“We Salute Syria” for its “Generosity” and “Cooperation,” said James Foley

US official hails Syria refugee aid
25 June, 2008, AFP

DAMASCUS: Senior US official James Foley yesterday held talks in Syria on the growing needs of some 1.5mn Iraqi refugees in the country and praised Damascus for its “generosity.”

“We salute Syria, the government and its people for its generosity in welcoming” Iraqis who fled the US-led 2003 war, said Foley, the State Department co-ordinator for Iraqi refugees. “We recognise the considerable burdens that are shouldered here by the Syrian government and its people… (and) are appreciative of the co-operation that we have on this issue,” he added.

Foley made the remarks after talks with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Meqdad — the second meeting since last October – “to assess the needs of the Iraqi’s refugees… and the burden that we face.” “It is the conviction of the US that we have a deep responsibility to… these refugees,” said Foley who is on a regional fact-finding mission. – AFP

Comments (54)

wizart said:

Be Generous, Give Freely, Be Happy
Research Shows Generosity Is a Key to Happiness
© Jerry Lopper

Mar 21, 2008

How you spend your money is a key to happiness.

The universal human quest for happiness just got easier and cheaper. Put off the shopping trip to buy more stuff in hopes of feeling good today. Don’t bother working unpaid overtime in hope of getting a raise that will make you happy. Instead, take the money you would have spent on stuff you don’t need, use the time you would have worked fruitlessly hoping for recognition, and spend both generously on others.

Positive Psychology Research

Positive Psychology researchers find that giving is a key to happiness. Generosity, it seems, brings more happiness than selfish indulgence. Giving just a few dollars or a few minutes to someone else may help you live longer, be happier, and be healthier.

It really is better to give than receive. No longer just a mother’s admonition, but a guide to happiness according to research findings.

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” ~ Winston Churchill

Spending Money: How, Not How Much, Counts

In a March 21, 2008, article, AP writer Randolph E. Schmid reports on research by Elizabeth W. Dunn, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. Dunn, reflecting on studies of how people spend money and how that relates to their happiness “was struck by how big the effect (of giving) was and that how people spent money was more important than how much money they had.”

Another research study conducted by Dunn indicated that giving as little as $5 brought happiness to study participants who used that money to purchase gifts for others, while a corresponding group of participants who used $5 for themselves reported no increase in happiness.

Generous Spending and Happiness

LiveScience staff writer Jeanna Bryner, reporting on this same research in an article of March 20, 2008, indicated “Statistical analyses revealed personal spending had no link with a person’s happiness, while spending on others and charity was significantly related to a boost in happiness.”

It appears that those shopping trips to accumulate more stuff are fruitless and unnecessary in the quest for happiness. Instead of buying something spontaneously for oneself, it’s better to spend that same amount on a gift for someone else or to give the equivalent amount to a charitable cause.

Stephen Post’s Research Findings

A Christian Science Monitor Internet article of July 25, 2007, reports some 500 studies have shown the power of unselfish love. “It’s abundantly clear from a number of studies that people who live generous lives also live happier lives,” says Stephen Post, bio ethicist, Case Western Reserve University.

Post’s recent book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, describes research findings showing that doing good not only brings happiness, but it is linked to living a longer, healthier life.

“Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.” ~ Thornton Wilder

A Philanthropy Experience

In a Primer in Positive Psychology, research psychologist Christopher Peterson indicates that an orientation to the welfare of others is, in the long run, more satisfying than an orientation to one’s own pleasure.

You can experience this for yourself with the following: In the next week, undertake one pleasurable activity for yourself and one philanthropic activity that will benefit another person.

A pleasurable activity is anything that you regard as fun for yourself without being harmful or harmful to others, while a philanthropic activity is something that you do for another that is difficult for the person you’re helping.

Spend about the same amount of time on each activity during the week and at the end of the week jot down your reactions and feelings as a result of each activity.

“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.” ~ Peyton Conway March

June 26th, 2008, 6:52 pm


Alex said:

God bless Syria.

Just imagine what would have happened to all those refugees if a Saudi Arabia or Israel occupied the area that Syria occupies.

The Saudis would not allow a million Shia and Christians to enter … The Israelis would not allow any Arabs to enter.

A strong secular Syria is the best hope for the Middle East.

It would be good too if it was also, to some degree .. eh … a little bit more … democratic 😉

June 26th, 2008, 10:26 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

The above graph doesn’t do justice to the significance of Syria’s goodwill, with respect to the refugees.

After all, the other three countries in the top 4 have much larger populations than Syria. So if we express their refugee intake as a proportion of their population, it is something like this:

1. Syria = 7.5%
2. Iran = 1.5%
3. Pakistan = 1.2%
4. Germany = < 1% The only other country in Syria's league is Jordan, which actually tops it with 8.3%. But this is a good, conciliatory gesture from the United States. It's not like James Foley is unconnected with the Bush administration. He was a Bush appointee as a U.S. ambassador, and a Rice appointee to his current position. See below: ----------------------------------------------------- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Ambassador James B. Foley Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues in September 2007. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Foley was the Deputy Commandant and International Affairs Advisor at the National War College. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Haiti from 2003-2005, and as U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva from 2000-2003. From 1993 to 1996 Ambassador Foley was the Deputy Director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. In Washington, Ambassador Foley served as State Department Deputy Spokesman (1997-2000) and as political advisor and speechwriter to former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger (1989-1993). He served previous overseas tours in Algiers (1986-1988) and Manila (1984-1986). Ambassador Foley has been a member of the Foreign Service since 1983.

June 26th, 2008, 11:42 pm


offended said:

I agree with my friend Alex; despite the limited resources, Syria has managed to host those displaced brothers. If this doesn’t qualify as a humane gesture on the part of the regime (and the people) then what does?

I’d like to know what happens to the chorus of discordant voices, that usually do not spare a chance to lash out at Syria, when they see a post like this one?

June 27th, 2008, 12:20 am


Honest Patriot said:

Alex, Offended, you are absolutely right and every Syrian has the right to feel superlatively proud of his/her country. It is indeed the highest level of humanity and civilization to display such compassion and sacrifice. The least the US could do is acknowledge this fact and indeed they did. Many otherwise 1st world countries can learn a lot from Syria on this front. Today and on this topic we would all be proud to be Syrian.

On a lighter note, what is this I read in Alex’s comment? The ghost of AIG whispering furtively about democracy? Ya Alex, we are all also so proud of you for holding the fort here at SC. You just showed an additional level of intellectual honesty elevating our admiration by “kicking it up a notch.” Ta7yyat wa salamat.

And let’s not forget the necessary clarification by QN which really shows the real picture and which prompted my post.

June 27th, 2008, 1:29 am


Mazen said:

I love going around in Taxis in Syria. Taxi drivers are an excellent representation of any city, and I waste no time in asking them every time I go to Syria.

On the Iraqi refugees, almost all that I’ve heard complained about the increase in real-estate cost that the Iraqis caused, about the excessive traffic due to the huge swell in Damascus. Almost all concluded by saying in sympathy: “God help them” and “They are our brothers”.

And a correction to you, Alex on the Saudi thing. In the aftermath of the 1991 war, close to 12,000 Iraqis (mostly solders) fled to Saudi Arabia. They remained in concentration camps in the desert for years and were not allowed into the country. They had no other alternative but to file for immigration to other countries, which they almost all did. To the best of my knowledge, the Saudis allowed no one in, including the “Sunnis”.

June 27th, 2008, 3:07 am


norman said:

QN ,

What make Syria better than Jordon is that Syria offered free Health care and education to the Iraqis and permitted them to open businesses ,They had to pay for these services in other countries .

June 27th, 2008, 3:10 am


Alex said:


Thanks 🙂

I think you will find this reader comment from 2004 to your liking


AIG too … maybe it will put some doubt into his “regime propagandist” hypothesis.

June 27th, 2008, 4:09 am


Majhool said:

to my knowledge (unless I am mistaken) most Iraqi refuges in Syria are sunnis with large numbers of Christians.


Could you please confirm?

I have a feeling (I hope I am wrong) that if Syria was democratic, Iraqis would not been welcomed at these large numbers. After all Syrians don’t have a say in the matter.

Worth noting is that influential Syrians benefited greatly from the extra demand in the market while average Syrians suffered.

June 27th, 2008, 5:27 am


Zenobia said:

actually, i would like to know that too. Somebody asked me that recently if all or most of the Iraqis staying in Syria are sunni? and I guessed that would be true but I wasn’t sure about it. I mean if you are a refugee , you are a refugee either way so why would that be that more of one group would come rather than the other. Maybe only because the sunni’s were feeling more threatened in Iraq, but does that make sense?> I would think it was the other way around at the beginning.
Also, a lot of Iraqis settled around that famous shrine to Zeinab which is a shia shrine, i believe. So, maybe everybody came but settled more or less in different areas.
but I would love to know the answer to this question as well.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if in fact – it is a mixed group that is living in Syria now. Just like not so old times… : )

June 27th, 2008, 5:43 am


Alex said:

Sunnis, Shia, Christians, Kurds, Sabeans, Yezidis …

June 27th, 2008, 6:12 am


Alex said:

Here is Raghida Dergham … she is not happy with Sarkozy at all.

* ثم أن إيران لم تكن بعيدة عن الهدنة التي تم التوصل إليها بين إسرائيل و «حماس»، مع أن مصر هي في صدارة التوصل إلى الهدنة، إنما بمساعدة جدية من إيران وسورية. وثمن هذه المساعدة آت الأرجح عندما يلتقي الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك مع الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد في العاصمة الفرنسية. فهناك، حسب المصادر، تجدر مراقبة احتمال العناق بينهما وليس مجرد المصافحة. والسبب هو الهدنة ومساهمة سورية فيها من خلال استخدام نفوذها مع «حماس» التي تستضيف دمشق قيادتها. هذا إلى جانب نفوذ إيران مع «حماس» والفصائل الفلسطينية العاملة في لبنان ومركز قياداتها دمشق.
ماذا حدث؟ أحد صنّاع القرارات في منطقة الشرق الأوسط قال إن ما حدث هو أن إسرائيل فضلت التعاطي مع سورية على التعاطي مع لبنان. فضلت «حماس» على السلطة الفلسطينية، وفضلت «حزب الله» على الحكومة اللبنانية.
فالعلاقة التي تُصاغ بين إيران وإسرائيل اليوم تُصاغ، بحسب فاعلين في صنع السياسات، برعاية أميركية يستهلم منها الرئيس الفرنسي نيكولا ساركوزي المُصاب بعقدة شخصية عنوانها الغرور وعقدة سياسية اسمها جاك شيراك.
صراحة الفرنسيين العاديين في وصف رئيسهم نيكولا ساركوزي ووزير خارجيتهم برنار كوشنير بأنهما «مجنونان» صراحة مدهشة، لأن الفرنسيين يقولون ذلك ببالغ الجدية. بعضهم يترحم على شيراك الذي أعطى فرنسا هيبة ونفوذاً ومكانة، البعض الآخر يلومه على سياسات معينة اعتمدها، لكنه يتكلم عن شيراك باحترام ولا يطلق عليه الألقاب التي يطلقها كثير من الفرنسيين على ساركوزي وجماعته.
عندما يتعلق الأمر بالسياسة نحو لبنان، يلوم البعض شيراك على ربط فرنسا بالمسألة اللبنانية لدرجة قصوى ومفرطة في رأيه. هذا البعض نفسه مصاب بالخجل والاحراج نتيجة مواقف وتصرفات ساركوزي نحو لبنان وسورية. فساركوزي هو الذي أعطى الدور السوري في لبنان الشرعية عندما أدخله طرفاً مباشراً في صنع رئاسة الجمهورية. وساركوزي هو الذي يقود حملة تأهيل سورية.

June 27th, 2008, 6:22 am


wizart said:

nice salad bowel. This is what made America.



June 27th, 2008, 6:24 am


Honest Patriot said:

Impressive and very illuminating ya Alex. I hope AIG figures out to scroll down that link you gave above and find your comment.

For Wizart’s comment just above this one, could someone (Alex?) with moderator privilege PLEASE correct the typo in the third word? I absolutely don’t think it was intentional.

June 27th, 2008, 8:55 am


offended said:

Yeah HP, this is one very common spelling mistake.

It’s funny though!

June 27th, 2008, 9:44 am


Qifa Nabki said:

I forgot to put Lebanon in that list:

It takes third place, between Iran and Pakistan, with 1.25%.

Funny story:

Lebanon theme restaurant deals in “Buns & Guns”

June 27th, 2008, 11:51 am


wizart said:

Very perceptive HP. Thanks. I agree w/ you and offended.

Unintentional Humor 🙂

I like the report Majhoul listed above..

“…A worsening of the situation on any one of these issues could translate into large flows of new refugees – most of whom would likely try to enter Syria. If current trends are anything to go by, the newcomers will be poorer, in worse psychological and possibly physical shape, and more desperate than those who have already arrived. One possible consequence could be a shortage of housing options. This would place a large burden on the Syrian government, which could be tempted to respond with collective centers or, even worse for the refugees, camp-like accommodation.”

I hope this colorful ball of salad doesn’t lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS) or worse in the future. Peace is more crucial now.

June 27th, 2008, 11:59 am


Qifa Nabki said:

New Cabinet to Be Announced Soon After Resolving Dispute with Aoun

The new cabinet is likely to be announced within the next day or two after having resolved the dispute with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun over cabinet seats.

The daily An Nahar on Friday said the issue over cabinet portfolios has been settled after Prime Minister-designate Fouad Suleiman agreed to give Aoun a sovereign post – deputy premier.

Aoun’s Orange television station said late Thursday that Saniora dispatched his adviser, Mohammad Shattah, to visit the FPM leader “to discuss suggestions concerning the cabinet make-up.”

Al Akhbar newspaper said the positive change has emerged after President Michel Suleiman and the ruling camp were told that “no way will the opposition approve a cabinet line-up without giving Aoun what he deserves.”

Meanwhile, the daily As Safir said Aoun will hold a round of talks with his allies in the opposition on Friday, while Saniora is expected to hold similar contacts with leaders from the ruling March 14 coalition in light of a threat by Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.

Geagea on Thursday said that his party “should receive a sovereign portfolio if Aoun gets one.”

Geagea stressed that Aoun had “no problem with a sovereign portfolio going to the Lebanese Forces.”

As Safir said that intensified contacts have been carried out over the past 24 hours between Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Druze leader Walid Jumblat, with the latter emphasizing the need to accelerate formation of the new government.

It also said similar contacts took place between Jumblat, Suleiman and Saniora as well as parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri who is in Saudi Arabia on a private visit.

As Safir said the new cabinet formula gives Aoun, in addition to the deputy PM post, the ministries of Justice, Industry, and Social Affairs plus a fourth portfolio currently under discussion.

The daily Al Liwaa said Aoun has Okayed the new proposal under which his parliamentary bloc would be getting five portfolios such as the deputy premier post goes to Issam Abu Jamra.

It said the other ministries were Justice, Industry, Social Affairs and Youth and Sports.

Al Liwaa said, however, that the Justice portfolio was given to Aoun “on condition he names someone accepted by Saniora and one who would facilitate the work of the international tribunal” to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

June 27th, 2008, 12:47 pm


norman said:

QN ,

I thought they were working on that for 4 weeks .

That will be the day!.

June 27th, 2008, 1:16 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

Ammo Norman

I’ll believe it when I see it.

But if Aoun has agreed… that’s really the deal clincher I guess.

June 27th, 2008, 1:27 pm


why-discuss said:

Geagea seems in disarray and jealous watching the high recognition Aoun is getting. If Aoun gets the Justice and reopens Geagea’s file on Karame’s murder, would he be in trouble again? Would the 4 alleged suspects be released? Lots of twists in the next governemnt!

June 27th, 2008, 1:42 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

What Syria is doing is very nice, but as for taking in refugees, Israel took in 50% of the population as refugees and gave them full citizenship! No Arab country has come close. Just as Syria is prepared to take in Arab refugees, Israel would be happy to take in any number of Jewish refugees. But when Israel does that, it asks for no praise and in addition gets resentment in the Arab world. Go figure.

June 27th, 2008, 2:01 pm


offended said:

Katsa, I had a mouthful of a nice comment as a reply to the garbage you’ve just posted. But on a second thought, i think i ain’t gonna stoop to your level this time.

June 27th, 2008, 2:38 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Yes, I know, for you refugees from the Arab world or Europe coming to Israel with nothing but the shirts on their backs are “imperialists” and “colonialists”.

June 27th, 2008, 2:52 pm


ugarit said:

AIG said: “What Syria is doing is very nice, but as for taking in refugees, Israel took in 50% of the population as refugees and gave them full citizenship!”

You forgot to mention that those Jewish European refugees took the place of the Palestinians who were expelled from Palestine by Jewish European settlers. Syria is not expelling anyone.

June 27th, 2008, 4:44 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Most of the refugees were Arab Jews, about 750,000 of them.
And yes, Palestinians were expelled because the Arabs refused the UN partition plan and did not accept a Jewish state in the middle east.

June 27th, 2008, 4:53 pm


ugarit said:

AIG: “Palestinians were expelled ..”

Thank you for your honesty.

June 27th, 2008, 5:33 pm


Montagnard said:


Syria’s recent history (the last 100 years) is consistent in accepting and helping refugees from many countries, ethnic groups and religions. Armenians, Chirkassians, Kurds, Irakis, Palestinians, Lebanese to name some.

Regardless of their origin, or ethnic background and religion, these socalled refugees have been able to have a good life in Syria and have their families integrate in Syrian life and society. Many of them were able to achieve a high degree of success, be it in their professions, public life, financial or even political positions.

On the other hand Israel’s history consists of expelling the Palestinians, confiscating their lands regardless if they were Christians, Muslims, Druze, urban, farmers or bedouions. The same goes for the Golan grab.

Most of the Jewish immigrants to Israel since 1948 are not refugees, but immigrants by choice to settle in Palestine and build a jewish state in accordance with a well funded and developed plan.

When you say Isreal took in 50% of the population as refugees, I assume that you mean the Palestinians that were not expelled in 1948, and were given Israeli citizenship. These non-Jewish-Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have never been allowed to feel equal to Jewish Isrelis.

I thank you for recognising a good deed:
“What Syria is doing is very nice”,
as for the rest of your post, it misses the point intirely.

June 27th, 2008, 5:55 pm


Sami D said:

AIG wrote:

Israel took in 50% of the population as refugees and gave them full citizenship! No Arab country has come close.

Israel took in refugees because it wants more Jews, not because it cared about the well being of Jews. Israel, matter of fact, is delighted to see Jewish refugees — provided they go to Israel. When the western countries like Germany or the US opened their doors to Russian Jews, Israel went ballistic. Demography is the backbone of Zionism. Without Jews willing to come to Israel, there would be no Zionism. Demography (ie, offsetting the number of Palestinians) is so crucial that Israel is willing to even take in non-Jews, like it did with the million Russians it took in during the 1990s, when about 1/3 to 1/2 turned out not to be Jews. Or Israel can send Rabbis to convert Peruvians to Judaism, so it can bring them to lay claim to “the land without people”. Anyone can come in, it seems, so long as they don’t belong to that species of “cockroaches”, “dogs” and “two legged beasts” – the expelled and imprisoned natives.

Furthermore, around 1948 when Israel was taking in Jews and giving them the Palestinians’ homes, lands, crops, bank accounts, shops (those Israel didn’t wipe out while ethnically cleansing the land citing the UN-Res rejection) Israel had a “human quality” ranking preference for the incomers. European ranked highest, Arabs lowest. When the higher quality ones wouldn’t come, Israel began seeking the lower quality ones. (See Tom Segev’s “1949: The First Israelis”)

And when those Arab Jews wouldn’t come, then terrorize them into coming. Like the Iraqi Jewish community (about a quarter of the total Arab Jewish refugees) which seems to have been terrorized inthe late 1940s by the Zionist underground who made it look like the Iraqis did it, to scare them while dropping leaflets encouraging emigration to Israel. Or Israel can use them as spies in their Arab countries, which shows utter concern for their safety, like Israel did in the Lavon or Eli Cohen affairs.

BenGurion summed Israel’s and Zionism’s deep concern for Jewish refugees best: “If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second”.

June 27th, 2008, 5:58 pm


Seeking the Truth said:

Shai said:
Peace with Egypt isn’t real because Egyptians feel it was “forced” upon them??? No, it’s because Egyptians see how Israelis are treating the Palestinians!

AnotherIsraeliGuy, how do you respond to this statement?

June 27th, 2008, 6:41 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

How could this be true? The “intellectuals” (academics, bar association, writers guild etc) in Egypt were against the peace process from the beginning, even before it was signed and before they knew how Israel would treat the Palestinians after the agreement. They were in principle against the peace agreement from the start and not because of how later Israel treated Palestinians. Of course also islamists were against it also and hence murdered Sadat, also before seeing the consequences of the agreement.

June 27th, 2008, 7:54 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sami D.,
We already discussed all the half truths and falsehoods that you peddle. And again, generalizing to all Israelis based on what some say is pure racist.

Syria accepted Arab refugees, Israel Jewish ones. Syria is an Arab state and Israel is a Jewish state. That is only natural.

June 27th, 2008, 7:57 pm


Shai said:


What I claim, and this is something I’ve heard from a number of Egyptian friends in the past, as well as from commentators inside Egypt, is that Egyptians cannot bring themselves to like Israel or Israelis, not because peace was “forced” upon them 30 years ago, but because they see how Israel has been treating the Palestinians over the past 40 years. They cannot get close to Israel while Israel is committing horrific crimes against fellow Arabs.

I imagine Israel would have a hard time making peace with a hypothetical France that was occupying the lands and suffocating the lives of some 3+ million Jews under its control. I know what AIG will say next, so I’ll answer it in advance. He’ll say” “… but you want Israel to make peace with a Syria that subjugates its own citizens – that’s ok for you, right?…” My answer: “Yes, it is.”

June 27th, 2008, 8:43 pm


Darylon said:

QN, …[edited parts for insulting language and needless disparagement of Lebanese and other nice peoples…. by SC]….. This post is about Iraqis and Syrians
Thank you, indeed.

June 27th, 2008, 8:49 pm


JustOneAmerican said:

Off-Topic: Is the RSS feed for this site dead? It hasn’t worked for me in days.

June 27th, 2008, 9:04 pm


AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Egyptians cannot bring themselves to like Israel because of just one reason, because it exists. Why were millions cheering Nasser in 67 when he was talking about throwing the Jews in the sea? Why were most Egyptians by a huge margin for war in 67? There was no “occupation” then was there?

June 27th, 2008, 9:06 pm


SimoHurtta said:

AIG who started the 1967 war or 1956 war? You did start both wars. Do not rewrite the real history.

AIG what was the reason AIG for Israel to attack Egypt in 1956. It would be finally interesting to hear your “Jewish history book’s” reason for that attack. So far you have avoided to answer this reasonable question.

AIG do you know what Israel did get as a reward for that 1956 attack. Well I whisper the answer to you – (in small fonts) secret nuclear reactors and a weapon program = the Jewish nukes (whispering ends). 🙂

June 27th, 2008, 9:45 pm


Alex said:

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sami D.,
We already discussed all the half truths and falsehoods that you peddle. And again, generalizing to all Israelis based on what some say is pure racist.

Peddle? … Half truths and falsehoods? … it was a few of your prime ministers (leaders) who said those things. When you never stopped for the past year invoking a book written by a retired (non elected) Syrian defense minister as an example that Syrians are antisemitic, you have the nerve to reply to Sami that way when he mentioned for the first or second time (compared to your 100 times) quotes from many of your prime ministers (when they were still functioning as elected leaders of Israel)

I guess Zenobia was right yesterday. There is no hope trying to make you respect the rules of this blog.

Write to me an email before you continue posting more comments here.

June 27th, 2008, 10:41 pm


why-discuss said:


While I understand what the jews suffered under the christian racism of Europe, while I communicate and work with Jews as with any other persons during my everyday life, if I meet an Israeli I am immediately disturbed and suspicious. Like the Egyptians I just can’t put aside the memory of the agressivity, arrogance, injustices and horrors Israel has committed (and still commit) to reach what it calls a democracy and a success while repressing a whole population. I guess you, Jews, feel the same when you meet a christian German or Polish who may have been involved in the persecution of your people. I guess Blacks reacted the same when they used to meet a South African person at the time of Apartheid.
I will take a lot for Israel, whenever peace is reached, to get rid of that stigmate and be accepted by arabs as any other country.

June 27th, 2008, 10:54 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Had the pleasure of meeting IDAF in NYC today. During our six hours encounter, Syria occupied 5.99 hours of that total.

June 28th, 2008, 12:02 am


Alex said:

The rest of the six hours was…?

June 28th, 2008, 12:29 am


EHSANI2 said:


June 28th, 2008, 12:51 am


offended said:

I thought in IDAF’s books Syria and Lebanon are the same thing!

June 28th, 2008, 2:26 am


wizart said:

Ball (dance)

Aristocrats gathering around Emperor Franz Joseph at a ball in the Hofburg Imperial Palace, painting by Wilhelm Gause (1900).

Nice picture missing.

A ball is a formal dance. The word ‘ball’ derives from the Latin ‘ballare’ meaning ‘to dance’; the term also derived into “bailar” which is the Spanish and Portuguese word for dance (verb), also in Catalan it’s just the same word, ‘ball’, for the dance event.

Attendees wear evening attire, which is specified on the invitation as black tie or white tie (the most formal). Social dance forms a large part of the evening; actual ballroom dancing may or may not occur.

Ok so it’s not a bowel nor a ball of salad.

I think it’s a bowl of salad. Or a refugee enhanced fruit cake.

So how many Syrian/Israeli balls does it take to make peace?

It depends on the general health condition of each concerned ball.

There are secular, enlightened self-operated internally directed big fatty acid rich balls and there are senior yet immature lesser developped third country fed narcissistic and synthetic bred balls.

Which ones would you vote for?

Have balls? Vote enlightened!

June 28th, 2008, 7:13 am


Qifa Nabki said:

Joshua, yet another news item (from an opposition-friendly outlet, this time) to prove my point about who is the spoiler these days:

وقائع يوم حكوميّ فاشل
عون «يحرج» المعارضة بإصراره على الأشغال والاتّصالات والسنيورة يوقف المفاوضات والمرّ وجعجع يهدّدان بالانسحاب

هل باتت المشكلة داخل المعارضة أم لا تزال بين المعارضة والموالاة؟
السؤال مردّه إلى الأجواء الملتبسة التي سادت بعد ظهر أمس إثر التعثّر الذي أصاب المساعي الأخيرة لتأليف الحكومة. فقد أعلن العماد ميشال عون مساءً أنّ الرئيس المكلّف فؤاد السنيورة طلب من مستشاره السفير محمد شطح الاتّصال بالرابية وإبلاغ من يهمّه الأمر أن العرض الذي سبق أن نقله الى عون وناقشه السنيورة أمس مع القيادي في التيار الوطني الحر جبران باسيل، قد سُحب من التداول.
وقالت مصادر حكومية إن المبادرة التي سحبت لم تكن مبادرة 14 آذار أصلاً، بل مبادرة أتت من المعارضة ونقلها الرئيس نبيه بري الى الرئيس المكلف ومن ثم الى فريق 14 آذار من خلال النائب وليد جنبلاط، بعدما أطلقها إعلامياً عضو كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة النائب حسن فضل الله. وترافقت هذه المبادرة مع تلقّي رئيس الجمهورية ميشال سليمان تأكيدات من جانب المعارضة بأنّ عون موافق عليها، إن أخذت بها الاكثرية النيابية. ولكن ما حصل هو أن العماد عون رفض التعامل معها إلا من ضمن سلة شروط تخص ما يريده من حقائب خدماتية إضافية من جهة، ومحاولته وضع فيتو على نيل الفرقاء المسيحيين في 14 آذار حقائب أساسية، من جهة أخرى.
وحمّلت المصادر الحكومية عون مسؤولية العرقلة وقالت إن المطالبة بالأشغال مع الاتصالات تُعدّ خرقاً للاتفاق الأوّلي مع الرئيس بري الذي رأى أن عرض حقيبة الأشغال جاء ربطاً بأن عون لن يحظى بحقيبة سيادية. ولكن عندما اقتُرح المخرج بأن يأخذ عون الاتصالات أو العدل، كان واضحاً لدينا ـــــ تضيف المصادر الحكومية ـــــ أن الأشغال سوف تعود الى الأكثرية باعتبارها من حصتها الخدماتية.
ومن جانب الرئيس بري وحزب الله، فإنّ الصورة لم تكن أقل تعقيداً، وخصوصاً أن الإحراج بدا واضحاً على موقف الطرفين باعتبار أن المبادرة ـــــ المخرج جاءت على لسان النائب فضل الله، وأن مضمونها يعبّر عن تفاهم تم في الاجتماع القيادي للمعارضة، كما أن بري تناقش مع سليمان والسنيورة وجنبلاط على هذا الأساس. وبالتالي، بقيت مصادر حزب الله وأمل أمس على مسافة من الحدث، كي لا تقع في موقع المطالَب بالدفاع عن المبادرة ـــــ المخرج وبالتالي التصادم مع عون، كما أن تغطية موقف عون تنسف أساس المبادرة وتحمّلها مسؤولية اقتراح غير مضمون مسبّقاً.
لكن عون شرح الأمر وفق قريبين منه على الشكل الآتي:
منذ اليوم الأول، كانت كتلة التغيير والإصلاح تطالب بحقيبة سيادية الى جانب حقيبة خدماتية أساسية. وعندما جرى توزيع الحقائب، أعطت السلطة الكتلة حقيبة الأشغال. لكن رفض الاكثرية إعطاء حقيبة سيادية عقّد الأمر، وجرت محاولة تكبير منصب نائب رئيس الحكومة وتصويره على أنه إنجاز لمصلحة الكتلة، بينما هو أمر واقع في حال توزير اللواء عصام أبو جمرة لأنه أحق بالمنصب بحكم الأقدمية من الآخرين، وتحديداً من الوزير إلياس المر.
وفي مرحلة لاحقة، جرى الضغط على الكتلة والعماد عون للتنازل، وعندما وافق ضمناً على اقتراح أخذ الاتصالات أو العدل، فإن ذلك تمّ بدلاً من الحقيبة السيادية، لا تخلياً عن حقيبة خدماتية. أمّا العرض الأخير الذي نقله السنيورة الى الرابية، فيفرض على عون وكتلته التخلّي عن الحقيبة السيادية وعن الحقيبة الخدماتية أيضاً، وهو الأمر الذي لا يمكن الموافقة عليه.
ويضيف المقربون من عون: «حتى في الاجتماع القيادي للمعارضة، فإن الاتفاق لم يحصل على أساس أن نتنازل نحن عن الحقيبة الخدماتية، وبالتالي عندما شرعنا في المحادثات مع السنيورة كانت الأمور واضحة من جانبنا، علماً بأن الأخير قدم لنا الكثير من المبررات عن عدم إمكان الموافقة على منحنا حقيبة الأشغال لأسباب تتصل بوضع الأكثرية، وبالتالي فإن هذه المشكلة ليست من مسؤولية التيار أو الكتلة».

June 28th, 2008, 12:07 pm


Shai said:


I agree. It will take a long time. But better start now, so that my children and yours might have a chance to respect one another, rather than suspect one another, no?

June 28th, 2008, 6:14 pm


Alex said:

A nice photo gallery … Syrian kurds, Iraqi Yezidis …Assyrians in Iraqi Kurdistan …


June 28th, 2008, 6:21 pm


Nour said:

Nice pictures, although it should be just plain Iraq, and not Iraqi Kurdistan.

June 28th, 2008, 7:57 pm


Karim said:

Alex Bey,
I dont call secularism the minority sectarian monopoly of power as the enemy and the danger were the syrian people.And before Asad my parents and yours were not killing each others but there was guenine and mutual respect between them ,today such feeling is becoming more hypocritical than genuine among Asad era born generations.
Secondly ,the regime erased all secularist movements in Lebanon for the sake of this tumor in our neighbor body called Hizbollah
There are also clear interference of the iranian regime in the religious syrian affairs which happen with the green light and under the cover of bashar regime .It’s not an exaggeration to say that the syrian regime is a servant of the iranian sectarian agenda which is hostile agenda to the people of the region.
Syria is lucky to be without significiant shia community and what interest Syria has in more potential disorders ?
The construction of iranian regime propaganda centers under the excuse of religious tourism is not acceptable and all these iranian husayniyat must be destroyed because they are places of fitna and this is the objective of the iranian regime(and also Israel) in Syria and the arab world.

June 28th, 2008, 9:53 pm


why-discuss said:

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the syrian regime is a servant of the iranian sectarian agenda which is hostile agenda to the people of the region.
It is not an exageration, but it is an absurdity. Please tell me what Iran will do to the region that is so hostile? You mean hostile to Israel, yes, but show me a sign of hostility toward the arab world.
The real hostility comes from the foreign powers who want to benefit from the resources of the region ( oil, water etc..) and who do not hesitate to kill masses people to ensure they can drive their SUV to the malls!
If Saudi arabia has had the monopoly of the religious influence in the region, the disasters that the region have incurred, the hopeless situation of the palestinians calls for fresh initiatives and it is coming from Iran. See how Israel is in disarray about Iran, trying all they can (even dealing with Syria) to stop this power to emerge as the new leader in the region. See how the US and Europe are playing double game, threatening and appeasing. Contrary to the wishy-washy, weak and mellow talk of the Saudis, Iranians are talking tough and it seems to bear fruits as the US and Israel, as we know, understand only tough talk!

June 28th, 2008, 11:39 pm


Karim said:

WHY discuss,the lebanese you are ;know that we have our own Islam in Syria.In fact Damascus was the first capital of the Islamic world and our religious thinkers were among the most important in the islamic world so we dont want to enter in this equation because we have our own traditional schools which are mostly Hanafis and Shafis and Sufi trend is dominant.Sufi Saudis who are numerous in al Hijaz and even moderate wahhabis are close to the Syrian Islam.We dont care about regimes ,Saudis and Syrians as people share religious,family and cultural ties.
There is no place in Syria for Iranian regime style Islam because in its essence it’s anti Syrian Islam.How do u think would be the reaction of the syrian people in front of rafidi shias who curse the wife of the prophet and prophet’s companions and the people of damascus …there will be blood for sure.
Why discuss ,do u beliebe that Iran can be the leader of the region with their small militias of hezbollahs and badr fighting the people of the region ?This is suicidal move for the arab shia minorities in the region and Iran itself is more a country of minorities than Iraq and even Lebanon.
And if the iranians want to attack the small and big shaytans the (their neighbors in Iraq) their adress on earth are known but dont forget the past of this iranian khomainist regime which has long experience of under the table dealings with the israelis and the americans and be careful with what is said in the medias.The iranian regime is not suicidal ,it’s a pragmtic regime and can only survive through a deal with the israelis and the americans.

June 29th, 2008, 12:02 am


Alex said:


I understand your fears of the Iranians and Hizbollah. I spoke to many Shia friends and they also fear the Sunnis like you who are not particularly fond of the “Rafidi Shias”.

I am relatively optimistic that by next year most of these fears will evaporate… there is no place to go … Iran will still be here, and Saudi Arabia will still be here … they will manage to cooperate.

Look at these:

June 29th, 2008, 2:23 am


Karim said:

Alex ,i speak about Syria dont answer me right and left as usual ,stay in Syria …do you agree with me that the alawite regime is playing dirty for allowing these rafidis to promote their hostile propaganda in Syria among the poor shawaya and alawites,the answer will be more hatred toward the alawites.This is good for Syria’s future Alex?
There is no need for us to fear the shias because they are and will remain minorities in the arab and islamic world and small minority in Syria, but as i said no one can deny that there will be blood when we will be fighting hezbollah like groups or when these husayniyat build by the iranian regime will be destroyed.Alex ,Ask bashar this is what Syria need above our socio economical and political problems ?
And Alex ,a rafidi is the accurate word for the followers of safawi shia’ism but no problem with Jaafari mazhab which is not based on the cultre of hatred and the husayniat.
As for your shia friend (if rafidi)it’s normal to fear the syrians because in their books you can read that before their hidden Mehdi show himself the governor of Damascus( a descendant of Yazid) will slaughter them.

June 29th, 2008, 3:43 am


Post a comment

Neoprofit AI Immediate Venture Instant Prosperity