 2007, 7:31 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, if I may, let me ask you the following question – and it’s a question about practicalities.

Obviously, you seem to think that we (Israel) will not be here anymore in 20 years from now.

If I were in your shoes, I’d simply wait the 20 years and get the Golan for free.

I mean, think about it: you won’t have to recognize Israel (which is about to disappear anyway), you won’t have to put an embassy in Tel Aviv, you won’t have an Israeli embassy in Damascus – what’s the rush? Why ruining 40 years of successful policy?

You patiently waited 40 years, what are 20 more years of simply doing nothing and waiting for the ripe fruit to fall into your hands?

Doesn’t it make much more sense – from a Syrian point of view?

And let me add one more thing: the issue that people all over the Arab world were most wrong about during the last 60 years, was their prediction of ‘how long will Israel last?’.

The first predictions gave us weeks to months, then it turned to nothing but a couple of years.
Now, I’m happy to see that we’ve advanced and we get between 20 to 100 more years.

Let me tell you how I feel about these predictions.
I think that in the long run, after 20, 50, 100 and 200 years will pass and Israel will still be here, opinion in the Arab world will start to change.

Many people will reevaluate the drug that their leaders have pushed to them (for self survival reasons) and recognize that the state of Israel is not going anywhere.

It will probably lead to a much stronger demand for democracy and some serious action about it from the peoples of the region and obviously that’s the greatest fear of any Arab dictator.

October 10th, 2007, 8:30 am

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

I’ll explain

1) I did not say that Israel will disappear 20 years from now.

“Decline” … as in the decline of Portugal … the country is still happily there, but it is not the empire it used to be. I would like to see Israel living just like Portugal today … I don’t want to hear about your heroic IDF on a weekly basis. I would love to continue hearing about your Nobel Prize winners in Physics and Chemistry.

2) Israelis have nuclear weapons … they will not accept to simply disappear or to be defeated. I have no desire what so ever to wait for the day when Israel is almost defeated .. and ready to use its nuclear weapons as a last resort… My Damascus will be the first candidate to receive your first nuclear missile.

You know … with all my criticism to this administration and to its criminal Iraq war, I do not wish to see the United States lose the war … I want them to withdraw smoothly, without losing the war… Because it is the least bloody option on the long run.

My friend, I just want to minimize violence. Now, and in the future, In Syria and in the Middle East and around the world.

Ok?

October 10th, 2007, 8:57 am

 

t_desco said:

It is important to stress that while many of the details in the Al-Akhbar series are new, the basic facts have already been reported in April by Nibras Kazimi and Al-Hayat.

Sheikh Rashid was a member of the Dinniyeh group, just like Abu Hureira and Ahmed Miqati.

October 10th, 2007, 9:04 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

I agree, the PBS documentary, 50 years of war, is excellent. I have seen it several times. I suggest people unfamiliar with the conflict see it and make up their own minds. The Russian amabasador came to Eshkol’s home and told him not to mass troops on the border with Syria. Eshkol told him to come immediately with him to the Golan and see that Israel was not doing that. The Russian declined. What has this got to do with the obvious fact that the Syrians were the agressors in the Six Day War? This is beyond any question and I beleive it because all facts point to it and my parents lived it and not because it makes me feel better. Why are you believing something that is just not true?

What would most Syrians choose given the following options:
1) Get the Golan but sustain 10 years at least of additional Asad rule
2) Live in a liberal democracy for 10 years starting now and then get the Golan

I think option 2. You say option 1. Let the readers decide what makes more sense. You claim to know what Syrians want just as most dictators do. But how about actually letting them choose? No, you support the Bashar regime and its repressive attitudes and put the emphasis on the Golan instead of on reforms in Syria.

Your position just doesn’t make sense and it seems that you are protecting a despicable dictatorial regime for no good reason.

October 10th, 2007, 10:47 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Stop muddling the issue. In June 6,7,8 67 Syria started a massive shelling of northern Israel. That is an act of war. Pure and simple. Israel attacked the Golan to stop it.

AnotherIsraeligay stop your self re-inventing history. Wikipedia says about the air raid on 5th of June

Following the success of the initial attack waves against the major Egyptian airfields and subsequent air raids carried out against Israel by the Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi air forces, subsequent attacks were made later in the day against secondary Egyptian airfields as well as Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi fields.

Did Syria shell Israel before or after the air attack? That what is here relevant, when we speak who was the aggressor and acts of war. I suppose that even an Israeli can admit that destroying the neighbours air forces on the air fields shows that the tale that Arab countries were ready to attack Israel in 1967 is complete fiction.

SimoHurtta,

Why argue? Come to Israel, talk to the Arabs that are Israeli citizens and see for yourself what rights they have.
I am not talking about the Arabs in the occupied territories that are not Israeli citizens. Hopefully, they will get their country soon.
And if you don’t believe me checkout Israel in freedomhouse.org or in the UN development reports.
And please stop quoting marginal figures in Israel trying to make a point. There are loonies in Israel like in any other place. Do you think quoting Osama Bin Laden or Zarquai and saying “see, this is how all muslims think” makes sense? What you are doing is racist and I will not do the same.

Thank you for your invitation AnotherIsraelliGuy. But no thanks, I do not want to visit Israel. Why, simply because I do not like the country what it is now. I can read from internet and books enough evidence by both Israeli Jews and Arabs that the situation is far from equal and democratic. Lets take for example the Bedouin case. Is forging them to live in towns and denying them their way of life and land they have used for hundreds of years wise or democratic? I just watched a documentary by BBC about the situation of Israeli Bedouins. Disgusting is a mild word to describe the situation.

Quoting marginal figures??? Come-on AIG the quotes I “quoted” are from prominent Israeli figures, prime ministers, mayors, army commanders and leading rabbis. You or I have no reason to quote Osama bin Landen and other figures like him because we all know that they are marginal figures. But Golda Meir, Barak etc were/are not.

What you are doing is racist???? Blame your leaders for racism in their speeches not me. I did not invent those quotes, nor I do not share their racist message. I only have tried to show the underlying racist sentiment in Israeli leadership and in its Jewish population. In the name of intellectual honesty you also must admit that Israeli politician and religious leaders have managed to produce an astonishing amount racist (mildly said) comments. Strange that the world has not better realized who are the “real” extremists in Middle East.

freedomhouse.org is a joke when it becomes to accurate data and analyses. Despite its international make-up it is a US propaganda machine with US “eye glasses”. Why for example Bolivia and Venezuela are listed as partly free or Russia as not free? But Israel is listed as free. Freedomhouse is as impartial and neutral as Memri or Debka.

For example Freedomhouse tells about Finland

In 2006, Finns continued to debate the proposal of abandoning their traditional neutrality and seeking membership in NATO, an issue of particular relevance given the recent inclusion of the nearby Baltic states—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia—in the alliance. Despite its past isolationism, Finland in September agreed to participate in the renewed UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) crisis management operation, sending 200 troops to the troubled region. The decision was especially controversial given the fact that an Israeli bombing had killed a Finnish peacekeeper in the town of Khiam in July.

Freedomhouse forgets to mention that the Finnish majority is fiercely against joining NATO and the proposal of is not supported by any party. Some individual politicians support joining NATO.

Past isolationism???? Finland has participated in most UN peace keeping missions. A Finnish general has commanded UNEF II in 1973-75, UNDOF in 1981-82, UNIFIL in 1986-88, UNTSO in 1990-92. We have for the past 50 years been in Suez, Sinai, Golan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Namibia etc. Finns have done rather much in cleaning up the messes Israel has created. One former Finnish Defence Force commander once said: “When I as young officer went to Lebanon I admired Israel in its struggle, but I came back with a completely different world view.” I suppose most Finnish UN soldiers who have served on the area share his view – David is now Goliath.

PS.
An Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in the U.S.
New York Times: U.S. gov’t split over Israeli data on Syria-N. Korea ties
Cheney, Rice divided over Israeli intel

Is Israel commanding Cheney or Cheney commanding Israel?

What if AnotherIsraeliguy it is later revealed that there were no reason to attack Syria with the air raid and it was a organized provocation? Are you willing to change your theories about how peaceful and trustful democracies are?

October 10th, 2007, 11:27 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

If the aim of the founding fathers of the US was to minimize violence, they would not have launched the American War of Independence. They would have lived quietly under British rule that for that time was probably one of the most enlightened in the world.

At some point in time, you have to realize that sacrifices need to be made for freedom and democracy. Of course, the easiest way is to give in to Bashar and his thugs. If you do what they tell you, there is no violence. Great.

But by submitting to them, you are sacrificing future Syrian generations to a life of fear and poverty.

If the monks in Burma wanted to minimize violence, would they have stood up to the regime? They knew violence would happen, but they sacrificed themselves for the good of the Burmese. They didn’t, like you, support the oppresive junta that was ruling their country.

Don’t you realize that you are just a mouth piece for a dictator? Don’t you realize that you are just giving excuses for Bashar to keep doing what he is doing? I really don’t understand your position.

October 10th, 2007, 11:31 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sim,
Read what wikipedia says carefully:
“False Egyptian reports of crushing victory against the Israeli army, and forecasts that Egyptian artillery would soon be in Tel-Aviv influenced Syria’s willingness to enter the war. Syrian leadership, however, adopted a more cautious approach, and instead began shelling northern Israel. When the Israeli airforce had completed its mission in Egypt, and turned around to destroy the surprised Syrian airforce, Syria understood that the news its had heard from Egypt of the near-total destruction of the Israeli military could not have been true.[96] During the evening of June 5, Israeli air strikes destroyed two thirds of the Syrian Air Force, and forced the remaining third to retreat to distant bases, without playing any further role in the ensuing warfare. A minor Syrian force tried to capture the water plant at Tel Dan (the subject of a fierce escalation two years earlier). Several Syrian tanks are reported to have sunk in the Jordan river. In any case, the Syrian command abandoned hopes of a ground attack, and began a massive shelling of Israeli towns in the Hula Valley instead.”

The shelling from Syria started BEFORE the attack on the Syrian air force. It became massive when the Syrians decided against a ground attack.

How about Nasser, is he a minor figure? He said:
“Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.”

Your quotes are all either of people that represent a small fraction of Israeli society or quotes of leaders taken out of context. The Arab quotes are clear to this day: The majority of Arabs, including you yearn for the destruction of Israel.

Freedomhouse is respected worldside as the leader in democracy rankings. It has an excellent reputation. Your knitpicking is useless. Take a rest.

Syria has said many times that it can use force to free the Golan. If so, Israel has every right to preempt such move and therefore, bombing strategic targets in Syria by Israel is more than justified. It is necessarry to stop war.

October 10th, 2007, 11:50 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

AIG I am a Finn (father Finn and mother Austrian) and I am Lutheran by religion. I have never said I wish Israel destruction. I support, as many Jewish intellectuals, a one state solution in Israel where everybody live in real harmony regardless their religion. I do not support extreme religious “Taleban” countries nor in Afghanistan or in Israel.

What has this got to do with the obvious fact that the Syrians were the agressors in the Six Day War? This is beyond any question and I beleive it because all facts point to it and my parents lived it and not because it makes me feel better. Why are you believing something that is just not true?

Some facts to remember. In 1956 Israel attacked Egypt and occupied Sinai for a while. Nov 9, 1966 Egypt and Syria signed a defence treaty.

An Zionist Israeli view of the timeline in 6 day war tells clearly that Israel attacked first and the Syrian Front was relative silent before Israel attacked. Also the military maps clearly show that neither Egyptian or Syrian armies were in attack formation when the war started.

The shelling from Syria started BEFORE the attack on the Syrian air force. It became massive when the Syrians decided against a ground attack

The Zionist page tells that artillery shelling begun at 18.40 when Israel attacked Syrian airbases at 13.00. Either the Zionist page is right and you wrong or vice versa.

Look AIG at the battle picture of Golan Heights. Where are the Syrian attack arrows.

Sami Moubayed,Political analyst writes in CreativeForum

In May 1967 the Egyptian army had a strength of around 150,000, but 70,000 troops were fighting in the civil war in Yemen. Jordan’s army had a total strength of 55,000, and Syria had 75,000 troops. The IDF had a total strength, including reserve, of 264,000. James Reston, writing in the New York Times on 23 May 1967 said: “In discipline, training, morale, equipment and general competence his [Nasser’s] army and the other Arab forces, without the direct assistance of the Soviet Union, are no match for the Israelis… Even with 50,000 troops and the best of his generals and air force in Yemen, he has not been able to work his way in that small and primitive country.”

Indeed the Arabs attacked with less troops than Israel had. 🙂

I find it hard to find in internet real data from the 67 war, for example from the positioning of Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian forces and real level of their troops near the frontiers when the war started. Internet is full of Israeli sources (even http://www.palestinefacts.org is Israeli what a joke) which have a very lets say less neutral picture of the events. Now I have no time to dig internet to find more real facts.

Freedomhouse is respected worldside as the leader in democracy rankings

If you mean by worldside worldwide, I remind you that worldwide doesn’t mean USA and Israel.

Syria has said many times that it can use force to free the Golan. If so, Israel has every right to preempt such move and therefore, bombing strategic targets in Syria by Israel is more than justified. It is necessarry to stop war.

You must be completely crazy. To start a war to avoid the starting of a war like in 67. Buaaah. Well what was that “strategic target” can you tell?

How many times has Israel threatened the neighbours. Haven’t then Arab countries, EU, Russia, Turkey, Iran etc a reason equally to pre-empt Israel’s moves and attack Israeli targets. Is it necessary to stop new wars?

PS.
AIG why is Israel selling weapons to Burma’s junta? Purely to make money or to support dictators ability to shoot monks? See Jane’s report. It can be easily found using Google.

October 10th, 2007, 1:47 pm

 

CWW said:

It seems unlikely that Israel would hand over the Golan Heights to Syria at this time. The withdrawal from Gaza and southern Lebanon has made the Israeli population more skeptical of the prospect of removing forces from additional territories without real security guarantees. A peace agreement would require that Syria end its support for international terrorists (i.e. HAMAS, PIJ, and Hizballah), its close relationship with Iran, and the demand for Palestinians( to the third generation ) be able to live in Israel. Syria cannot realistically be expected to make a 180 degree turn with respect to Israel overnight. Without those changes peace would be meaningless.

Unfortunately for Syria, with each passing year the Golan becomes increasingly seen as Israel by Israelis and to that extent Israel will be less likely to hand it over. The development of the Golan economy, with its ski resort, cattle farms, wineries, breweries, tourism, and let’s not forget water, also makes detaching the Golan from Israel that much more costly for Israel.

October 10th, 2007, 2:16 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sim,

Are you serious? On the page you quote it clearly says that at 12:00 Syrian aircraft attacked Haifa and only at 1:00 Israeli planes attacked Syrian airfields. You bring data that contradicts your own position!

There are no Syrian attack arrows because the Syrians understood that they cannot attack without air support. Duh. But they used heavy shelling and it was important to take the Golan to stop it once and for all.

When has Israel threatened an Arab country with destruction? This is solely a Arab habit to threaten the destruction of Israel. And if the Arabs believe they have a justified reason to attack Israel, let them do it and let the world judge if what they did was justified or not. Neither Russia, Turkey, Europe the US or China said anything after the attack in Syria. Not one of them condemmed Israel. You know why? Because the attack was justified.

Yes, Elbit, an Israeli company, retrofitted old Chinese planes for Burma in 97. How many phones have Nokia sold there and do you know that they are used mostly by the elite connected to the regime? The nokia phones are hot sellers in burma.
http://www.mekomyanmar.com/what.htm

Who is helping the junta more, Nokia or Elbit? Have you no shame?

October 10th, 2007, 2:19 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Another thing Sim,

As a Lutheran, what do you think about Luther’s stand about Jews (all from wikipedia):

He argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people, but were “the devil’s people.” They were “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.”[76] The synagogue was a “defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut …”[77] and Jews were full of the “devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine.”[78] He advocated setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayerbooks, forbidding rabbis from preaching, seizing Jews’ property and money, smashing up their homes, and ensuring that these “poisonous envenomed worms” be forced into labor or expelled “for all time.”[79] He also seemed to sanction their murder,[80] writing “We are at fault in not slaying them.”[81]

And:

” The prevailing view[85] among historians is that his anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany,[86] and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an ideal foundation for the National Socialist’s attacks on Jews.[87] Reinhold Lewin writes that “whoever wrote against the Jews for whatever reason believed he had the right to justify himself by triumphantly referring to Luther.” According to Michael, just about every anti-Jewish book printed in the Third Reich contained references to and quotations from Luther. Heinrich Himmler wrote admiringly of his writings and sermons on the Jews in 1940.[88] The city of Nuremberg presented a first edition of On the Jews and their Lies to Julius Streicher, editor of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer, on his birthday in 1937; the newspaper described it as the most radically anti-Semitic tract ever published.[89] It was publicly exhibited in a glass case at the Nuremberg rallies and quoted in a 54-page explanation of the Aryan Law by Dr. E.H. Schulz and Dr. R. Frercks.[74] On December 17, 1941, seven Lutheran regional church confederations issued a statement agreeing with the policy of forcing Jews to wear the yellow badge, “since after his bitter experience Luther had already suggested preventive measures against the Jews and their expulsion from German territory.””

So, are you a raving antisemite like your Luther? When I see the well you are drinking from, I would not be surprised.

October 10th, 2007, 2:47 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

Syria has said many times that it can use force to free the Golan. If so, Israel has every right to preempt such move and therefore, bombing strategic targets in Syria by Israel is more than justified. It is necessarry to stop war.

Why stop war? … remember your founding fathers example? .. go for it … correct what is right … Syria is a real threat … just go ahead and stop that Syrian threat!

Which reminds me of how you are good in selecting what to look for even though you watched the PBS documentary many times.

The Russian amabasador came to Eshkol’s home and told him not to mass troops on the border with Syria. Eshkol told him to come immediately with him to the Golan and see that Israel was not doing that. The Russian declined. What has this got to do with the obvious fact that the Syrians were the agressors in the Six Day War?

Did you not notice that there was no “threat” in Eshkol’s wife’s voice? … did you notice that Eshkol was not panicking about a Syrian “massive shelling” of Israel? … did you notice that he promised the Russian ambassador that nothing is going to happen on the Golan?

But really, never mind … you are encouraged by Israeli success in having good relations with the Chinese Communist dictatorship (money makes you forget your Black and White rule on Democracy) and you want to protect the lives of every single Israeli citizen, but you want to portray me like either a coward who accepts dictatorship in Syria, or a suspicious Assad mouthpiece who is using nonviolence as an excuse for his backing for the dictator.

You asked me before “do you understand the Jewish Psyche” … my exchange with you is one of many I had with tens of Israelis. It reinforced my opinion that it is a real challenge to communicate with Israel with its endless combinations of psyches.

Yours is a delusional dogmatic “Pro democracy” character.

All it is in reality “I will not return the Golan, I want to keep it. Israel is always right, the life of an Israeli is worth more than a life of an Arab, Israel is justified in anything it does, it is ok if most Israeli prime ministers said racist comments about Arabs and Palestinians … those comments are justified if you put them in their proper context”

Before you start activating your projection superego defense, let me show you a link about me so that you don’t escape everything we discussed by simply saying “this guy is an Assad propagandist”

This is called The online Syrian Think Tank , part of my Creative Syria site … I invited many Syria experts to participate. Including the most outspoken critic of Assad, read Ammar’s opinion if you like.

And this is the Creative Forum … where more than half of the 30 Syrian (and one Jewish American) invited authors are not friendly to the Syrian regime at all. Regime propagandists do not promote anti-regime authors the way I did.

And one last thing, I also invite you to enjoy my other history site. You can search (top left of the page) by “Jew” key word if you want to see old photos of Jews in the Middle East. The site is popular with many Israeli scholars and many Arab Jewish organizations.

With that, I give you the last word if you wish. I said everything I have to say.

October 10th, 2007, 3:42 pm

 

Alex said:

CWW,

Exactly.

The withdrawals from Gaza and south LEbanon were mistakes … Israel in both cases decided that there is no need to negotiate with Arabs … Israel wanted to settle conflicts the way it prefered them to be settled.

The 1974 agreement that Kissinger brokered between Israel and Syria, the camp David, the Jordanian peace agreement … were all successful, locally.

Agreements have to be agreed upon by both sides.

October 10th, 2007, 3:47 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Don’t simplify what I said.
You said:

“All it is in reality “I will not return the Golan, I want to keep it. Israel is always right, the life of an Israeli is worth more than a life of an Arab, Israel is justified in anything it does, it is ok if most Israeli prime ministers said racist comments about Arabs and Palestinians … those comments are justified if you put them in their proper context””

What I said is that I will DEMAND that Israel will return the Golan once there is a liberal democracy in Syria. How can you portray me as against ever giving the Golan back?

And where did I say that racist comments by Israelis are justified? I called the people that made racist remarks loonies.

Alex you have not answered the fundamental question I would like answered:
Why is the Golan or the way Israel treats the Palestinians important for democracy in Syria? Why can’t Syria democratize while the Syrians hate Israelis? What is stopping them?

Until you give a good answer to this question, you are just a mouth piece supporting Bashar with irrational arguments. You are giving Bashar and his despicable regime an excuse to stay in power.

Would you mind just addressing the last question? I read all your replies and you didn’t answer it. I apologize in advance if I missed the response. Please direct me to it.

October 10th, 2007, 4:13 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

I realize that you accept to return the Golan after there is democracy in Syria. But as long as Syria has its open wound (conflict with Israel) constructive change in Syria will be unnecessarily complicated. The country is “at war” with Israel. Syria spent the past couple of years billions on SAM missiles because your IAF loves to show us how dominant it is. Even Syrian opposition would have spent the same money to purchase those weapons.

There are many ways to do good things in the region. Democracy in Syria is one of them. It is not the first and last one. And it is definitely not the easiest one.

Every conflict and every failure complicates everything else. We need to undo them one by one. The more we undo, the easier it is to taclke the next challenge.

President Clinton believes the Syrian Israeli settlement should not take more than 30 minutes. Peace between Syria and Israel (and Lebanon) will be just what the region needs to stop the bloodshed and chaos.

Democracy in Syria has prerequisites. And change requires an environment that is change-friendly. You would not paint the outside of your home in the middle of a snow storm, would you?

I did not answer you because there is no simple answer. If you have the time, I asked our 30 Syrian bloggers to answer the simple and neutral question: “What would you like to change in Syria”

You have 12 articles and over 150 comments that explain what different Syrians have as a priority for change … if you read the whole thing you will see that no Syrian wants to start a revolution for democracy. Syrians are cautious people. Life is complicated and Syria is complicated. You are lucky that Israel started as a democracy. Believe me, if it was not, then trying today to make it a democracy would have been just as challenging as making Syria a democracy. You can’t seem to be able to elect one political party to lead you … there is always a coalition made up from extreme right to extreme left… They waste half their time playing politics at the expense of the good of the country.

Lebanon is another experiment in Middle Eastern democracy … I don’t like that democracy.

Hamas is another one, and so is Ahmadinejad.

Our complex region is in conflict. That makes democracy crippled or severely limited. We need to reduce the conflict first.

THEN I will be happy to see another, smarter and more honest, President Bush who will put pressure on Syria AND EGYPT AND SAUDI ARABIA to move towards democracy.

October 10th, 2007, 5:16 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Sorry. It still just sounds like a bunch of excuses. So what if Syria is at war? Why does that stop democracy?

Yes, Israel has a democracy based on coalitions. What is the big deal? Is it optimal, no. But so what, it works well enough.

Why does democracy in syria require prerequisites that are related to Israel? If there is no simple answer give me a complex answer. But ignoring the issue the way you have, undermines your whole argument. You need to give some answer.

You have to at least agree with me that this is exactly what Bashar would say when asked to reform: We need time and prerequisites etc. That is what I don’t like about your argument. If you cannot give good reasons, how can I know that your position is really different than Bashar’s? You come out as a mouth piece for the regime.

October 10th, 2007, 5:41 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

War with Israel is only one of the complications. There are many others. I will not be able to write another 20 pages about this topic. If you want please read what we wrote on Creative forum and you have many people who argued the same arguments you made here. So you will have answers to your questions.

I’ll make it easier. Read this article and the 57 comments on it … it is probably the most educational.

And I know I come out as a mouthpiece for Bashar sometimes. My opinion is not going to change if Bashar has the same opinion.

Look, I don’t push for a one state solution in Israel even though it is a good thing, I don’t push for the right of return of ALL Palestinians to Israel even though it is the right thing …. I know your country is not ready for any of that. I did not ask you and if you answered me I would not call you “a mouthpiece for Olmert” even if you gave me the same answer that Olmert would have given.

October 10th, 2007, 6:21 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Sim,

Are you serious? On the page you quote it clearly says that at 12:00 Syrian aircraft attacked Haifa and only at 1:00 Israeli planes attacked Syrian airfields. You bring data that contradicts your own position!

No I did not, my position was that Israel started. As I clearly mentioned that Syria (like Jordan) had a defence treaty with Egypt. The defence treaty was public knowledge, meaning Israel knew the price of attacking Egypt. As an Israeli I suppose you do not know what an defence treaty means, because you seem to have some severe problems in understanding international laws and treaties. So let me explain it to you. Starting a war with one of the treaty members means that you are also declare war with others. Like Poland had with GB and France in September 1939. Understand?

My point was that Israel declared war and Syria was obviously unprepared to the war. One plane over Haifa four hours after the start of the war. It would be interesting to know how many battle ready troops Syria actually had in Golan on morning the 5th of June. Wikipedia only mentions the total force of Syrian army 70 000, but how many were in positions in morning Israel attacked? One thousand or two?

You claimed that Syria started the war by shelling so isn’t the one who was wrong you? Air strike is not artillery shelling.

To your comments about Luther and the Nazis, I consider them as funny. Come-on the Luther guy lived in the 16 century and you can get equal quotes from Catholic and Anglican churches leaders of that time. Actually the whole Christianity did not “like” Jews in those times. Now almost 500 year after Luther your politicians and church men are using equal language about Arabs, Christians and Muslims. In modern times. Understand the difference?

By the way are Jews really chosen people in your mind? If they are how about converts? Can I join the club of modern Übermenschen by converting to Judaism and get a swimming pool on the West Bank hill tops with low rate government loans (well I could pay in cash if it increases my changes)?

October 10th, 2007, 6:36 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sim,
The question was who was the agressor. If Syria sent a plane to bomb Haifa that was a good reason to retaliate. Full stop.

Sure there was an agreement between the Egypt and Syria. So what? What weight do these agreements have in determining who is the agressor? No weight whatsoever. Israel knew that Syria might attack because of the agreement, but the actual first attack was the aggression. So what is your point? Syria was the agressor in the Six day war. That is all.

Perhaps you did not read what I quoted about Luther. In Germany and Austria in the 20th century his writing were used as excuses for discrimination and murder of the Jews. And if the Germans would not have lost the war, you would still be thinking the same. Perhaps you still do, being a Lutheran and all, but are ashamed to say it.

The difference my dear Sim is that your mother’s family murdered most of my family and made them refugees. Understand the difference? And it was 70 years ago, not in the 16th century. And now I am in Israel and you want to kill me again by supporting the one state solution which will surely bring civil war and the trashing of Israel.

And if you are willing to tie your destiny to the destiny of the Jewish people, I would be happy to help you find a rabbi to convert you. And then you can come to Israel and become a citizen. No problem. In fact, many european converts have done that. Just let me know.

October 10th, 2007, 6:53 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Olmert is in power because at least in the elections he voiced the opinions of many people in Israel. WE elected Olmert because of his opinions and he voices our opinions, not we his.

You did not elect Bashar, but voice his opinion which I am not really sure you believe in reading the link you gave me. See the difference? That is why Olmert is my mouth piece and you are Bashar’s mouth piece.

And feel free to call for whatever solution you like. It is your right and you are not doing me any favors by self restricting your rights. If you want to advocate a one state solution, be my guest.

I read the link and did not see any explanations. Several Syrians there in fact agree with me that the problems are internal and require reform and the issue of Israel and the Palestinians are just excuses. Look, if you cannot convey your reasons in one paragraph, it means that you just have not thought things through.

You just don’t have an argument why Syrian democratization has to wait for peace with Israel or a Palestinian solution. Let me tell you my opinion. You don’t have an argument, because there is no argument. It is all excuses to keep Bashar in power.

October 10th, 2007, 7:19 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

Habibi. Khalas, Don’t worry about it.

I’m sorry I could not convince you of anything.

I enjoyed our interesting discussion.

Cheers.

October 10th, 2007, 8:26 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, I’ve been following your debate with AIG and I admit that his question is a very good one.

Naturally, you’re entitled to ignore or avoid it if you wish, but when you say “I’m sorry I could not convince you of anything”, it’s not like you’ve even tried.

I read many of your comments here.
You’re one of the best posters here, no doubt.
You can deliver your ideas and beliefs coherently all the time and with a lot of clarity.

I just wonder what’s so special with AIG’s question and why is it so hard to answer.

If you don’t want to answer why Syrian democratization has to wait for peace with Israel or a Palestinian solution, no problem, but if you can – why not giving it a shot?

October 10th, 2007, 8:43 pm

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

AIG is arguing that either I don’t understand Syrian politics as well as he does, or that I am a paid Assad P.R. agent.

I have a rule in debating … if after three attempts the other person is not convinced of my argument, then I do not try anymore. Obviously my argument is not good enough or that the other person does not want to understand it and accept it because it is too different from his set of beliefs or values.

October 10th, 2007, 9:22 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, I think that you have a great understanding of Syrian politics and I don’t think you’re a paid Assad PR agent.

I know you’re doing this work pro bono…
Just kidding 😉

Anyway, I’m very curious to learn why you think that Syrian democratization has to wait for peace with Israel or a Palestinian solution.

You managed to express your take on so many interesting issues.
I really think it will be fascinating to read your take on this one.

October 10th, 2007, 10:02 pm

 

Alex said:

lol

I’ll answer, I’ll answer.

Flattery always works.

But seriously, the reason I can not necessarily give you a good answer is that

1) There is no good answer … it is not like I am 100% convinced. It is possible that democracy MIGHT work today … so I seriously doubt it, but I am not SURE …and therefore, I can not argue very forcefully on this one.

2) The answer is honestly very complex. I tried it before when I argued the same opinion against five people … a Syrian opposition supporter, an Israeli, two Americans, and Lebanese … all of them wanted to get rid of Bashar immediately if they could.

Our friend Ehsani was there too for a while .. it was a 90 page long discussion (on Ammar Abdulhamid‘s blog)

So … I know how far I have to go before you start agreeing with my logic. I usually end up convincing my opponents at least partially.

You’ll see from that link that 88 comments in one thread (like the 150 here) gave me a good opportunity to listen to everyone who disagreed with me. I have Syrian friends from every type who I communicate honestly and openly with.. I am lucky to know many open minded and intelligent Syrians … They give me hope that many good things are possible, and they also taught me about all the limitations for now.

Still a vague answer, I know… a non-answer.

When I come back from dinner I will think of a short (one page) proper answer.

October 10th, 2007, 10:20 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

That’s great.
I’ll be more than happy to read it.

Enjoy your dinner.

October 10th, 2007, 10:40 pm

 

norman said:

الاسد : سورية لن تشارك في مؤتمر “السلام”

قال الرئيس بشار الاسد في حديث صحفي بإن “سورية لم تتلق الدعوة لمؤتمر الخريف وحتى لو أتت هذه الدعوة فإنها لن تشارك في مؤتمر يفتقد لفرص النجاح”

المزيد

October 11th, 2007, 3:11 am

 

Bashmann said:

Israeliguy, I can tell you why Alex thinks Democracy would have to wait as Bashar Assad has other priorities on his mind now, such as getting the set up ready for Hafez II to take over 50 years from now. 🙂

The fact is, and Alex knows this well, Alex is simply playing scared. The accolades he seemed to have received from Syrian government officials for his such wonderful work on CreativeSyria online site, which I seriously believe it is, makes him simply reluctant to take the next step in criticizing Bashar’s policies as he risks being blacklisted and arrested upon arrival in Damascus Airport. Bashar’s criticism or the family is the RED LINE in Syria, pure and simple. You can blast the Ba’ath Party today ’till your heart is content, but not the ruling family.

The late Hafez Assad did a wonderful job in terrorizing the psyche of every Syrian who lived throughout his tenure in power. The biggest obstacle for us at Alenfetah Party, have been convincing our members to come out with their true names and identify themselves as true political opposition figures. The mere mention of the words “Political Opposition to the Syrian regime” send tremors through the spines of every Syrian inside or outside the country. You simply risk being arrested by the “Mukhabarat” (Intelligence Service) or simply disappear alltogether by joining such a group.This fact is deeply ingrained into the Syrian mind that it will take years to erase the fear from the subconscious. It might need a generation or two before new blood re-enter the Syrian political arena. Alex knows this and I’ll bet plenty he agrees with lots of points made by AIG on this thread regarding the democratization process in Syria. He simply will never admit to it. At least, that’s my take on it.

Although I agree with Alex point on the Golan issue, I find his logic flawed when it comes to retrieving it from Israel.

Oh, and one more thing, Alex, please forgive me if I took the liberty to psycho-analyze you as my intention was purely to show the Israeliguy the problem from another perspective of a true Syrian Patriot. 🙂

Cheers

October 11th, 2007, 4:04 am

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy, since you got Bashmann, a Syrian American, to help you here, I called on a wise Jewish American man, Dr. Alon Ben-Meir to help me.

: )

October 11th, 2007, 6:51 am

 

Alex said:

Bashmann,

Thank you, I am glad you liked Creative Syria.

When you psycho analyze and come up with a hypothesis, do you usually test it on publicly available data or do you simply adopt it?

Your hypothesis says that I am simply avoiding doing anything to upset the Syrian regime for fear of being arrested when I visit Syria.

Do I really avoid criticizing the Syrian regime all the time?

No. I often criticized many things .. the regime is very corrupt. It is sometimes a total failure in the way it presents Syria’s case to the outside. Many members of “the regime” are mostly interested in prolonging their own personal hold on power.

Good enough?

Now if you want me to criticize the family, I will. I think Rami (Bashar’s billionaire cousin) needs to learn a lesson or two from Bill Gates and other American billionaires who gave away significant parts of their fortune to charity. I have not heard a single story of Rami helping the poor or the sick. Since he is Syria’s Hariri, he needs to be a role model, not only a businessman.

If you want me to criticize Bashar … I will not. Why? because I like his balanced decisions much more than those of the others who confronted him … presidents Bush, Chirac, Kings Abdallah and Abdullah …

October 11th, 2007, 7:26 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex continues his “Freudian” dissertation:

Your humble servant’s response: (please excuse the length)

Your Superego tells you that you are a good person and you do not steal and you do not kill … you are good. Your coutry is a great country, your people are the greatest people.

Alex,

The vast majority of Israelis and Jews believe that Israel is no different then any other sovereign nation. They believe Israel was created legally and represents the collective yearning for independence for the Jewish Nation. Most Israelis and Jews believe Israel gave the Arabs/Palestinians ample opportunities to make peace with Israel, before and after land was acquired by war.

No Israeli I know believes we are “the greatest people” or that Israel didn’t make mistakes diplomatically or militarily. One particpant on this website, (Observer) wrote:

It is clear that the pro Israel participants have a clear superiority complex that seems to take root in the “chosen people” mind set.

I asked Observer and I’ll ask you, cut and paste comments by the Zionists here to back up your assertion that this is really so.

Yet … facts and numbers show you that you are supporing the theft of other people’s lands (like the golan which was stolen from Syria as Moshe dayan admitted, simply because your farmers desired those lands) … you are also supporting your country even though your country killed over 1000 Lebanese last year, and continues to kill Palestinian children and women …etc.

Israel didn’t attack Syria because of farmers. No normal country would allow a neighboring country to shell one of their villages:

At 15:19 Syrian shells started falling on Kibbutz Gadot; over 300 landed within the kibbutz compound in 40 minutes. UNTSO attempted to arrange a ceasefire, but Syria declined to co-operate unless Israeli agricultural work was halted.

Another snipet:

However, Jordan’s King Hussein got caught up in the wave of pan-Arab nationalism preceding the war; and so, on May 30, Jordan signed a mutual defense treaty with Egypt, thereby joining the military alliance already in place between Egypt and Syria. President Nasser, who had called King Hussein an “imperialist lackey” just days earlier, declared: “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.”

Be careful what you wish for! No one learns.

your superego and between your id … you id is a big part of the real you … your hidden subconscious …. a selfish, primitive, childish, pleasure-oriented part of the personality with no ability to delay gratification.

As far as “delaying gratification”, I sometimes find the jihadist’s desire to kill Jews a similar mental condition. Whether there is a peace process or not, whether there is a liberal US president or not, Arab terrorism doesn’t stop. I guess it’s like being addicted to the internet!

As far as your comment above, I think you’ve gone mad. Please back up your psychological assessment with some factual analysis, articles or reports. Quoting opinions from the Hamas Ministry of Education is not very reliable.

That’s how Israel often behaves, and that’s what many Israelis support… yet they think they are supporting those actions purely for good reasons … like “I am defending my people” … or “I want to help the Arabs have democracy” …

IMHO, Israel “behaves” no different than any other country faced with a similar military threat, and if anything, they behave less severely.

You need to be honest with yourself and realize something: Israelis who are not supporters of peace with Syria are govened by their primitive psyche … the id .. the selfish, primitive, childish, pleasure-oriented part of the personality with no ability to delay gratification.

Again, you restate the same foolishness as if you were a American or British Professor of Middle East Studies or from a Baathist madrassa somewhere in the slums of Damascus.

Not giving back the extremely important land mass like the Golan for a lousy piece of paper from a long-standing terrorist supporter like the Assads, where there is absolutely no indication that the Baathist regime has prepared his people to make peace has nothing to do with being “selfish”, “primitive”, “childish”, or “pleasure-oriented”.

Alex, with no due respect, go back to your madrassa.

PRIMITIVE, before you complain, is the paranoid part what makes you go out and strike Iran because there is a tiny chance that Iran will commit suicide as a nation and attack Israel (which has 200 nuclear bombs) thuse starting the bloddiest middle East war … simply because you are scared and you see savage Arabs and Muslims that you need to kill before they kill you.

3000 centerfuges is not a “tiny chance”. Taking the words of the highest leader of Iran at their face value is not “paranoid”. Given the fact that Iran is arming Hezbollah to the teeth with more and more sophisticated weaponry and thousands of missiles is not paranoia; it is a clear and present danger.

SELFISH is why you killed 1400 Lebanese people because two of your soldiers were kidmnapped.

How many of these were “freedom-fighters”? And like most countries defending themselves, we don’t take notice which side is killing more and then increase or decrease operations to ensure it is even. I don’t think Hamas or Hezbollah uses this formula, and I don’t think it was used in any other war. Yes, Israel is “selfish” for trying to protect her population centers. I suppose I agree with that. No apology from me.

CHILDISH because you did not learn what it means to pay for your mistakes and to learn that it is not worth it if you make those mistakes again … with your mommy the United states protecting you from punishment at the UN or anywhere else, you have learned to break the law all the time … How many UN resolutions did Israel fail to respect? … you keep taking toys frrom other people and you spit in their faces and … and then you satisfy your superego by believing that you are still “good”! .. why? .. becaue you are “a democracy”

What law was broken? What “mistakes” are you referring to? UNGA resolutions have no legal basis. UNGA resolutions are more common than Iraqi scuds falling on Israeli cities.

Denial. Unconsciously refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality (feelings, events, or both), replacing it with a less threatening but inaccurate one.

If someone could translate this comment, I would be immensely grateful. Denial, to me, is ignoring the much greater Arab-against-Arab violence and human rights violations and instead focusing on those big, bad Jews.

Idealization. Form of denial in which the object of attention is presented as “all good” masking true negative feelings towards the other.

Please indicate what this has to do with Israel. Examples would be good.

Intellectualization (isolation). Concentrating on the intellectual components of the situations as to distance oneself from the anxiety provoking emotions associated with these situations;

Alex, responding to your “assertions” (I’m being nice here) is no more “intellectualization” than your miles of posts. When a Jew or Israeli explains Israel’s actions it is “intellectualization”, but when an Arab explains Arab actions it’s OK?

Sorry, akbar .. but I do not know how else to deal with your denial.

Alex, I do not know how to deal with your BS. But you are free to write what you want (this isn’t Syria). But just remember, what you write should be defendable, and frankly I don’t think you’re doing a great job in this department.

By the way, I am not saying the Arabs are angels … I am not in denial like you. I am only trying to get this good/bad silliness out of the way … AIG, please do not use the “we will give you the Golan when you are a democracy” argument again … Hamas and Ahmadinejad were elected democratically and you hate both of them. The only ones you like are the King Husseins of the arab world … the ones who will go for peace for peace.

I do not think either of us is saying that our “side” are angels. But what I think we ARE saying is that our side has a “right” to do what we are doing. However, as a Hamas supporter such as yourself, I certainly can’t say peace and co-existence with Israel is one of your priorities.

(sorry for the length of this post)

October 11th, 2007, 11:36 am

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

You are welcome to write comments as long as you like.

I have a short comment this time:

Denial is what is behind your comment next post regarding prof Alon Ben Meir who basically supported my way of seeing things. You decided that regardless of all his qualifications, he is clueless.

October 11th, 2007, 2:47 pm

 

Bashmann said:

Alex,

Appreciate the frankness, however, don’t expect any charitable contribution from Rami any soon. He has moved his offices to UAE to become better acquainted with his partners and escape the high profile negative image he has given his cousin Bashar. I would not be surprise to find out that Bashar might have asked him to do so.

As for your comment on Bashar;

**********
If you want me to criticize Bashar … I will not. Why? because I like his balanced decisions much more than those of the others who confronted him … presidents Bush, Chirac, Kings Abdallah and Abdullah …

**********

Let’s see, how balanced his decisions are;

1- Changing the constitution of the land in a 15 minutes session to accommodate for his accession to power.
2- Arresting members of the Damascus-Beirut Declaration and clamping down on civil organizations such as the Attasi club and others.
3- Allowing Jihadists to freely pass through the Syrian borders on their way to Iraq for Suicide Bombing missions.
4- Allowing radical Palestinian and Hezbollah offices to carry on their subversive activities in Damascus.
5- Allying the country with the most radical regime the world has known, Iran, while in the same time breaking the traditional alliance with the main Arab nations which his father kept open for 30 years.
6- Isolating Syria Internationally by adopting an Anti-American and Anti-Western stand.
6- Interfering in Lebanese affairs continuously for the past 7 years. (I’ll refrain from accusing him of involvement into the Harriri killing and other Parliament members ’till the verdict is out)
7- Continues to rule the country under Emergency Laws.
8- Continues to ban all political activities in the country.
9- Continues to allow his security apparatuses to terrorize the population.
10-Continues to hold Riad Sief in prison knowing his urgent need for medical care for his cancer.

I can go on father if you wish me too, but I think you get the picture as to those great “balanced” decisions you think Bashar is making.

Cheers

October 11th, 2007, 3:58 pm

 

anotherisraeliguy said:

Alex,

If the regime is corrupt isn’t Bashar responsible? As we say in Israel: the fish stinks from the head.

The excuse you give for not criticizing Bashar is not serious. Just because you think he is a little better than some other presidents is an excuse not to critize him? Do you really see no reason or issue to criticize Bashar on? Wow! There was never a politician, even those I voted for, that I didn’t criticize.

If you really can’t find any issue to critcize Bashar on then you are either part of the regime or afraid or both. I just can’t see any other option.

October 11th, 2007, 10:44 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

You don’t know me enough to “see other options”

My PERSONAL opinion is not exactly to your liking … do I have the freedom to have an opinion that is different from yours without you calling me a regime agent or a coward?

In my opinion you are subconsciously using Democracy as an excuse for not supporting returning the Golan to Syria now (after a negotiated peace agreement with Israel). But you told me that I am wrong. So I accept your statement. I hope you manage to accept mine to, or to simply let it go. After all .. who cares what motivates some “Alex” for what he writes on some blog called Syria Comment?

Bashman,

The key word is “Balanced” … in the Middle East there are rules for playing politics and not losing or not being replaced by another player.

“Balanced” does not mean he was a saint. It does not mean he made everyone happy … in his job, it is impossible to satisfy everyone.

And it does not mean he never made mistakes.

But the way he was portrayed by the Saudis and Americans and Chirac and Jumblatt and Hariri … as a stupid, evil, corrupt, failed, weak thug is simply making me support him more.

I have some tolerance for politicians trying to insult my intelligence. They all do it, I know. But what happened the past few years, starting with Iraq’s WMD evidence .. followed by the Mehlis investigation which Chirac and Bush and King Abdullah completely adopted without questioning its stupidities … then having to watch President Chirac shake his head in disappointment every time they ask him about Syria while he retired into an appartment that was a gift from Hariri! … just like Assad’s other critic, Mr. Khaddam who also criticizes Bashar’s corruption while he sleeps in his Paris apartment gift from Hariri …

Or reading all the Saudi and Egyptian journalists who expressed their disappointment in Syria’s non-democratic system but continued to worship their Saudi King and Royal family members who pay their salaries.

Or Israelis who killed 1400 Lebanese and Invaded Lebanon who continue to criticize him for “interfering in Lebanon” …

Or the Failed American administration that refused to listen to Bashar who was the only one who told them that they can not win the Iraq war in the long run … when they blame it all on Bashar and ignore that most of the violent fighters in Iraq and elsewher in the Middle East are Saudis …

Or Jumblatt who promised to kill Bashar in public! … but accuses Bashar of being a thug without having a single piece of evidence …

So, no I am not saying he was perfect .. I said that given all the garbage around him, he managed really well.

October 12th, 2007, 12:09 am

 

anotherisraeliguy said:

Alex,

Bashar managed well? Your standards are very low. I wish you 1000 more years of great Asad family rule.

If it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck. You sir are part of the Asad regime. You are a front for the regime in the US. This is the only logical conclusion possible.

Using democracy subconciously? How can I become more clear: I do not support negotiating peace with Asad the dictator and giving him back the Golan because it means rewarding a thug and not getting anything in return.

You have convinced me that Bashar has to go. I am now for regime change in Syria. It will never happen without outside intervention. Because of people like you, there is no hope. Bashar is too strong and uses apologists like you to try manipulate the Syrian opposition and the reactions to it.

October 12th, 2007, 2:45 am

 

Alex said:

AIG

Thank you.

My standadrs are high, in my personal life. In Mideast politics of 2000 to 2008 .. my standards are moderate, not low… they are definitely not high… and call them my expectations, not my standards.

I’m sorry. I am an engineer, not a poet… I don’t expect Israel to return the Golan, I don’t expect Syria to become a democracy this year… I don’t expect Saudi Arabia to respect women’s rights, I don’t expect Iran to stop developing their nuclear weapons …

Nothing can be forced … your revolutionary and couraegous solutions translate to many many dead people in the Middle East. If you would like to have democracy in Syria by outside intervention, then your counerpart is a Hamas supporter who wants to take back Jerusalem by force … you are both dangerous… You would love to shape your environment to your liking… and you are both convinced that you are working for a just cause… that makes you very dangerous… just like Presidents Bush (God talks to me) and Ahmadinejad.

When Alon ben Meir, Avi Dichter, Jimmy Carter, james Baker, Bill Clinton, and Germany’s ex foreign minister in addition to Ex American secretary of state Colin Powell all criticize this administration for not talking to Assad … I have to suggest to you again that perhaps you are applying the more primitive defense mechanisms of projection and denial.

Unless all of the above are clueless (as Akbar thinks of anyone who is not an Arab but who supports talking to Syria) or regime front?

Forget Alex .. believe me, my vote is totally not relevant anywhere.

Think of why Colin powell after he left this administration said that this administration is not telling the truth about Syria … that when he met with Bashar in 2003 Bashar offered to help in many ways… but it is this administration that was more interested to start the Iraq war instead.

October 12th, 2007, 3:39 am

 

Bashmann said:

Alex,

I’m neither confused nor upset. You and I see things differently.
You do not trust the US intentions in the Middle-East which is a justifiable position taking into consideration the history of the US biased role towards Israel in the area. I do and I’ll tell you why.

I believe President Bush, whom I never voted for, original intention and challenge to bring democracy into the ME were genuine. Now, before you scream at the top of your lungs saying I’m delusional, let me be clear and on the record regarding the Iraq invasion, I believe it was a grave mistake, I also believe he did it for a personal reason as well as strategic American interests reasons.
The personal one was that he simply wanted to take out the guy(Saddam) who wanted to whack his father in Kuwait a few years ago.
The strategic reasons, and those what really count as solid American strategy, are for the sole purpose of American troops re-alignment from Cold world spots such as Europe to Hot and Important world spots such as ME in order keep up with the US military supremacy around the globe and guarantee energy sources for years to come.
9/11 with the help of AIPAC and the neocon’s surrounding president Bush, offered the perfect opportunity for the taking and the rest is history.

Now this does not mean President Bush had other ideological intentions on his mind. He might have found the time and the place to be perfect for taking on Saddam, but I would not for a minute believe that he planed to re-map the area as many have suggested or worked to guarantee Israel hegemony over the whole ME as Nour suggested. The former has been done a while back after WW1 in a messy fashion that we are still suffering the effects of it today and the US would not risk getting into such a plan to lose an already solid and long relationships with its traditional Arab allies, while the latter is a fact on the ground, Israel already have the upper hand militarily speaking in any conflict that might arise within the next few decades.

With this said, we go back to your “balanced decisions” statement about him. If Bashar was so “reasonable” with Colin Powell, and I do not doubt he was, why would he take the next risky step to form an alliance with Iran? What benefits he expected to reap from allying Syria with an outcast state that is already in isolation internationally and could be the target of the next war? Wouldn’t have been WISER for him to involve the traditional methods of diplomacy by engaging Egypt, Saudia Arabia, and Jordan into working the American Administration to his benefits? He was talking to wrong side of the administration on the impending war but due to his lack of foresight and novice political vision he could not see it. In fact, he did the exact opposite to anger and frustrate the American administration at the time when the rest of the world was getting ready to face another war in the ME.

The US is the sole superpower left in the world, weather you and I like it or not, and in my book I would rather be on its good side in every aspect when it comes to politics.

Therefore, you and I, will never meet when it comes to Bashar’s present and past decisions.

Cheers

October 13th, 2007, 12:15 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Well, if you are an engineer, what is your plan to make Syria a democracy in 10 years, and why do you think it will work?

My plan is foreign intervention. Please suggest a better one.

October 13th, 2007, 1:44 am

 

Alex said:

Bashmann,

Alliance with Iran started in 1979. Bashar did not invent that alliance… he maintained it and reinforced it.

The alliance that he worked hard to build is Syria’s alliance with Turkey… those who want to portray Bashar as a failed reckless novice are focused on his not very popular Iran friends but they conveniently ignore Turkey.

And Qatar! … Before Bashar, Syria was quite unhappy with Qatar’s decisions to establish contacts with the Israelis, and to “host” an American military base. But Bashar gained the friendship of the Emir of Qatar.

So it is not that Bashar was too much of a Baathist. His close friendships to Qatar and Turkey prove that he accepted to respect what is not under his control … Turkey and Qatar who continue to talk to the Israelis.

So the question is, not why did Bashar become Iran’s ally … but why did Bashar not terminate Syria’s 20+ years long alliance with Iran to make the United States happy.

Why?

Because by 2004 Bashar realized that there is nothing he can do to please this administration. They were planning to visit Syria next.

This administration has a spiritual Mideast guide … his name is Prince Bandar… Prince Bandar wants Saudi Arabia to handle everything in the area … even Egypt got sidelined.

But the Saudis failed big time so far. When Gamal Mubarak takes over in a year or two, this administration will be out … the next administration will likely learn from the mistakes and go back to the Egypt + Syria + Saudi Arabia formula.

So the answer to your question is: There was nothing Bashar could have done to please them … not before and not after the Powell visit .. they wanted him out or weak. Turkey and Iran and Qatar and Dubai compensated for the loss of Saudi Arabia.

Do you notice how the Egyptians did not go as far as Saudi Arabia in confronting Syria? … the Egyptians know that they will need to work with Syria again when this madness is over… so they decided to sit on the side and let this administration try its luck .. exclusively with its Saudi allies.

October 13th, 2007, 7:22 am

 

Alex said:

AIG,

My plan is to take it a step at a time … start with the least complex challenges … start with reforms that carry the highest probability of success. Reforms which have the least number of powerful enemies who will oppose those reforms that are not in their best interest.

Before you hope to move in a specific direction, you need to estimate your forces and you need to estimate the forces working against you … if those that you expect to push you back are stronger than you, then you have to find a way to take them out of the “opponents to change” set of forces.

I would identify the prerequisites for the success of each reform objective … make sure they are all achieved before we attempt that change.

Those who work on large complex projects know that you can not simply decide to go for it. You need to use project management tools.

You need to study each reform project and identify its CSF’s

So if you look at “democracy in Syria” as a project, I can tell you that we need to finish the prerequisites (things under our control), we need to wait until the regional environment provide us with favorable states for our critical success variables.

An example of a prerequisite: we need to reform education in Syria … teach our people to respect points of views that they do not agree with … now we simply do not have it…. our history books teach us that Arabs are always right .. they are always the winners of all wars … they are always fair and just and honorable … basically we graduate learning that we are always right and anyone who opposes us is wither an idiot or he is a suspect (traitor …etc)

CSF’s include prerequisites (predecessors) but they also include other critical environmental factors … things that are not directly under our control … for example, in the case of Project Democracy in Syria, one CSF would be a bit of peace and calm in the Middle East… it is like deciding to wait for good weather to paint your driveway… except if you like to paint it under a rainstorm.

—–

That’s my boring, but structured approach … it does not minimize the implementation time, it minimizes risk.

October 13th, 2007, 7:44 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

What you suggest is a 50 year plan that involves deep cultural changes in Syria. You plan maximizes risk because it will mean Syria will not develop in the next 50 years. Can you imagine how far behind it will be then?

Also becareful with your argument. You are arguing that it will take decades until the Syrians or Arabs are ready for democracy. If I would have said it, it would have been racist.

Your only chance is a revolution. The current generation in Syria needs to sacrifice in order for there to be a future for your kids. In 50 years, if it remains under Bashar, Syria will be an awful place on par with Congo.

October 13th, 2007, 2:05 pm

 

Alex said:

It is actually a 200-year plan. “Democracy” as you know, is not something you can cook in a microwave.

You want a democratic revolution today, but most Syrians want peace and stability for now. You want to enlighten them about the benefits of democracy, wait until there is a better ambassador for democracy in the white house. Mr. Cheney is an ambassador for evil, for most Syrians. “democracy” today is a dirty word.

I am not saying that it is impossible to have democracy in Syria, I am saying it is difficult (like it would be anywhere) and it takes time. My guess is that if there is no interference from outside, the new generation of Syrians who are now using the internet everyday, are very compatible with and affected by global habits, values, and ways of life. They are much more fluent in English and they know how to find answers to everything on Google.

We will have democracy … gradually.

And Syria will not be Congo! … remember the China that you were proud that Israel is friendly with?

There are many things to be unhappy about for sure, but the mood in Damascus is much more positive than you imagine. Read what Alix says, and read what the Washington Post reporter who lives in Damascus (not just visiting for a day) said:

I am reminded nonstop that I live among devout Muslims, many of whom were taught to distrust Westerners. Yet the reminders are increasingly drowned out by the boisterous transformation this city is undergoing. Despite American sanctions imposed four years ago, the Syrian economy is booming. Even alcohol is easy to find. A restaurant overlooking the Great Mosque, among the holiest places in Islam, just started serving drinks. This is no Iran or Iraq (even if my worried dad keeps mixing up Damascus and Baghdad on the phone).

According to President Bush’s original plan, Baghdad was to be the next Prague. Once Saddam Hussein was deposed, free enterprise and Bohemianism would sweep away the ghosts of the past. Four years after the arrival of U.S. troops, neither enterprise nor Bohemianism is much in evidence in the Iraqi capital. But next door in Damascus, newfound hedonism is facing Arab hopelessness head-on.

The Syrian capital is enjoying something of a return to historical rank. In the 7th century A.D., it was the capital of the Muslim world, the seat of the first caliphate. Then, in A.D. 750, the capital moved to Baghdad and a rivalry was born, continuing into the 20th century and the establishment of rival Baath parties. With the seat of the second caliphate now brought low, the first is resurgent. Unemployment is still high and oil is in short supply, but Syria is calm. In the Middle East, that counts as good news.

The Syrian government is still following the authoritarian Baathist ideology. And it has built an alliance with Iran that’s straining relations with the United States. But Syria’s shackled stability is a sign of hope to some in a time of vastly downsized expectations.

Syria’s neighbors are paying attention. They see that President Bashar al-Assad is the only leader in the region who’s feeling more secure about his position now than he did a few years back, when analysts predicted his downfall after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Then, Syria was next on the neocon hit list.

How different things look now. Regime change is less likely than at any time since President Bill Clinton left the White House. Assad began his second seven-year term on June 17 (Enrique Iglesias crooned at a post-inauguration party). Television images of Iraq’s mayhem have made many Syrians cautious about swift political change. Rather than feeling emboldened by Hussein’s fall, they’re frightened. Stick with what works, even poorly, seems to be the popular sentiment.

Assad has shrewdly capitalized on this by paying more attention to popular aspirations. He has eased restrictions on free enterprise and on international trade. One of the most isolated places in the Middle East until recently, Syria is importing consumer goods, exporting workers and hosting any cash-laden foreigner who wants in.

There are Saudis — hedonists in the extreme under their white robes. Less welcome in the West after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, they come to the Four Seasons Hotel to find female company. There are also Iraqis, more than 1 million of whom have taken refuge in Damascus, a city of 3 million. Many are poor and uprooted by war, but others have brought in vast amounts of oil money.

And then there are Westerners like me — language students, escape artists, volcano dancers, “Lawrence of Arabia” dreamers. We saw “Syriana.” Perhaps we misunderstood the movie. Everything is connected, the poster said, intimating a conspiracy involving Gulf region princes, CIA operatives, corporate raiders and oil companies.

Everything is connected, just not in that way.

Outside my front door in the Old City, where humans have lived continuously for the past 5,000 years, the giddiness is palpable.

A couple of months ago, I went to a concert in the new Damascus opera house. It’s named after Assad, though he didn’t show up to see the Algerian singer and her Gypsy King ensemble. But in front of me, a Syrian woman in short sleeves jumped up and started dancing in the aisle. The Chinese ambassador to Syria cheered her on as most of the 1,200 people in the audience followed suit.

Pleasure-seeking is not only surviving the mayhem in the region, it’s thriving. At Beit Jabri, a large courtyard restaurant, Saudis, Iraqis, Syrians and Americans are escaping the already oppressive summer heat. Beit Jabri was one of the first private manors to be turned into a business. Now a new boutique hotel, novelty restaurant or Internet cafe is opening every week.

Syrians are rediscovering the Old City, and it’s giving them what they have long lacked: a genuine spiritual but secular center. After decades of neglecting it, they are returning in droves. Here among square miles of bustling souks and car-free colonnades, it’s easy to feel proud, and perhaps to forget impending doom. On evenings and weekends, the narrow alleys are choked with girls in skirts and men carrying cellphones with the latest ringtones. At Mar Mar, a new nightspot near the chapel where Saint Paul was baptized, the proprietor leaves the keys behind for die-hard revelers when he goes to bed at 5 a.m. “Lock up when you leave,” he says and disappears.

The rekindled interest in the Old City has doubled housing prices in the past year. Wealthy Syrians are restoring ancient houses to rent them to nostalgic aesthetes, many of them foreigners. The first moved in around the fall of Baghdad. Today, staff from most Western embassies live in Ottoman splendor, surrounded by stainless steel kitchens and 500-year-old vines.

For centuries, Westerners have played the game: Which city is the Paris of the East? Beirut held the title once; so did Shanghai. But the game has changed. Now you ask: Which city is the Beijing of the (Middle) East?

One might list Dubai and other emirates such as Abu Dhabi, or neighboring island states such as Qatar and Bahrain. But they don’t have the hinterland, the historical roots or the diversity to be anything other than second Hong Kongs. Cairo is equally joyless, and Tehran is in a funk.

Damascus, however, makes frequent public reference to booming Beijing.

The Syrian government likes to invoke the Chinese Model: economic reform first. That may be spin for the benefit of Western investors. But it’s also true — in many mud-brick alleys, there is a sense of possibility similar to what I saw in China, where I lived before moving to Syria.

October 13th, 2007, 4:32 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

For “some reason” you didn’t provide the next sentence:
How long will it last? A monster meltdown of the region could still happen, with sectarian strife spilling over from Iraq. In the Old City, where Christians, Druze, Sunnis and Shiites live side by side, kidnappers, fanatics and throat-cutters are well-known staples of history.

If you want to be serious, be objective and do not quote unfairly. This reporter provides a very partial view of Syria from within the city of Damascus.

Let’s wait 5 years and see if Syria will become China or Congo. My bet is Congo. A country that cannot supply electricity to its people, is not on the right track.

October 15th, 2007, 11:32 am

 
 

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