“Who Killed Hariri? The Simplest Theory” By t_desco

Who Killed Hariri? The Simplest Theory
By t_desco
For Syria Comment
May 15, 2009

The recent release of the four Lebanese generals by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) led journalists like Nicholas Blanford and Georges Malbrunot to discover new “intriguing questions” and to speculate about possible motives for the assassination.

I would like to point out that – without having to resort to speculation – it is possible to establish that members of the Nab’a/Taha cell, described in Malbrunot’s article as being allegedly involved in the assassination, had a personal motive for killing Rafiq Hariri: revenge. Hariri executed Salafi mujaheddin in 2004, who were close to them.

Badih Hamadeh belonged to the Dinniyeh group (1). So did Hassan Nab’a (2), emir of the cell that included the man who claimed the attack in a video statement, Ahmad Abu Adas (3). And so did Ahmed Salim Miqati (2), leader of another cell to which Adas was indirectly linked (4).

Prime Minister Hariri signed the execution order for Badih Hamedeh. Hariri’s predecessor as Prime Minister, Salim Hoss, had refused to sign their execution orders because he objected to the death penalty on moral grounds(5).

Hassan Nab’a’s brother Khader, also a member of his cell, was reportedly linked (6) to the assassination of al-Ahbash leader Nizar al-Halabi in 1995 for which three men were hanged in March 1997, among them Afghan veteran Ahmed al-Qassam (7). Two years later, four Sidon judges were killed in revenge (8).

The Dinniyeh group was founded by Afghan veteran Bassam al-Kanj, who died in clashes with the Lebanese army in the mountains of Dinniyeh in January 2000 (9). Ahmed Miqati escaped to the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh (10), whereas Hassan Nab’a fled to Syria (11). Both Miqati and Nab’a were reportedly in contact with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (12), who knew the latter from Afghanistan (13).

In July 2002, Badih Hamadeh shot and killed three intelligence officers, who had wanted to ask him about his links to the Dinniyeh group (1). Ahmed Miqati sheltered him in Ain al-Hilweh (10), but members of other extremist groups, fearing for the safety of their operations in the camp, handed him over to the authorities (14). The Dinniyeh militants reacted by placing a bomb in the Sidon mosque of Sheikh Maher Hammud who had delivered Hamadeh to the authorities (15).

The smoke from from the car bomb that killed Rafik Hariri on 14 Feb 2005

The smoke from from the "car bomb" that killed Rafik Hariri on 14 Feb 2005

Ahmed Miqati reappeared in 2004 when a plot by his cell was uncovered that intended to blow up several targets in downtown Beirut, including the Italian embassy (16).

Some observers like Nicholas Blanford and Jihad al-Kazen have speculated that this may have been the first attempt to kill Hariri because he liked to meet journalists in a café just opposite the Italian embassy building (17).

It is interesting that, according to some reports, the Palace of Justice was also on the list of targets (16). The trial of Badih Hamadeh, his fiancée and her mother was held at a military tribunal in Beirut (10).

On February 1, 2006, Al-Balad received a telephone call from a man claiming to speak on behalf of al-Qa’ida. The caller announced that a security target would be bombed in retaliation for the arrest of the Nab’a/Taha cell (subsequently a small bomb exploded at the Fakhreddine barracks in Beirut). He also demanded the release of Badih Hamadeh’s fiancée and her mother (18). The call was traced to a public phone booth in Ain al-Hilweh (19).

In October 2007, Fida’ ‘Itani published in Al-Akhbar what was said to be the testimony of a Saudi member of Nab’a’s cell, Faisal Akbar (20). He first confesses to having taken part in the filming of the videotape containing the claim of responsibility by Ahmed Abu Adas. Then he retracts his testimony. Concerning the video by Adas, he declares that Hassan Nab’a had told him that Hariri was responsible for signing the execution orders in the Nizar al-Halabi case. He also explicitly mentions Badi’ (Hamadeh) (21).

The statement read by Ahmed Abu Adas does cite the intention to “avenge” the deaths of “martyrs who were killed by security forces” in Saudi Arabia as one of the reasons for the attack (22). Unfortunately, I was unable to find a complete transcript of the statement.

In the final part of Faisal Akbar’s testimony, he also describes a file found on the computers of Khaled Taha and other members of the cell as a sophisticated bomb-making course by Isma’il al-Khatib (23), indicating the existence of a link between the Miqati/al-Khatib cell and the Nab’a/Taha cell.

Ahmad Abu Adas worked at a computer shop owned in part by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sani, a member of the Miqati/al-Khatib cell, in the summer of 2004 (4). Ahmad ‘Isaam al-Saani’a was among those arrested when the plot was uncovered in September 2004 (24). It is possible that at that time Adas was already in contact with extremist groups in Ain al-Hilweh and at Al-Huri mosque, where he sometimes led prayers and where he met Khaled Midhat Taha (25).

Coincidentally, Al-Huri mosque is also the place where Ahmed al-Qassam, Khalid Hamid and Munir Abbud clashed with the Ahbash some years earlier (7), before they were arrested and executed for the assassination of Nizar al-Halabi.

When Bassam al-Kanj visited Lebanon in 1994, he met with several Afghan veterans, among them Ahmed al-Qassam who introduced him to Abu Obeida (26), the deputy leader of Usbat al-Ansar, the same Abu Obeida (Jihad Mustafa) whom Ahmad Abu Adas visited in Ain al-Hilweh years later, according to the first Mehlis report (27). Ahmed al-Qassam went on to serve as liaison between Bassam al-Kanj, the nucleus of the Dinniyeh group in Tripoli and Beirut and Abu Obeida’s group in Ain al-Hilweh until he was executed in 1997 (28).

In conclusion, it is important to stress that while this group did have a motive, that does not automatically mean that they did it, or that this motive was the reason why they did it.



“The Badih Hamadeh Affair

When three military intelligence officers came to his home in Saida on July 11, 2002, to interrogate him on his alleged involvement in the clashes that pitted jihadist Islamists against the army in the Diniyeh region of northern Lebanon (…), Badih Hamadeh killed them and went to hide in Ain al-Helweh. In the camp, he joined the group of Lebanese militants – the “Diniyeh group” – that had settled in the Tawari’ neighborhood, at the northern end of the camp, with Usbat al-Ansar’s support.”

(Bernard Rougier, “Everyday Jihad”, Harvard University Press, Cambridge and London 2007, p.152)


“A fourth group was described by the MLCC (Mount Lebanon Criminal Court; t_d) as “holding leading positions in the armed gang” and was identified as (…), Ahmad Miqati, (…).

A fifth group was described by the MLCC (Mount Lebanon Criminal Court; t_d) as having been trained in the use of firearms but not with having taken part in the clashes. They were identified as (…), Hasan Nab’a, (…).”

(Lebanon: Torture and unfair trial of the Dhinniyyah detainees, Amnesty International, AI Index: MDE 18/005/2003, 7 May 2003)


قرار اتهامي يعرض لنشاطها ولصلتها بـ«أبو عدس» وخالد طه … الادعاء اللبناني: مجموعة الـ 13 تنتمي لـ «القاعدة» …وخططت لاستهداف احدى الطوائف

بيروت الحياة – 07/04/07//

(Google-cache only)

Nibras Kazimi, “Six Degrees of Terrorism: Tentative Link Between Zarqawi’s Al-Qaeda and the Hariri Assassination,” 7 April 2007


“81. (…) The Lebanese investigation further revealed that Mr. Abu Adass had been employed at a computer shop in the summer of 2004, which was owned in part by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sani, who was a member of the Ahmed Miqati and Ismaíl Al-Khatib network.”

(Detlev Mehlis, Report of the International Independent Investigation Commission Established Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1595. 19 October 2005)


“Three executed at dawn in Lebanon, first in six years (…) Capital punishment was rare in Lebanon until a 1994 law effectively renewed the practice. Whereas only three convicts had been hanged in the past 35 years, the law cleared the way for 14 fresh executions. Execution orders were then stopped when Lahoud first took office in 1998 because then prime minister Salim Hoss was an opponent of the death penalty and refused to sign any such orders.”

(AFP, 17 January 2004)


“After a missile attack on Israel from south Lebanon on December 27, 2005, the Organization of al-Qaeda in Iraq, or the Land of the Two Rivers, issued an audio-recording for its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in which he claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was ordered by al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden.

Among the names announced by Lebanese authorities, four of the suspects were Lebanese nationals. (…) Among the Lebanese were Khader and Malek Nab’a, who are relatives of the suspects in the Dinnieh incidents of 2000 (see the indictment in Lebanon-based al-Nahar newspaper, July 11 2000).

In addition, Khader Nab’a is associated with the appearance of the Salafi-Jihadist movement in Lebanon, when the leader of the al-Ahbash religious sect, Nizar Halabi, was assassinated in 1995.”

(Murad Batal al-Shishani, “Al-Qaeda’s Presence in Lebanon“, Terrorism Focus Volume 3, Issue 4, 31 January 2006 , Jamestown Foundation)


“The Lebanese public first heard Abu Mahjin’s name at the end of 1995, several months after Shaykh Nizar al-Halabi was assassinated on August 31. The security forces arrested five young men, three Lebanese nationals and two Palestinians. Before taking violent action, these men had been harassed by the Ahbash in the mosque of Beirut’s Arab University, in the heart of the popular Sunni neighborhood of Tariq al-Jidaydeh, where Islamist groups usually control street politics. (…) The tribunal also issued death sentences for three of the five men arrested. The sentence was carried out on March 24, 1997: the three Islamists – a Palestinian, Munir Abbud, and two Lebanese men, Ahmad al-Qassam and Khalid Hamid – were hanged at dawn in the courtyard of Rumiyyeh Prison.”

(Rougier 2007, p.119, 120)

Note: The mosque of Beirut’s Arab University = Al-Huri mosque.


“In the Usbat al-Ansar network, for instance, members of a “military wing” took the initiative, on June 8, 1999, to machine-gun four judges while they were in session at Saida’s Palace of Justice, probably to avenge the execution of four (sic; t_d) Islamists sentenced in 1997 after the murder of Nizar al-Halabi, the leader of al-Ahbash.”

(Rougier 2007, p.103)


cf. Rougier 2007, Chapter 7, Underground Jihad in Sir al-Diniyeh, p. 229ff.


Abu Obeida (Badih Hamadeh; t_d) Pleads Guilty to Murdering 3 Soldiers, Tells How

Fundamentalist activist Abu Obeida has pleaded guilty to killing three Lebanese army soldiers in Sidon and described to a Beirut military tribunal how he carried out the tripartite murder in the presence of his Palestinian fiancée and her mother. (…)

“I then ran into the garden, climbed over the fence and sprinted to the Ein El-Hilweh camp, where Ahmed Mikati and Saadeddine Seiss sheltered me in a mosque,” said Abu Obeida, who, if convicted, could be executed by a firing squad.

Mikati and Seiss are the leaders of the so-called Dinniyeh group of fundamentalists who flood (“fled”; t_d) north Lebanon’s Dinniyeh mountains after an Islamic anti-government insurrection that the army crushed in the first week of 2000. Mikati and Seiss are standing trial in absentia.

Abu Obeida’s fiancée, Sohair Saeed, and her mother Nayfeh Qanwan, both pleaded not guilty to a charge of helping Abu Obeida shoot the three troopers at the midnight of July 11-12. The court adjourned until Sept. 17 for defense hearings.”

(Naharnet, Beirut, 23 September 2002)


“Arrestation de membres proches d’el-Qaëda venus de Syrie ?

Les services de sécurité libanais ont arrêté 18 salafistes qui seraient liés au réseau el-Qaëda, dont certains membres pourraient être liés à l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri. Dans un reportage diffusé jeudi par la LBC, et dont les informations ont été reprises par le quotidien koweïtien al-Raï al-Aam, les membres de deux groupes salafistes qui se sont infiltrés au Liban via la Syrie ont été arrêtés au cours des derniers jours par les Forces de sécurité intérieure. […]

Il s’agit de Hassan Mohammad Nabaa, « l’Émir » du groupe (le chef dans le jargon salafiste). Ce dernier avait pris part aux événements de Denniyé en 2000, avant de fuir en direction de la Syrie. Son frère a été arrêté lors des manifestations de dimanche dernier à Achrafieh. […]

Les mêmes sources ont en outre révélé que les deux personnes les plus dangereuses de ce groupe, Bilal Zaaroura et Khaled Taha, seraient toujours en fuite. Ces derniers sont entrés au Liban en décembre dernier. […]”

(L’Orient-Le Jour, 11 Février 2006)


“Tre dei dodici estremisti salafiti fermati nei giorni scorsi a Beirut hanno ammesso l’ appartenenza al commando suicida che agì in Iraq. Li guidava Ahmad Salim Miqati, uomo che i servizi segreti ritengono legato ad Al Zarkawi.”

(Terroristi arrestati: «Colpirono a Nassiriya», Fiorenza Sarzanini, Corriere della Sera, 25 settembre 2004, Pagina 8.

Testimony of Nab’a cell member Faisal Akbar, translated by Nibras Kazimi:

(Faisal Akbar:) “A: (…) The letters, which you have shown me, and that I have recognized them, are letters from the brothers in Usbet al-Ansar in the Ain al-Helwah Camp to Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, through Rashid, (while) the letter addressed to “the Hajji”, which is an alias for Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, and the letter to Abu Laith al-Nejdi, who was martyred (later), these two letters (belong) to Rashid.”

(Nibras Kazimi, Narrative of a Conspiracy, Part 4)


“Q: Where did you meet Rashid and how and when?

(Faisal Akbar:) A: I met Rashid who is in your custody and now I found out that his name is Hassan Naba’a, in Afghanistan during the year 2000 in one of the training camps and we stayed together for approximately five months, then Abu Musa’ab al-Zarqawi sent him to Lebanon to organize groups to prepare the ground for the jihad in Lebanon, so Rashid arrived and he was called at the time “Abu Muslim”.

(Nibras Kazimi, Narrative of a Conspiracy, Part 4)


cf. Rougier 2007, The Badih Hamadeh Affair, p.152ff.


Arafat loyalists fight hardliners linked to al-Qa’ida

By Robert Fisk at the Ein al-Helweh refugee camp, Sidon, Lebanon


The Jaamat men have threatened to turn the camp into a bloodbath. Indeed, when another of their members, Badi Hmadeh, was turned over to Lebanese police last month, its leader, Ahmed Miqati, warned he would transform the camp into “another Afghanistan”. The trouble is, these few armed and very strict Muslims could provoke a great deal of killing. (…)

As for the men of the Jaamat al-Noor, they have told their friends that they do not recognise Syria, Lebanon or Palestine, that “we live in Allah’s wide dominion and implement his decree”. Their wives wear the chador. Their homes are decorated with pictures of Mr bin Laden. In protest at the arrest of Badi Hamadeh, they left an explosive device in Sidon – inside the city’s al-Quds mosque.”

(The Independent, 16 August 2002)

Palestinian Fanatics Threaten to Turn Lebanon into ‘Pool of Blood

(…) “We have addressed a warning to Hammoud for his betrayal two weeks ago,” said Osbat Al Noor’s statement, referring to a bomb found at the bottom of the rostrum that Hammoud uses to deliver his sermons at Sidon’s Al Quds mosque, two days after Abu Obeida’s arrest.

“It seems, however, that this warning was not enough to stop Maher Hammoud from conspiring with several factions in the camp to turn over the Dinniyeh group,” the statement said. “We declare that we will turn Ein El-Helweh and the whole of Lebanon into a pool of blood if the conspirators press ahead with their plots,” the statement threatened.”

(Naharnet, Beirut, 12 August 2002)


“Lebanon’s Minister of the Interior Elias al-Murr said Isma’il al-Khatib was among 10 people arrested on 22 September, apparently for alleged links to al-Qa’eda and an alleged plan to attack the Italian and Ukrainian embassies, the Palace of Justice and other government security buildings in Beirut.”

(Lebanon: Amnesty International demands independent investigation into death in custody and end to incommunicado detention, Amnesty International, 30 September 2004, AI Index: MDE 18/011/2004)


“Without knowing it, Elias Murr thwarted the first, or original plot to assassinate Rafik Hariri, which had it succeeded, would have done away with the country’s entire future, by striking at the Beirut Central District, the symbol of Lebanon’s recovery.

The Italian Embassy in Lebanon faces the Parliament building at Nejmeh Square and is next to St. George Eastern Orthodox church and the Etoile coffee shop where PM Hariri used to meet friends and journalists upon exiting Parliament. If a ton of explosives had gone off there, the destruction would have been devastating, right in the heart of the capital, and would have killed hundreds.”

(Jihad al-Khazen, The International Investigation and Old Security Files, Al-Hayat, 2 November 2005)

Note: In an apparent misreading of the Mehlis report, the article wrongly states that Ahmed Abu Adas was “part of” “the Ahbash”.


“Blast near Lebanese army post after al Qaeda warning

By Nadim Ladki

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A bomb exploded near a Lebanese army barracks in Beirut early on Thursday, shortly after a purported threat by al Qaeda to attack security installations in Lebanon.

Security sources said the night blast slightly wounded a soldier, wrecked a car and blew out windows in nearby buildings.

They said a local newspaper had received a telephone call from someone claiming to speak on behalf of al Qaeda and declaring that a security target would be bombed in Beirut in retaliation for the arrest last month of 13 group members (the Nab’a/Taha cell; t_d). (…)

Al-Balad newspaper reported in its morning edition that it had received a telephone call in which a man claiming to be al Qaeda’s representative in Lebanon gave the authorities two weeks to release two women detainees.

“The caller threatened to launch three qualitative military operations simultaneously and clash with the security forces if the two women … are not freed,” al-Balad said in a report.

The women are the fiancee and her mother of an al Qaeda member (Badih Hamadeh; t_d) who was recently executed for killing three military intelligence agents.”

(Reuters, February 2 2006)


Two Suspected Qaida Members Held Over Army Barracks’ Bomb

Military Examining Magistrate Rashid Mizher questioned two alleged al-Qaida network members suspected of detonating a bomb near an army barracks in Beirut two weeks ago.

Khalil al-Sowda and Abdel-Rahman al-Jasser, both Palestinians, are also suspected of hurling hand-grenades near Lebanese army checkpoints outside the Palestinian Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in the outskirts of Sidon. (…)

An army statement issued later Thursday said investigators traced the call made to al-Balad newspaper to a public phone booth in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh. The camp near the southern port city of Sidon is known to be a hotbed for fugitives and Islamic extremists.”

(Naharnet, Beirut, 16 February, 2006)


رحلة فيصل أكبر من السعودية إلى سوريا فبيروت

فداء عيتاني

مالك نبعة ينفي التُهم وأكبر يعترف بتجهيز أبو عدس

فداء عيتاني


السعودي أكبر يعترف بتفاصيل التفخيخ والاستطلاع وتنفيذ الاغتيال

فداء عيتاني


السعودي أكبر يتراجع عن اعترافاته ويدلي بما هو أخطر

فداء عيتاني


Translated by Nibras Kazimi, Narrative of a Conspiracy, 5 November 2007


“Q: What did you see on television when Ahmed Abu Ades appeared, and what do you remember of him?

(Faisal Akbar:) A: I remember watching him on the Aljazeera channel, in a film cut up into two or three segments, reading a statement (on behalf) of the Nusra wel Jihad group, taking responsibility for the Hariri assassination. I don’t remember all the reasons, but I remember some of them that revolved around the revenge for the martyrs of the haramein (Translator’s Note: the holy cities of Mecca and Medina), and it was widespread among us that Hariri had signed the execution (orders) for some of the Salafist mujaheddin in Lebanon. (…)”

“(Faisal Akbar:) A: No one was with us, and Rashid said at the time, after the film was played on Aljazeera, that “Hariri was implicated and responsible for signing the execution (orders) for the mujaheddin in the Nezar al-Halabi case” and I hadn’t known about this matter until Rashid told me about it.


A: I certify to you that what I mentioned now is honest and true, and what Rashid had mentioned about the execution of the mujaheddin in the Nezar al-Halabi case is what I learnt from him. As for what (I meant) by widespread, are the executions in general, which Hariri signed, and they concern past Lebanese mujaheddin like Badi’ or Wadi’.”

(Nibras Kazimi, Narrative of a Conspiracy, Part 4)


“To support our brother mujahidin in the land of the two holy mosques and to avenge their righteous martyrs who were killed by security forces of the Saudi regime in the land of the two holy mosques, we resolved, after relying on Almighty God, to carry out fair punishment against the agent of this regime and its cheap tool in Greater Syria, the sinner and maker of illegal money, Rafik Hariri, through the implementation of a resounding martyrdom operation.”

(Nicholas Blanford, Killing Mr Lebanon, London, Tauris 2006, p. 141)


(Faisal Akbar:) “A: (…) As for the studies that were saved on the computers of the guys, these are modern combat studies, like the seminar of the martyr Isma’il al-Khatib on assembling electronic circuits to attach to explosives, and seminars on making explosives, and seminars on advanced communications equipment.”

(Nibras Kazimi, Narrative of a Conspiracy, Part 4)


نص القرار الإتهامي لقاضي التحقيق العسكري الأول في لبنان بحق35 شخصا من شبكتي أحمد المقياتي وإسماعيل الخطيب بتهمة التخطيط لتفجير السفارتين الإيطالية والأوكرانية في لبنان

صيداويات – الثلاثاء 04 كانون ثاني 2005


“174. (…) Khaled Midhat Taha, another religious associate of Mr. Abu

Adass’s, (…). Mr. Taha met Mr. Abu Adass when they were students at

the Arab University where they used to meet in the University’s mosque.”

(Mehlis I, October 2005)


“During his 1994 stay in Lebanon, Basim al-Kanj had met demobilized Afghan veterans who had returned to their homeland. Thanks to one of them, Ahmad al-Qassam, whom he had met in Peshawar – and who was executed on March 24, 1997, for having participated in the assassination of Nizar al-Halabi, the head of al-Ahbash – he met Usbat al-Ansar leaders for the first time in the Ain al-Helweh camp. He met the group’s emir, Abu Mahjin, and his lieutenant, Abu Ubayda, also known as Jihad Mustafa, the head of the clandestine organization’s military wing.”

(Rougier 2007, p.233)


“80. (…) According to Mr. Abdel-Al, he obtained information about Mr. Abu Adass’s background, (…) the fact that he often went to Ein al Helwa, (…) and that he visited Abu Obeida (deputy to the leader of Jund al Sham).”

“197. (…) the Al-Ahbash Security Service had seen Mr. Abu Adass before the assassination in the Ain Al-Hilweh Palestinian camp together with Abu Obeida the deputy leader of the terrorist group Asbat al Ansar.”

(Mehlis I, October 2005)


“After Basim al-Kanj left for the United States in 1995 (to establish the “Boston al-Qa’ida sleeper cell”; t_d), Ahmad al-Qassam appointed people close to him to develop ties with Abu Mahjin’s group. Umar Yi’ali commuted between Tripoli and Ain al-Helweh, (…). Ihab al-Banna (…) also went back and forth between Ain al-Helweh and the capital to maintain ties with Usbat al-Ansar. After Ahmad al-Qassam was executed in 1997 for the assassination of Shaykh al-Halabi, Basim al-Kanj, who was now settled in Beirut (he returned to Lebanon in 1996; t_d), asked Ihab al-Banna to become the main liaison with Ain al-Helweh. Banna went to the camp at least once a month to give religion lessons to Abu Ubayda (…).”

(Rougier 2007, p.235)

Comments (142)

Alex said:

For those who claim that these extremists are not capable of successfully organizing the Hariri assassination:

From the Wikipedia link:

The Dinniyeh Group was a group of 200-300 Islamist militants led by Bassam Ahmad Kanj. In January 2000 The Dinniyeh Group launched a failed attempt to create an Islamist mini-state in northern Lebanon.[1] The militants seized control of dozens of villages in the mountainous Dinniyeh district, east of Tripoli before being defeated by a force of 13,000 Lebanese soldiers in several days of intense combat.[2] After the fighting members of The Dinniyeh Group who were not killed or captured fled to Ain al-Hilweh. According to court documents from judicial proceedings against captured members, the group had received financial support from associates of Osama bin Laden through bank accounts in Beirut and north Lebanon.[3] In 2005, members of the group were released by a parliamentary resolution after the 2005 elections which also pardoned the most powerful anti-Syrian Christian leader Samir Geagea.

May 15th, 2009, 7:29 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Amazing research and thorough analysis. Regardless of whose evil mind did such a crime(s), t_desco’s piece above is a treasure of information and facts. I bow in respect to his great effort. Cheers!

May 15th, 2009, 7:34 pm


qunfuz said:

great work, T Desco. What of Salafi logistical capabilities?

(on a tangent – I don’t understand why Robert Fisk hasn’t seen fit to even report on the theory that Salafis are guilty of the assassination)

May 15th, 2009, 7:36 pm


norman said:

DR Landis is in the news,

Syria Looking for Improved Relations with Obama Administration
Interviewee: Joshua Landis, Co-Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor, CFR.org

May 15, 2009

Syria is a major part of the Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East, says University of Oklahoma Professor Joshua M. Landis, who publishes the blog Syria Comment. “Syria is at the center because Syria has its finger on a number of issues that are key to America’s new approach to the Middle East: Lebanon, the Iraq border issue, negotiations with Israel and Hamas, as well as Iran,” he says. The Syrian government would like to have improved relations with the United States, but just when the Syrians thought they were starting a dialogue with Washington, the Obama administration renewed sanctions against it, sparking anger. “They want the United States to stop treating Syria like a rogue state and start showing it respect,” he says. As for Lebanon, where Syria has less influence than it had in the past, he says that the United States seems pleased that Syria has not interfered in the parliamentary elections which take place on June 7.

Recently, Syria has been visited by an interesting list of visitors, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, King Abdullah of Jordan, and a pair of U.S. officials–Jeffrey Feltman, acting assistant secretary of State for near eastern affairs, and White House National Security Council Middle East expert Daniel Shapiro–making their second trip in two months. Is Syria at the center of Middle East diplomacy?

Syria is at the center because Syria has its finger on a number of issues that are key to America’s new approach to the Middle East: Lebanon, the Iraq border issue, negotiations with Israel and Hamas, as well as Iran. For the first time ever, there were small-scale joint military exercises between Turkey and Syria last month, which upset the Israelis. And Syria, of course, is a very important supplier of arms to a number of radical groups.

What does Syria want?

There are several scenarios. The Syrians want improved relations with the United States. They want the United States to stop treating Syria like a rogue state and start showing it respect. This is where the U.S. sanctions, which were renewed last week [as they were about to expire], have become a real spanner in the works.

Let’s review U.S.-Syria relations. There have been these two visits by Feltman and Shapiro, after years of being ignored by the Bush administration. The second visit ended the day before Obama signed into law a renewal of sanctions against Syria that the Bush administration and Congress had put into effect.

I am told by authoritative Syrian officials that Feltman and Shapiro landed in Damascus to announce that Obama would be renewing sanctions the next day, and asked Syria not to pay any heed and to understand that this was pro forma. Yet there was no softening of the language: “The actions of the government of Syria in supporting terrorism, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, and undermining U.S. and international efforts with respect to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” This was the original language by the Bush administration, and it restates that and says because Syria hasn’t changed its behavior, this national security emergency has to go forward. The Syrian point of view was “Okay, we understand. But do something for us. Change the language. Say we are renewing this, but relations are improving and we hope that by the end of the year we can change this. Give us some hope; don’t just use the big stick.”

The Syrians were very upset by this, and one official said to me, “How dare they arrive on our doorstep, treat us this way, and then think that we’re going to then sit down and sign an agreement on the Iraq war?” I’m told that’s what the agenda for the meeting was: the Iraq situation, intelligence sharing and security issues. It was about sharing intelligence over the border and trying to put a serious stop to infiltration of fighters. This can be fixed, and the Syrians are ready to fix it. They were eager to sign this agreement and to start acting on it. But understand that all of this is now going to be reviewed in Syria.

Isn’t it just a coincidence that the sanctions came up for renewal at this time? If the White House had not renewed the sanctions, they would have disappeared.

I guess so. It’s just very bad timing. The Syrians are deeply insulted and feel like America’s not really changing anything. I think they were told not to worry about this; there’s not much that Obama can do right now, and he’s not prepared to take on a big battle about this kind of stuff at this moment.

Where do we stand on the Syrian-Israeli negotiations for a peace agreement, including the return of the Golan Heights, captured in 1967, that were being mediated by the Turks but which broke off during the Gaza fighting in December and January?

Nobody knows. I’ve asked that question of the Syrians, and they say that it’s too early and we don’t know because [the new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is just settling in. They say we’re hearing contradictory statements out of him all the time. He recently said that he would never give the Golan Heights back. This doesn’t look promising. The Americans and Syrians haven’t really gotten to this discussion. I think this is a problem because Syria wants to have a larger agreement, encompassing the return of the Golan, in which America would make certain assurances about what it can do about the Golan. Of course Syria partially supports Hamas and Hezbollah, which America has defined as [sponsoring] terrorism but which Syrians define as national liberation and the right of Arabs to resist occupation. This is what undergirds the sanctions against Syria. America is asking Syria to stop supporting radical groups, but the United States can’t or doesn’t want to make any commitments about returning the Golan, and Syria can’t give up its only leverage against Israel without any assurances about the Golan. At the end of the day, there’s great distrust on both sides.

King Abdullah in an interview with the London Times after his meeting with Obama described a “57-state solution” whereby all the Arab and Muslim states would recognize Israel in return for Israel agreeing to a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders and the return of the Golan. This is an enlargement of the Arab League proposal. What’s happening on this negotiation front?

Obama says he wants peace with a new approach to the Islamic world. He’s stressed his interest in the greater Islamic world and will be giving a speech in Egypt next month. I think the Arab leaders are looking at that and thinking, “Let’s try to create context. Instead of letting the Americans create a proposal. Let’s tell them what we want.” As you say, there’s this Arab peace proposal that’s been on the books since 2002 where all of the Arab countries agreed that they would recognize Israel within the pre-1967 borders if Israel returns the occupied territories. It was a unified statement by the Arab world. Now, America’s allies–Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan–who have been [unfazed] by the Netanyahu victory, are looking for a way to get back to the center of negotiations. They need something to work on to show their people that they’re moving ahead with a viable alternative.

Netanyahu’s notion is that we’re not ready to talk about land because there’s so much insecurity. The Palestinians and Syrians have to prove themselves by changing their regional alliances and showing that they’re in control of security.

Let’s talk about Lebanon, where there are parliamentary elections on June 7. After the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, an action blamed on Syria by the United States and France in 2005, Syrian troops were forced to pull out of Lebanon. What is Syria’s relationship with Lebanon like right now? Are they trying to influence the elections?

I think everything is running smoothly. The Americans have been very anxious that Syria would somehow intimidate the electorate and there would be violence during the election. Syria said there’s not going to be any violence and in fact things are going well. I think this is one issue on which Feltman and Shapiro were quite positive. I’m told they told the Syrians they were happy with what’s going on in Lebanon. The Syrian point of view is that it’s got all of its cards covered in Lebanon. The major Syrian concern over the last two years is that Lebanon not be used against it.

Who’s in the running to be prime minister?

Najib Mikati is a big industrialist who owns part of the Syrian telephone industry. He’s big money, and he has a lot of interest in getting along with Syria. He’s been prime minister before, and he did a good job. He could be the prime minister if the opposition prevails.

Is Saad Hariri, the son of the martyred former prime minister, trying to become prime minister?

Hariri would like to be prime minister, and should the March 14 coalition win, he might become prime minister. But if the election is close and the opposition wins, the notion has been floated that he’d become prime minister anyway. This would be a way to keep America happy and say “we aren’t spoilers who want to rub pro-American noses in the mud.”

May 15th, 2009, 7:49 pm


Joshua said:


This is an excellent summation of the detailed and pains-taking work you did over several years following the Hariri murder. How do you explain the fumbling efforts of Lebanon’s security heads forllowing the bombing? They failed to cordon off the murder site or to prepare for a proper investigation? Many interpreted their incompetence to be part of a larger conspiracy that implicated not only the Lebanese state but also Syria.

Is it possible that the four Lebanese generals did not know who murdered Hariri? Is it possible that they could have wondered themselves whether Syria was involved, as did so many others, and thus dragged their feet? Could this confusion have made them appear criminally involved when, in fact, they were not and had no more clue than anyone else what was going on or who was behind the murder?

Certainly, if this were the case, their confusion would not absolve them from gross and perhaps intentional negligence and mishandling of the crime scene, but if would explain their behavior as well as explain why the investigation has not found evidence to implicate them in the crime.

May 15th, 2009, 8:18 pm


Off the Wall said:

Superb work. What makes it even more compelling is the public domain source of the information. I add my voice to that of Qunfuz in questioning Robert Fisk’s inability to see this possibility. May be has been very busy dining with my friend this and my friend that.

May 15th, 2009, 8:18 pm


Jad said:

Very good investigation T-Desco, Thank you.
I have couple issues to point out:
1- I agree with Dr. Landis that the four generals add more confusion to the whole process and in that case they have some responsibility for the enormous pressure Syria went through.
2- Why all those facts you wrote about were dismissed at an early stages, even later by Bremertz if they were that essential to the investigation? Could’ve been to point to Syria as the only suspect? Why?
3- Is there any possibility that some ‘international/domestic’ organizations knew about the plan and helped with money+technology in the backstage to add all kinds of confusion using this group to carry out the assassination to get where we are right now?

May 15th, 2009, 8:47 pm


Akbar Palace said:

And now the biggest surprise of all (while we’re still trying to solve the Hariri murder):

Syria: Israeli government not a good peace partner


I don’t know about you, but this news almost left me falling out of my chair. Kudos to the Syrian leader for life…

May 15th, 2009, 10:56 pm


majid said:

T_DESCO speculates and Syriacomment orchestra celebrates. Justice is served a la Syria style!!!
While at it, speculating, could you T_DESCO apply your brilliance to solving these other cases?
When done with these most recent cases in the above link, could you (T_DESCO) then start working on these other murder cases:
Rene Moawad, assassinated 22 Novemebr, 1989 only 17 days after being elected President of Lebanon. Syria didn’t like him
Hassan Khaled, Grand Mufti of Lebanon, assassinated May 16, 1989. Syria didn’t like him.
Bashir Gemayel, elected President of Lebanon Aug. 23, 1982. Assassinated Sep. 14, 1982 along with 26 others. Syria didn’t like him but doesn’t care about the 26 others.
Kamal Jumblatt, Leader of Lebanese national Front. Assassinated March 16, 1977. He strongly opposed Syrian invasion of Lebanon. Therefore Syria didn’t like him for a very good reason.
Danny Chamoun, Leader of the National Liberal Party. Assassinated Oct. 21, 1990. Syria didn’t like him.

I’m also curious if you (T_DESCO) can shed some light on the attempted murders of Marwan Hamadeh (2004), MP and ex-Minister (Syria didn’t like him) and May Shidyac (2005), Journalist (Syria didn’t like her either)

After you completely solve these mysteries please have a look at these two reports that apparantly tarnish syria’s reputation ‘without any justification whatsoever’:
here and here

May 16th, 2009, 12:10 am


Ford Prefect said:

All analyses of the Hariri murder should be put in the context of what was happening in the Middle East between March of 2003 and the early months of 2005.

Let’s not lose sight of the grand mess that Bush and his Dick had created in the region with their sick and evil plot to re-arrange the Middle East (some grand design we now have!).

Thanks for the list of assassinated Lebanese politicians. I am sure it was just an honest oversight on your part that you forgot to include the following people, who were also assassinated by criminal hands, some of which are still serving in today’s Lebanese Parliament:

Tony Frangieh, 1978
Elie Hobeika, 2002
Rashid Karami, 1978
Danny Chamoun, 1990
Saleh Al Aridi, 2008

May 16th, 2009, 1:00 am


Ford Prefect said:

Akbar Palace,
I highly recommend you invest in a harness to keep you securely fastened to your seat – we certainly don’t want you to fall off (your seat, that is).

This is because Syria and its president will be full of surprises in the coming months.

May 16th, 2009, 1:05 am


majid said:

Thanks Ford Prefect. No it was not an oversight on my part not mentioning those murdered politicians that you listed. Danny Chamoun is mentioned in my list. We know who killed the others that you mentioned. I only listed the apparently mysterious killings that we still ‘don’t know’ who killed them or ordered their killing. Thanks again.
But you may add Nazim Kadry, MP assassinated 1989. Syria didn’t like him either. That was an honest oversight.

May 16th, 2009, 1:33 am


Chris said:


First I clicked on Majid’s link to a listing of assassinations of politicians (nearly all of whom were anti-Syrian) and then I clicked on your link and I too nearly fell out of my seat. Reading that headline made me feel as if I were reading The Onion.

Folks, outside of Syria Comment, I don’t think I can find a serious analyst who believes that Syria did not kill Rafik Harriri. People don’t seem to argue about this anymore. People mention the killing of Rafik Hariri and don’t say “allegedly” anymore. However, it is amusing to engage in these little games of “oh, what if some Salafists from Tripoli did it.” What if Hezbollah did it? They had the motive. Perhaps some property owners in downtown Beirut did it, they certainly had a motive as well. Oh I got it the Israelis killed Rafik Harriri and were working with the Iranians in an effort to keep the Arab nation from unifying and challenging the Western imperialists.

May 16th, 2009, 1:48 am


Ford Prefect said:

Great! Since you know who killed the others that you didn’t list, maybe you can tell the readers here who killed them. We know from your writings that your selected list is Syria’s for damn sure.

Danny Chamoun, was in your list indeed, but somehow you forgot to mention who was tried, convicted, and jailed for his killing.

And while you are at it, maybe you can list the murderers of the tens of thousands of innocent people in Lebanon, from southern Lebanon, to Sabra and Shatila, all the way to the north of Lebanon who died by the cold-blooded murderers of the only democracy in the Middle East.

Let’s not be selective here, please.

May 16th, 2009, 1:48 am


Alex said:


Try to learn from T.Desco how to base your statements on good research.

So you are saying that now (as opposed to two years ago for example?) no sane human (outside SC) has any doubt that Syria did it?

Why not start with this article in Le Figaro about how Chirac needed to pay someone to make up evidence against Syria?


If it was so obvious Syria did it .. why pay false witnesses?

May 16th, 2009, 3:04 am


kingcrane jr said:

I recall that, when Sleiman Frangieh Junior (the then Interior Minister in the Omar Karameh cabinet) talked seriously about the Salafists being the perpetrators, the Hariri media went crazy.It was such an amusing sight:-The Hariri press did not need any real investigation, because for them the only explanation was that the Syrian authorities had to be behind this.  I went back to the local press back then, and I found a huge amount of evidence that no “anti-Syrian” wanted a real investigation.-The investigation desired by their fraudulencies consisted of hiring a liar who has since lost credibility the way the neocons have lost their minuscule penises.-I have always been a critic of how local “allies” were chosen by the Syrian authorities: unprincipled men like Murr, or Saudi appointees.  Incidentally, Hariri was very replaceable for both the US and its allies.  But the fact that he contributed millions to the Presidential campains of Bush and Chirac was a smart move for a businessman like him.  And he did exactly what the Saudis told him to do; his Lebanese constituency was asked to kol-w-shkor.-Detlev Mehlis and Marwan Hamadeh were the two main pieces in the propaganda campain to make sure that very few, if any, question the only version, that the Syrian authorities were behind this act.-Tedesco’s version is very plausible; the chronology makes perfect sense.-Another German researcher, Jurgen Cain Kulbel, has accused Israel; Kulbel is Mehlis’s nemesis, a man who pointed to Mehlis’s role (as a judge) in the Berlin disco bombing, accusing the Libyans instead of the real perpetrators, allowing a false flag operation to go unpunished.-No matter what, the result was the exit of the Syrian military forces from Lebanon, and that is that.  The best opportunity to exit Lebanon was in 2000, when Ehud Barak pulled the Israeli forces out of Lebanon. There was a great opportunity to exit Lebanon in a triumphant way. But, back then, Syria had a very young President, and the people around him, as well as Hariri and myriads of future “anti-Syrians” begged him to stay the course.

May 16th, 2009, 5:37 am


qunfuz said:

It’s worth repeating something that many of us said at the time: if Syria was indeed behind the Hariri assassination, Syria scored a colossal own-goal, and behaved with a stupidity which does not usually characterise Syrian actions.

On a different subject, I invite you all to read my review of Rafik Schami’s great Syrian novel “The Dark Side of Love”:

May 16th, 2009, 11:04 am


qunfuz said:

I agree with someone’s earlier implication that George Bush’s dick should be tied down.

May 16th, 2009, 11:06 am


t.desce said:

Some notes:

– Fiorenza Sarzanini’s article is on page 8, not on page “smiley”; I put the 8 too close to the bracket.

– The title is not really accurate. A “theory” would have to include much more than a motive.

– Unlike “property owners in downtown Beirut”, this specific group has been officially linked to Ahmed Abu Adas (via Khaled Taha, member of the Nab’a/Taha cell).

– Brammertz seems to acknowledge (rather than “dismiss”) that in “the ninth report of the United Nations investigation into the Hariri assassination” (November 29, 2007):

“35. (…) the Commission has reached a more detailed comprehension of Abu Adass’ activities in the years preceding the crime, particularly those activities which brought him into contact with one or more persons linked to known extremist groups. In particular, progress has been made in establishing the identity of the individual who is believed to have disappeared with Abu Adass on January 16, 2005.” (my emphasis)

– “What of Salafi logistical capabilities?”

How about the truck bomb that killed Sergio Vieira de Mello?


regarding “the fumbling efforts of Lebanon’s security heads”, I think that institutional chaos (aggravated by beginning political insecurity) and incompetence may actually be a more plausible explanation.

The problem persisted, as Robert Fisk observed a few months later:

“Now, it turns out – chillingly for those of us who believed that a clean security leadership had been installed in Lebanon – that the car in which Kassir was bombed was also removed from the scene of the crime within hours, allowing the Lebenese cops to “lose” the detonator of the explosives which killed him.”
(Syria: out the door, back through the window, The Independent, 13th June 2005).

Those who think that there was a conspiracy and manipulation (including Mr Fisk), fail to explain what was manipulated and why.

May 16th, 2009, 12:28 pm


Chris said:

Few doubt that there was a conspiracy. After all, does anyone think the killers acted alone? It’s just that contrary to the above theory, many of us believe that the occupying Syrian forces were the most likely culprit.

May 16th, 2009, 1:03 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Here’s the “double-standard”. In the eyes of the UN, the Sri Lankan government has a “legitimate right … to combat terrorism”.

For some strange reason, Israel does not have that “legitimate right”.

The members of the Security Council strongly condemn the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for its acts of terrorism over many years, and for its continued use of civilians as human shields, and acknowledge the legitimate right of the Government of Sri Lanka to combat terrorism.


And, of course, just as many or more civilians have died in Sri Lanka than in Gaza.


Discuss this with your professors and see what they say…

May 16th, 2009, 1:26 pm


Ghat Albird said:

t_desco aught to consider getting together with Seymour Hersh and compare notes on “assassinations”.

The following extract from an interview that Seymour Hersh gave on May 12, 2009 suggests that “assassinations” have been practiced by the US for some years.


“Seymour Hersh says that Dick Cheney headed a secret assassination wing and the head of the wing has just been named as the new commander in Afghanistan.

In an interview with GulfNews on May 12, 2009 Pulitzer prize-winning American investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, said that there is a special unit called the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that does high-value targeting of men that are known to be involved in anti-American activities, or are believed to be planning such activities.

According to Hersh, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was headed by former US vice president Dick Cheney and the former head of JSOC, Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal who has just been named the new commander in charge of the war in Afghanistan.

McChrystal, a West Pointer who became a Green Beret not long after graduation, following a stint as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, is currently director of Staff at the Pentagon, the executive to Joint staff to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Most of what General McChrystal has done over a 33-year career remains classified, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, an elite unit so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence.

May 16th, 2009, 2:34 pm


Akbar Palace said:


I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked!

U.S., Iraqi Forces Target Al Qaeda Cell Funneling Arms From Syria Saturday, May 16, 2009

A joint U.S.-Iraqi force targeted an Al Qaeda cell involved in funneling arms and weapons into Iraq from Syria, arresting three people near the troubled northern city of Mosul, the U.S. military said Saturday.

The statement said the cell is led by the Syria-based Abu Khalaf, whose assets were frozen by the U.S. Treasury department on Thursday for his involvement in the flow of money, weapons and militants through Syria into Iraq.

The operation took place in the village of Tal al-Hawa, 50 miles northwest of Mosul.


May 16th, 2009, 3:20 pm


Chris said:


The UN’s “double standard” when it comes to how it treats Israel is well documented. Kofi Annan has commented on this. Human Rights Watch is also concerned about the situation. See the excerpts below from Human Rights Watch and the Irish Examiner:

“Human Rights Watch called on the council to avoid the selectivity that discredited its predecessor and urged it to hold special sessions on other urgent situations, such as Darfur. The council’s ability to take up such situations quickly and send in human rights experts to do fact-finding should be a valuable tool in tackling violations.

“The council’s singling out the Occupied Palestinian Territories for special attention is a cause for concern,” said Hicks. “The human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories deserves attention, but the new council must bring the same vigor to its consideration of other pressing situations.”


“United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan urged the global body’s human rights watchdog today to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impartially and said it was time to focus attention on ”graver” crises such as Darfur.

Annan’s statement to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, came only a day after the 47-nation body rejected an attempt to hold the Sudanese government responsible for halting atrocities in its volatile Western region, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million others displaced since the Darfur conflict began in 2003.

The council, which has criticised only Israel in its six months of existence, turned down by a vote of 22-20 a resolution from the European Union and Canada telling the Sudanese government to prosecute those responsible for killing, raping and injuring civilians in Darfur.
Read more: “Darfur crisis ‘graver than Middle East’ – Annan | Irish Examiner”




What I’m shocked about is that the Syrians are surprised that the sanctions were renewed when they are allowing terror materiel to flow unhindered across their border.

May 16th, 2009, 3:28 pm


norman said:

Thank you T desco, for this extensive work, as usual , Fascinating,

One point which always amazed me and that is the reason that Syria was not forceful in investigating the assassination herself as after all she was the one who has the most militery presence , there , they just left without any plan to investigate , and that is something does not happen in Syria ,

I would not be surprised if the Cheney team did the assassination, to rearrange the Mideast ,

I saw the movie Syriana and how the prince who is supposed to lead an Arab country was assassinated for the benefit of his brother who was in the pocket of the CIA and the US .

May 16th, 2009, 3:35 pm


jad said:

“when they are allowing terror materiel to flow unhindered across their border.” I have some good news for you Chris, they wont allow you to cross their border anymore either.

May 16th, 2009, 3:44 pm


Chris said:

Norman asks why Syria did not investigate the Harriri murder. Perhaps its the same reason that OJ didn’t spend too much time/money looking for “the real killer.”

Why wouldn’t they allow me to do that Jad? Because I’m not from the right country?

May 16th, 2009, 3:45 pm


Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

Alex, (All),

Remember my request from a few months ago to have a poll on “who do you think killed Hariri?”, it would be interesting to see how people’s opinions split and change over time.

On a different topic, the June issue of National Geographic has a 19 page piece on Christian Arabs in the Levant, discussing their status as an endangered species.

Here’s the link on the web: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/video/player#/?titleID=arab-christians&catID=1

May 16th, 2009, 3:49 pm


jad said:

Thank you again for the explanation, I agree that Bremmertz acknowledge the link but in his following report he fades it out, why? do you think that he was under political pressure to do that?

May 16th, 2009, 4:26 pm


Shami said:

It’s known since the begining that those who created Abu Adass scenario wanted to use the jihadi link as cover.
Now the question who fabricated this scenario?
It’s more easy for the syrian regime to infilitrate such groups than the Israelis which also have this ability ,i dont see other potential planners other than these 2.

It’s obvious that those who ordered this crime did not send their own men.

May 16th, 2009, 4:45 pm


Farah said:

Thank you T Desco for sharing your valuable analysis. You have done an impressive job.

May 16th, 2009, 4:54 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

The palastineans are freedom fighters,they are not terrorists, the zionists who came to palastine fighting the palastinians,killing them steeling their land preventing them from coming back to their properties,they are the terrorist.

May 16th, 2009, 5:13 pm


Nour said:

It’s quite funny that all those who were so sure just a few years ago that Syria was going to be implicated in and prosecuted for the assassination of Rafiq Hariri are now desparately trying to convince everyone that Syria was indeed responsible for the crime despite the complete absence of evidence tying Syria to it. The reality is that the true perpetrators will never be prosecuted because they are the US and “Israel”.

By the way Majid, are you still standing by your prediction that the Syrian regime will fall by this summer? I’m excited and can’t wait.

May 16th, 2009, 6:52 pm


Alex said:

Who killed Hariri?

This link points the finger at Cheney.

May 16th, 2009, 7:12 pm


Off the Wall said:

What I am shocked about is the US’s continuing to allow drug gangs terrorist material and money to flow almost freely through the US Mexican borders.

May 16th, 2009, 7:48 pm


jad said:

Sure Jihadis didn’t do it, they are peaceful and highly moral breed! they would never think of revenge, would they?
I totally agree with detective Conan, I think Syria&Israel had a joint venture on that mission.

May 16th, 2009, 7:53 pm


norman said:


We in the US like to blame everybody else except our selves for the problems that we face it is the Mexicans to blame for the narcotic trafficking not for our demand and ability to pay for these narcotics ,

you are right ,and good to say you back,
It is Syria to blame not the Saudis who breed these terrorists and the US who turns a blind eye to what the Saudies are teaching their children ,

it is time to teach religion at school and teach it the way is supposed to be , a way of life to help others and be good in the world.

May 16th, 2009, 8:03 pm


Off the Wall said:

What concerns me is the insistence that the sophistication of the plan and of the execution of the assassination can only come from state actors. Those who want to dismiss the possibility of Jihadi involvement simply because of the sophistication risk underestimating the capabilities of the second biggest threat (after Israeli belligerence) that confronts the security and safety of the region.

It is easy to blame a state actor, whether it is Israel, Syria or the US, for that fits neatly with the common image of Jihadis as a bunch of mouth frothing crazed bunch who are knee jerk reactionary and incapable of carrying out a well disciplined and well organized terrorist act. Events in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and else where tell us otherwise, and we will only fool ourselves if we continue to dismiss their abilities, especially after the respite they received thanks to the neo-cons/Israeli motivated war in Iraq. The longer anyone continues to politicize the investigation, and the longer one group or another continues to dismiss any possible angel only because it does not fit with their plan to demonize Syria and de-legitimize resistance to Israel, everyone risks allowing the real perpetrators to do the same thing over and over again.

May 16th, 2009, 8:16 pm


Shami said:

Jad and Norman ,only stupid people or those who bear hatred in their hearts towards Hariri can swallow that this very sophisticated terrorist attack was carried out from a to z by a small cell of poor jihadis ,there is at least one important organized force behind it,may be several security apparatuses.

May 16th, 2009, 8:41 pm


jad said:

Thank you very much Norman 🙂
I agree with you on religion teaching issue, the problem is not what is taught inside the school, the problem is what our young generation is learning outside the schools walls in their neighbourhood and from their friends, that what should be worked on, the ‘society’ as a whole.
Regarding your point about the US blaming others, it is an INTERNATIONAL problem not only the US, every country blames it’s problem on others.
I wish if Syria is in a better position to say that about any other countries, unfortunately we are not, I also wish that we as a Syrian society can point out our own problems and try to fix them instead of blaming others, blame is not the answer.

I read your excellent article earlier on your own website, I read the book too, I LOVED IT, I knew Mr. Schami’s works the funny thing is that an Asian friend of mine introduced me to his writings, thinking that I knew him since I’m Syrian, she didn’t know that we SYRIANS DON’T read for fun or as a hobby, we only read when we have some exams to go through 🙂
Mr Schami is a great writer, he is already very famous, what I liked about his work is that he always reveal his ‘Syrian’ identity though his been in Germany for a very long time unlike others who lives somewhere for couple months and start to pretend forgetting their mother tong.

May 16th, 2009, 8:43 pm


Off the Wall said:

Dear Norman

I think my statement was not clear enough, I meant the flow from the US to Mexico, not the other way around. I was trying to show the honorable Syria Comment resident orientalist that he is asking Syria to do what a much larger and more powerful country has failed to do. Despite of a criminal, racist, and mean intentioned war on drug we claim

90% of the illegal weapons in Mexico come from the US, especially from Bush’s stumping ground Texas where assault weapons are as available as power-drills. With the weapons also flow a huge amount of drug money generated by our demand, back to Mexico where it allows the terrorist drug gangs to build armies stronger and more powerful than Mexican law enforcement. And while bush and his gang were harassing every single Islamic charity in the US, so that Israel’s criminal siege of Gaza continues unbated, they turned a blind eye on money laundering and smuggling across the border to Mexico.

For all practical reasons, the neocons case against Syria is a sham. Their heroes Bush and Cheney failed miserably in stemming the flow of weapons from the US to mexico. Only Obama is now addressing this issue, but I believe unless he is willing to take on the Assault Weapon lobby in the US, his efforts will be futile. The neocons conveniently ignore the flow of weapons from the US to Mexico when they keep trying to pressure and extort Syria.

May 16th, 2009, 8:45 pm


jad said:

I agree with you Conan. I only have a small question about the few ‘poor’ jihadists you are defending, how did those ‘poor’ and ‘cute’ jihadists manage to carry out 9/11 and the hundreds of terrorist attacks worldwide without financial support? Could it be by selling their good looks? Or maybe working as hair dressers in Afghanistan? I can’t figure that out.

T-Desco, are you sure that you don’t want Conan’s help? He is doing a great investigation here and I’m almost convinced with his theory of Syria&Israel joint venture.

May 16th, 2009, 9:02 pm


Elie said:

Thanks for the careful, serious, and compelling analysis. Your thesis provides much food for thought to ponder.

Thanks for providing the link to Malik al-Turaiki’s article in Al-Quds Al-Arabi “Is there a connection between Cheney and Al-Hariri’s assassination?”


May 16th, 2009, 9:17 pm


Off the Wall said:

Dear Norman
I may not have explained my comment # 35 well. I meant the flow of weapons and money from the US to drug cartels in Mexico, not the other way around. 90% of illegal weapons in Mexico are from the US, and more specifically from Buh’s stumping ground (Textas). The bush adeministration failed to stop that flow and by that can be held liable, given Chris’s standards, for the atrocities committed by drug cartel gangs in Mexico.

May 16th, 2009, 9:41 pm


Off the Wall said:

In response to your comment to Jad and Norman, which coincidentally followed my own comment arguing for one to consider the possibility of Jihadi’s involvement. I may be stupid, but I do not hate Hariri, I think that he was no less corrupt than his friends and/or business partners in Syria or KSA, but I have no hate towards him. Yet, I still argue that it is possible that Jihadis have committed the crime and that one should not dismiss any possibility outright for political reasons.

As for the poor Jihadis, I begg to differ. I believe that with private money coming from many supporters in the gulf region, the Jihadis are probably less poor than we may think.

May 16th, 2009, 9:50 pm


Off the Wall said:

Dear Norman
My commnet # 35 may have been too short. I meant the flow of Weapons and Money from the US to mexico, not the other way around. 90% of illegal weapons in mexico are from the US with Texas having the lion’s share as being the source of heavy Assault weapon sumggling to Mexico. I wonder what Chris would say about this.

Here is an article on the subject from SFGate
Weapons smuggled into Mexico fuel drug wars
Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times
Sunday, August 17, 2008
(08-17) 04:00 PDT Sierra Vista, Ariz. — High-powered automatic weapons and ammunition are flowing virtually unchecked from border states into Mexico, fueling a war among drug traffickers, the army and police that has left thousands dead, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.

The munitions are hidden under trucks and stashed in the trunks of cars, or brazenly concealed under the clothing of pedestrians who walk across the international bridges. They are showing up in seizures and in the aftermath of shoot-outs between the cartels and police in Mexico.

More than 90 percent of guns seized at the border or after raids and shootings in Mexico have been traced to the United States, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Last year, 2,455 weapons traces requested by Mexico showed that guns had been purchased in the United States, according to ATF. Texas, Arizona and California accounted for 1,803 of the traces submitted by Mexican authorities.

No one is sure how many U.S.-purchased guns have made their way to Mexico, but U.S. authorities estimate the number in the thousands.

The body count, meanwhile, is rising. Since a military-led crackdown on narcotics traffickers began 18 months ago, more than 4,000 people in Mexico have died from drug-related violence, including 450 police officers, soldiers and prosecutors, as well as innocent bystanders, cartel members and corrupt officials, according to Mexican government officials.

Tom Mangan, a senior ATF special agent in Arizona, compared the flow to reverse osmosis. “Just like the drugs that head north, (firearms move south),” he said. “The cartels are outfitting an army.”

More than 6,700 licensed gun dealers have set up shop within a short drive of the 2,000-mile border, from the gulf coast of Texas to San Diego – which amounts to more than three dealers for every mile of border territory. Law enforcement has come to call the region an “iron river of guns.”

And while U.S. political leaders and presidential candidates have focused rhetoric, money and time on stemming the northward flow of drugs and illegal immigrants, far less has been said and done about arms flowing south, largely from states with liberal gun laws, into a nation where only police and the military legally may own a firearm.

Mexican authorities have been pressing the United States to do more to help a border force they describe as overwhelmed and often intimidated.

“Just guarantee me that arms won’t enter Mexico,” Mexico’s public safety chief, Genaro Garcia Luna, told a radio interviewer recently. Stop the flow of guns from the United States, he said, “and the gasoline for the crimes that we have will run out.”

Both sides blame straw buyers who purchase weapons for traffickers at small gun shops and large gun shows.

Adan Rodriguez, 35, a struggling carpet-layer from the Dallas area, told dealers he was a private security officer, and bought more than 100 assault rifles, 9mm handguns and other high-powered weapons at multiple shops over several months, according to court records. But authorities say traffickers were giving him stacks of cash to buy the guns, with marijuana laced in between the bills. He earned about $30 to $40 a gun, according to court records.

“The temptation got over me,” Rodriguez told a federal judge in Dallas, who sentenced him in 2006 to 5 1/2 years in prison.

Last August, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents in Roma, Texas, came upon a 1999 Freightliner tractor-trailer with a hidden stash of weapons, including a rifle, four shotguns, a handgun and 8,024 rounds of live ammunition with 10 magazines. The driver was questioned, and that investigation continues.

In February, five men, including a father and his two sons, were arrested just outside Roma, and charged with selling as many as 60 guns, silencers and other weapons. Government evidence showed that the serial numbers on some of the weapons had been shaved off, a sign to agents the firearms were destined for Mexican gangs.

ATF seized 13 AK-47 rifles Aug. 1 from an alleged straw purchaser in Phoenix, according to Mangan. The guns were to be delivered to the Tijuana cartel, via southern California, Mangan said.

Despite the arrests, smugglers appear to have the upper hand, U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources say. Just 100 U.S. firearms agents and 35 inspectors patrol the vast border region seeking out gun smugglers, in contrast to 16,000 Border Patrol agents, most of them working the Southwest Border.

Elias Bazan, a supervisory agent with ATF in Laredo, Texas, has a staff of just six agents at one of the grittiest stretches along the Rio Grande.

“I don’t have an analyst,” he said. “I don’t’ have an administrative assistant. I don’t have an inspector. One major case can soak up my entire office. And we have major cases all the time.”

Gun dealers also far outnumber agents. Here in tiny Sierra Vista, on a rise high enough to afford a view into Mexico, half a dozen dealers operate in stores on the town’s main thoroughfare, and also sell and trade arms out of their homes. Arizona is a wide-open state for gun lovers: a license lets you carry a gun openly on the street or as a concealed weapon.

The United States and Mexico are pledging cooperation to halt the weapons flow; but both nations want more from each other. The United States is urging Mexican officials to be more vigilant at the border, and to thoroughly inspect and arrest crossers who carry weapons from the United States. They have posted warning signs at the border, but few pay any heed.

William Hoover, the ATF’s assistant director for field operations, told Congress his agency is working with Mexican law enforcement officials on an eTrace system to track guns found in Mexico. The process allows the United States to start criminal investigations against anyone in the county who has sent a weapon to Mexico.

Mexico wants the United States to tighten gun laws in border states. They also want more checks on straw man purchasers, such as Rodriguez.

Since weapons began heading south in bulk three to five years ago, U.S. agents have made some key arrests. Unfortunately, many of them came after the weapons had been used in cartel warfare in Mexico.

This spring the ATF arrested a dealer and two others from the X-Caliber Guns store in Phoenix, where hundreds of AK-47s and other long guns and hand pistols allegedly were dispatched to Mexico. The shop since has shut down; the three have pleaded not guilty.

ATF intelligence has shown that some of the firearms sold from X-Caliber were used by cartel gunmen against Mexican police and the Mexican army.

Six guns were traced to alleged members of the Sinaloa cartel who were rounded up shortly after Mexican police captured alleged drug lord Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman in May. An assault rifle traced to X-Caliber also turned up in a cache found after eight federal policemen were killed and three others wounded in another gun battle in Culiacan, according to ATF.

Gun shows have become particularly troublesome. There, traffickers have their choice of weapons: AK-47s, AR-15s and the FN 5.57 caliber pistol known as “Asesino de policia,” or “cop killer.”

“You see the Sinaloan cowboys come in,” said Mangan, who browses the shows. “You see them with their ammunition belts and their ammunition boots. You can see the dollies being rolled outside to their cars.

“Why do they need the high-powered guns? Because the Mexican military is armed too, and they need to pierce that armor.”

Sometimes, it’s the ammunition that tips off agents. In November 2006 an agent in street clothes was talking to a dealer at Kirkpatrick’s Guns and Ammo, less than a mile from the border in Laredo. He spotted two men repackaging more than 12,000 rounds of ammunition they had just purchased.

An investigation later led to the arrest of Carlos Alberto Osorio-Castrejon and Ramon Uresti-Careaga, both Mexican citizens in the U.S. illegally. Osorio pleaded guilty to being an illegal immigrant in possession of ammunition and was given 10 months in prison. Uresti was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to 15 months in prison.

The ammo, the judge told Uresti and the court, “was going to somebody in Mexico involved in some illegal activity – drug trafficking, alien smuggling perhaps. Or something else.”

Just up the road from Kirkpatrick’s, past the taquerias and the Mexican insurance offices, there is yet another gun shop.

“Call me Rocky,” said the man who runs Border Sporting Goods. He advertises “What We Don’t Have, We Can Get.” He sells guns and ammunition and re-loading and hunting equipment. He personally owns more than 100 firearms.

He blamed Mexico for the gun trafficking. “It is not doing enough to stop it,” he said. “They are a crooked country.” He said U.S. gun laws are broken too easily. “A crook could care less how many laws you have.”

He maintained that most gun dealers are honest and vigilant, and report suspicious activity. And he called it unfair to make gun stores responsible for what their customers do. “That’s like holding a car manufacturer liable for traffic accidents.”

The dealers in Sierra Vista said they report any customer they do not feel comfortable about.

Mike Benton runs Guns and Gear, the easy-to-find shop on East Fry Boulevard; the U.S. flag out front marks the spot. He said two men claiming to be American citizens recently purchased four or five long guns.

“They had the necessary documents and an instant FBI check was approved,” Benton said. Still he thought it unusual, and notified authorities. “I never heard back,” he said.


May 16th, 2009, 10:05 pm


Shami said:

OTW ,believe me that when i wrote my comment it was before i read yours.
In your opinion if the syrians had decided to kill Hariri would they have acted otherwise?
And i find very strange that Bin Laden and friends never verbally attacked the syrian regime.

May 16th, 2009, 11:29 pm


Alex said:

A new poll has been added (at the top left part of main page of SC)

“Who ordered the assassination of Rafiq Hariri”?

Please vote.

May 17th, 2009, 12:42 am


norman said:


I just wanted to say that the demand of drugs in the US make it profitable for the Mexican to smuggle drugs into the US , so we should take some responsibility in advancing the demand ,,


No matter what you think of Bin Laden,he did not do what he did out of love for death , he did what he did out of revenge for the western assault on Arab rights over the twentieth century, and he sees Syria as the only Arab country standing in the face of the Western plan for the Arab world of fragmantation and hegemony by the US and Israel ,

May 17th, 2009, 3:03 am


jad said:

Dear Norman,
Do you believe that a terrorist with no morals like Osama Bin laden and his Alquaeeda terrorist group and affiliates did and are still doing all that ugly bombing and killing on any bases other than a meaningless war against humanity as a whole, they are no more than bunch of criminals and failures on all fronts.
The very sad fact is that their first victim is the faith of Islam before anything else, not to mention that they are Anti-Arabism, Ant-Christian, Anti-Women..you name it and they are Anti-‘IT’.
I also want to point out that detective Conan’s observation of Bin Laden and his ‘poor’ group didn’t attack the Syrian regime, is FALSE, they always attack the ‘Nousairi’ regime in Syria and there Salafit affiliates did many terrorist work inside Syria.

And that, is my take on your take 😉

May 17th, 2009, 5:00 am


Off the Wall said:

Dear Shami
I know you did write your comment before mine was sent, do not worry, I was trying to be light hearted. I do not easily take offense and I know that even when things heat up, nothing is personal on SC. As for bin laden’s not attacking the Syrian regime, I tend to agree with Jad. Bin Laden considers all secular Arabs, or for that matter any sect other than his own narrowly defined group as Kuffar. He does not need to count them one after another, but he views them all the same and their blood is in his opinion to be shed. It is just a matter of prioritization, his most important concern is probably getting the Americans out of the Arab peninsula and the establishment of his deformed mutant form of Khilafa.

Dear Norman
As long as we continue to have this meaningless war on drug instead of considering drugs as a public health issue to be dealt with by Doctors, Psychologists, and well trained counselors, we will never be able to curtail the demand. Demand for recreational drugs will always be there. It is the criminalization that turns it in to a very profitable, under-world cash cow and has been leaving one country after another in havoc.

Dear Jad
Good to see you back on SC pages. I hope all is well.

May 17th, 2009, 5:28 am


jad said:

Dear OTW,
Thank you very much for asking.
Everything is good from my side, thank God.
I hope all is good from your side as well.
I find it ‘trouble’ free on SC for too long now so I decided to make some 😉

May 17th, 2009, 5:37 am


kingcrane jr said:

There was no win-win for both Syrian authorities and Israeli authorities with the Hariri blast.
Israel was preparing the ground for the 2006 war, knowing that there will be enough pressure to get the Syrian Military out of Lebanon.
I have heard that both the Mossad and the Syrian secret services had connections to a variety of groups that were UBL surrogates in Lebanon. The problem is that part of the Syrian secret services may have been infiltrated, back then, by the Mossad.
It is easy then to make some of the evidence point to whoever is the ultimate victim of the Hariri blast.

May 17th, 2009, 8:34 am


Shami said:

Jad,dont be quick,al Qaida did never attack even with words the syrian regime and BTW ,Bin Laden is himself an half alawite ,his uncles are alawites ,his mother and first wife are syrian alawites.In my opinion if the americans wanted to have him as a death man ,they would have got him long time ago ,it seems that Bin Laden is a necessity for their geostrategical needs.
OTW ,dont play this game ,your comment was already sent as anybody can see …when i wrote mine , after that i read the comments of Norman and Jad.

May 17th, 2009, 9:54 am


jad said:

Hamida al-Attas, nee A’alia Ghanem,[1] (born 1934) is the mother of Osama bin Laden. She came from a Sunni Syrian family of two brothers and another sister[1], although it has been rumoured that her family are Alawites.[2][3][4] She married Mohammed bin Laden in Latakia in 1956 and moved to Saudi Arabia with her husband.[1] She was the tenth wife of Mohammed bin Laden.[5] (Her husband had at least 11 wives but divorced many, having only four wives at once, in line with Muslim law.)[6] It has been reported that she was a concubine rather than wife of Mohammed bin Laden.[6] She was more cosmopolitan than Mohammed’s first three Wahhabi Saudi wives.[7]
Osama bin Laden was her only child with Mohammad bin Laden. She often spent summers at her brother Naji’s home in Latakia and Osama went with her until he was 17.[1] In 1974, when Osama was 18, he married her brother’s daughter, 14-year-old Najwa Ghanem, who had been promised to him.[1]
Hamida later married Mohammed al-Attas and had 4 other children, including Ahmad Mohammed.[6]


May 17th, 2009, 10:48 am


t.desce said:

There are certain keywords like “Wayne Madsen” and ” Lyndon LaRouche” after which you can simply stop reading and wasting your time with a kooky, unsourced and often anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

As’ad AbuKhalil says it best:

Wayne Madsen: Hizbullah media and kooky theories
Al-Manar TV and New TV keep promoting the recent claim by Wayne Madsen about a US assassination unit that killed Rafiq Hariri and Elie Hubayqah. Of course, Madsen never ever presented evidence of what he is saying, and he keeps trying to use Symour Hersh as his source, although the latter ever made those claims. But this is typical of Manar TV: if any white man anywhere in the world said something that fits their political framework, they promote it vigorously. Madsen never once told us how he arrived at this discovery.

Seymour Hersh
I can report to you that Seymour Hersh has distanced himself from the comments and claims by Wayne Madsen.

May 17th, 2009, 11:31 am


Shami said:

Jad ,wikipedia is wikipedia ,it was confirmed to me by alawites that she is alawite.May be Dr Landis can enlighten us on this matter by asking his wife’s familly.
Jad are you alawite?

May 17th, 2009, 11:48 am


Chris said:

Yes, Dick Cheney while working with Israel and Bin Laden killed Harriri via his super-secret special ops unit (Joint Special Operations Command). Yes, if you believe that than perhaps you are convinced that Israel also killed Ayman Hamdan ( http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=37848 ) or perhaps Israel was also responsible for the stabbing of this ( http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=37855 ) twenty year old woman near Ramallah.

May 17th, 2009, 1:27 pm


norman said:


Why do you care what Jad is,or anybody else for that matter,

May 17th, 2009, 3:13 pm


jad said:

Yes I am, do you have a problem with me being Alawite?

Back to your Osama’s mother sect obsession of yours:
Do you live on mars? don’t you read the news?
حملة ضد “فيصل القاسم” تطالبه بدليل أن والدة “أسامه بن لادن” شيعية أو الاعتذار


What difference does that make for you if she was a Sunni, Alawite, Shia or even atheist, is Osama going to be less evil and more of a hero? He and his criminal friends will always be terrorists who kill human for no reason.
After all T-Desco investigation article is not about Osama’s mother religion it’s about facts linking the ‘poor’ Jihadist to the murder of Hariri and show it as the simplest theory that everybody tried to politicize it to fit his own agenda.

May 17th, 2009, 3:15 pm


Shami said:

Norman not at all ,i love the alawites as people,there are nice and bad people in every community.
But Jad seems clearly victim of a paranoia (read his comments above) the fear of the “other”as if they live in a hostile world surrounded by monsters(muslims).This disease is real among many alawites and Jad remarks led me to think that he could be an alawite of this kind.

Bin Laden’s familly was already secular 40 years ago as you can see on this photo…there is also a photograph in which we see baby Osama with his very modern non veiled mother and father.

For sure ,Bin Laden’s case is very strange as it is the case of Ayman Al Zawahiri ,a surgeon son of university professor.

May 17th, 2009, 3:39 pm


jad said:

You ‘love’ Alawites! That is hilarious.

Back to your old accusation of Jad’s fear of ‘Muslims’, LOL….yes I’m really scared, I usually ask people in the street about their religion before I talk to them, I’m so scared of Muslims! (Allah yshfeek) I honestly wish that you wont become another ‘strange case’ like Osama and Ayman.

Why don’t you Mr. Detective/Psychologist stay away from arguing with me on religion subjects since I have no tolerance to your kind of professional sectarians.
I really don’t like to engage in any naive argument that leads nowhere and it is unfair for others on SC to be disturbed by unrelated matters to the main article discussed.

May 17th, 2009, 4:20 pm


Shami said:

Jad yes i love them there are very nice people among them ,i dont really care about their philosophical belonging.I’m speaking about a disease that perturb me, this is what the paranoid among the alawites believe:that we will slaughter them if Asad loses power(as it appeared well in your previous comments),for me they are muslims if they accept the 5 pillars of Islam and even those among them who refuse to accept Islamic orthodoxy ,we remain compatriots and believe it or not ,i would fight for their rights if our alawite compatriots are thretaned by extremists(or people seeking to avenge their sons,because of the nature of the former regime) in the future.The culture of revenge is prohibited.

May 17th, 2009, 4:37 pm


Shami said:

Jad, speaking about this phenomenon is a necessity regarding today syrian case ,because it’s a reality …it have nothing to do with being sectarian or not.

May 17th, 2009, 4:44 pm


jad said:

How about Ibn Taymiya? Aren’t you a big fan? Since I start reading SC you always take his words as your references don’t you? We both know his views and A7kam about your newly ‘loved’ Alawites. Cut it out!

About raising the issue of killing the minorities in Syria and for them being paranoid:
You either naive or playing naive (I think you are the later), how can you blame the Alawites or any other minorities of that matter in Syria for being paranoid of being killed by some crazy group. We have a rich history full of massacres against minorities? How can you blind yourself from seeing that? Do you know for sure that we won’t have another massacre against some minority? I can guarantee you that you will have many, history tells us that and you still have a living example in Iraq and Lebanon even in our Syria so don’t play that naive it doesn’t work.

Are you paranoid of misspelling? we are not native speakers so you can make mistakes as much as you like nobody cares, so no need to correct or apologize, from anybody on here, we are not writers of any kind.

May 17th, 2009, 5:17 pm


Shami said:

it has sorry

May 17th, 2009, 5:17 pm


Shami said:

Ibn Taymiyya was one of the greatest medieval intellectuals who lived in a special context in which the islamic umma was in danger of being anhilited from 2 directions,the crusaders from the west and the mongolian from est ,the cultural and human genocides that happened in Isfahan and Baghdad were recents and had a big repercussion on the muslim minds during which some shia minorities have collaborated against the islamic centers,like Ibn Al Alqami the betrayer of the Abassi caliphat of Baghdad and the Alawite collaboration with the mongolian armies ,especially with that of Timur Lank against the syrian cities,this happened after Ibn Taymiyya’s death,so his opinion made sense in that time…this fatwa is no more valid nowadays and Ibn Taymiyya even in his context was not necessary right ,he was an human and humans are faillibles.

May 17th, 2009, 5:26 pm


Shami said:

Jad:We have a rich history full of massacres against minorities?

This claim is historically proved wrong.If it was true we would not have inherited these cosmopolitan societies from the last Islamic caliphats from Omar Ben Khattab to the Ottomans .And if some sad events happened it was exceptions and accidents in history but for sure not general rule.
Even the so called massacre of the alawites by Selim the first.
And what happened in Hama and in other than Hama ,Jad ,may have repercussions ,that’s why we should speak about it in order to foresee the future of our country .

May 17th, 2009, 5:36 pm


jad said:

Oh I see, you want a massacre to be a genocide and that every human of that minority to be killed to admit it.
WOW, You are indeed a near future ‘strange case’ if you are not already one.
Have a nice life!

May 17th, 2009, 5:45 pm


Shami said:

Jad ,no massacres and no genocide ,the muslim empires had always preserved christians and jews in big numbers ,for example until 1915 ,50% of Istanbul inhabitants were christians.And i send you more deep into the past ,when during the Umayyad caliphat ,the minister of finance in the first Islamic empire was nobody else than one of the most influent christian thinkers,Saint John of Damascus who was able to oppose the Byzantine Iconoclast Emperor and defeated him from Syria.Other cases can be cited.
The ottoman christians in Aleppo were among the most sophisticated people and the richest in the world,there is a very rich litterature on their power and opulence in Ottoman Syria.(Palestine,Syria,Lebanon).

So was Syria prior to Asad.

May 17th, 2009, 6:08 pm


norman said:


The problem is not early Islam or Islam during the Calif time , it is today’s understanding of Islam by today’s Muslims who do not differentiate between the West and the Christians , The Muslims of the time of the Crusades were able to do that and many Christians stayed , that is not what we see in Iraq now , The merciful Islam is not being practiced any more , at least on a wide scale, and the Imams and some Arab leaders are not helping in advancing religious harmony between the Arabs of all religious and ethnic backgrounds.

And that is my take.

May 17th, 2009, 6:33 pm


Shami said:

Norman ,you are right,it’s a recent phenomenon and do you know who is the main responsible ? Jamal Abdelnasser and clones…not the muslim scholars ,before Nasser a Liberal trend in the religious islamic community was dominant.
These dictatorships have fought civil societies and erased political pluralism ….Look how were Egypt or Syria prior to the 60’s and what we have today.(you have the movies or the quality of the intellectual production of this era).

It’s normal that people like Bin Laden would gain influence in such weak and humiliated societies ,people are in need of great ideas ,they are left with themselves and religion is their only outlet.

May 17th, 2009, 6:58 pm


Chris said:

I think Shami might have just written the first semi-meaningful thing on Syria Comment in a long time.

May 17th, 2009, 7:00 pm


Jad said:

My take is your take Norman!

May 17th, 2009, 7:01 pm


Jad said:

Norman, could you please tell you friend that 1860, 1915, 1937, massacre against Christian, Syriacs, Armenians were before G.A.Naser.
And that mostly Christian Syrian thinkers not Nasser were behind the Arab nationalism.
He still playing naive and I don’t know why, can you please Mr. Norman tell me when you figure it out. I gave up on his poor soul.
In your way could you tell Chris to get lost!
Thank you in advance.
And that, is Jad take (to be more original than yours 😉 )

May 17th, 2009, 7:14 pm


Shami said:

Jad ,as i said accidents of history and not general rule in which the colonialist powers played a very important rule ,sad events ,that accompagnied the collapse of a great pluralistic,multi religious and multi ethnical empire.

You need to have a more intelelctual approach on history ,as i said ,you are victim of a minority complex paranoia and we can do nothing with people like you ,you would still fear your neighbors unlike Alex or Norman that are at ease with us.

Both Norman and Alex ,are sons of these anatolian christian communities.

May 17th, 2009, 7:35 pm


Chris said:


First off, I think his comment about Nasser and the other dictators was reasonable in that when these Nationalist/socialist/secular leaders “fought civil societies and erased political pluralism” they created a society where the only way outlet for discontent against was religion. So, there was a flowering of Islamic extremism.

Second of all Jad, as far as directing other people to make me get lost is concerned, I would like to remind you that here you do not have the ability to have people who don’t agree with you disappear. Sorry, bud, but no one is taking orders from you around here.

May 17th, 2009, 7:39 pm


Alex said:

There he goes again … Peres is telling the world that the only thing preventing peace is that his sensitive country (being weak, poor, and totally exposed to the massively superior Syrian army) needs some good will gesture from Syria so that it can feel safe and secure enough to talk.

Peres: If Assad wants Israel-Syria peace, why is he shy?

By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press

President Shimon Peres on Sunday urged his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, to agree to engage in direct peace negotiations with Israel.

“The Syrians should be ready to talk. If President Assad wants peace, why is he shy?” Peres said after participating in an international economic meeting sponsored by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.

“We suggested many times direct talks,” he added. “[Assad] thinks direct talks is a prize to Israel. It’s not a prize. It’s normal.”

He said he did not believe the indirect contacts through Turkey had resumed.

“Right now, I don’t think there’s anything happening, he said, pointing to Israel’s preoccupation with elections that brought center-right Likud leader Netanyahu to office in March.

Just a few days ago, Netanyahu said he would not return the Golan.

Peres said a gesture by Syria would be more important than all the negotiations.

“Change the air,” he said. “There stands the president and he said he doesn’t want to meet. Why? You want us to give back something, but he doesn’t suggest to give us back anything.”

May 17th, 2009, 7:41 pm


Shami said:

Jad ,as i said accidents of history and not general rule in which the colonialist powers played a very important role …sorry

May 17th, 2009, 7:41 pm


Shai said:


Peres would not have survived in politics for 60 years, if he wasn’t one person one day, and another the next. Clearly, he is trying to force Syria to act, but in reality is only pushing her farther away. He knows Bibi can’t utter the words “Give back the Golan” in public, so he wants to force it upon him by having Syria agree to direct negotiations. What he’s forgetting, is that if Bibi is forced to negotiate, he’ll drag it on for years. It has to come from Bibi, as it did in 1998.

But Peres doesn’t want to feel useless by keeping quiet. So he’s leading the way… in his own way.

May 17th, 2009, 7:52 pm


Chris said:


Perhaps when we meet in Damascus to discuss politics you can have me “get lost.”

May 17th, 2009, 7:56 pm


Alex said:

Hi Shai,

I think it starts from Peres himself wanting peace with Syria and believing that “Syria’s price” (getting the Golan back), is worth paying.

With Egypt (the largest Arab country, Nasser’s country, after the 1973 war), Peres and later Begin were convinced … today, there is nothing intelligent we can hear from Israel (Peres or Netanyahu, no difference) … “Syria’s support of terror” and Syria’s relations with Iran …that’s all they have been talking about.

In contrast, Ifraim Halevy sounded convincing enough here:


The rest are … boring.

I just can’t see who in Israel will lead the country towards peace …

May 17th, 2009, 8:22 pm


Shai said:


Then it’s working… The pessimism-machine, that is. 🙂 I guess that’s a prerequisite to peace. Let’s hope war isn’t.

May 17th, 2009, 8:26 pm


norman said:


it is simple they are doing the same thing again and again , they said that to Arafat , (( If the PLO recognize Israel , peace will be around the corner , Stupid Arafat did that and he thought he had an agreement with Oslo and a Palestinian state with self determination for the Palestinians within 8 years ( I believe the time given )), only to have the settlment expanded and the Russian settlers moving in and with negotiation many Muslim and Arab countries felt that they should open up to Israel to encourage them ,That only made Israel more belligerent ,

Any direct negotiation between Israel and Syria will be used by Israel to encourage the Gulf states and other Islamic countries to open economic channels and relation with Israel ,

Syria should be on the alert and proceed with caution and have a one deal for all , it is all or nothing , The Golan , The Palestinian rights , The Arab land occupied in 1967 including Jerusalem ,for a full peace , anything else is just a divide and conquer plan by Israel as they did with Egypt and Jordon.

I always believe that Syria should prepare for a long war , seek peace but be ready to defend itself if attacked , Israel does not understand anything but force ,

And that is my take,

May 17th, 2009, 8:36 pm


Alex said:

Shai, Norman,

We won’t have peace unless there is a major shift in America’s position .. that will be the only thing that can affect Israel public opinion. the rest is wishful thinking. There will be no wisdom in Israel, and there will be no Syrian assault to recover the Golan militarily.

But .. life goes on. Here is some good news from Kuwait today:


May 17th, 2009, 8:53 pm


Shami said:

You saw Alex,

That even in the most conservative muslim countries the people can evolve towards the better when relative democracy and press freedom are allowed.
That’s why heroes like the members of Al Bunni familly have spent decades of their precious lives in the Asadian Jails for the sake of Syria and the region as whole.
Asma Akhrass instead of playing the Lady Diana of desolated Syria should spent his energy for the real causes of the syrian people and make it clear to his husband that such human rights violations must end.These people have wives and children ,relatives and friends …there is no other country in the world that jails such honourable people.

May 17th, 2009, 9:41 pm


Shami said:

to her husband sorry

May 17th, 2009, 9:53 pm


jad said:

Alex, lissa bakkir for Kuwaiti women to vote we are not in the 31st century yet!

First it’s you having the complex of living in a dreamy past, and it’s not as clean and beautifull as you want it to be, so wake up.
Second you need to take off your sectarian glasses so you can see better not me.
Third, the chruch called Antioch not Anatolian church.
Last and not least Alex and Norman are polite enough not to tell you that your argument sucks, I’m not, I’ll call you. A3war bi3enak, there is no place for politness in these important issues.

You are short sighted and you have no idea what we are talking about yet you jumped in the middle of the argument calling Kareem comment Semi-Dump then get sensitive as usual as if I give a cent of your feeling, well I don’t, suck it up princess.
My argument is not about Naser, Hamas any of our dictators and not about your beloved Israel, so I’m free to tell you to get lost and you are free to stay, again, I don’t care.
If you get the visa let me know so we can meet in Damascus and I’ll show you the real beautifull face of the Syrians instead of wasting your time looking for every little flaw that makes you that much grumpy, it’s not healthy. Big IF though.

May 17th, 2009, 10:19 pm


Alex said:


Also “spend HIS energy” : )

And Kuwait is a country that is not involved in any Middle Eastern conflicts… no one from outside is trying to interfere in Kuwaiti elections …

This will remain an area of disagreement between us … when the United States and Saudi Arabia and Egypt (And Saddam before them) get their hands off Syria’s affairs, then I will be with you calling for faster democratic reforms.

For now, I prefer to wait, despite the corruption we have.

May 17th, 2009, 10:54 pm


Shami said:

Jad,before that Alex and Norman correct you ,not all the christians who lived in today turkey belong to antioch,in fact even not the majority of them.
As for Alex and Norman ,they are probably from the Syriac community of Tur Abidin ,which is antiochian.
Jad ,a sectarian can hardly be from the majority in Syria, the arab and the islamic worlds ,you are sectarian because you fear me and the majority of the syrians,the arabs and the muslims ,so you are marginal and a marginal is sectarian ,it’s not the case of Alex and Normal that recognize themselves in this history and this people,as you can see in Alex’s wonderful site,it’s you who has a problem with the majority of Syrians,Arabs and Muslims.

May 17th, 2009, 11:00 pm


Jad said:

Yes ofcourse, it’s me the sectarian who is calling people according to their religion and sect!
Beside what an Alawite minority like me knows about Christians and their churches name, I’ll let you deal with that.
But I think Alex is Syrian Roum and Norman is lateen orthodox.
And that is Jad Guess!

May 17th, 2009, 11:13 pm


Shami said:

Alex,i really dont see more threatend countries than Kuwait(with Lebanon)they were surrounded by hostile dictatorships which invaded them and both remained democracies.
And you know the logical expectation with all tenacious dictatorships .
Better for Bashar to make this transition by himself now that’s possible,it would be better for him and for the country.

May 17th, 2009, 11:16 pm


Shami said:

Jad,have a look at Alex’s site ,he is not less “nostalgic” than me.


and look at the topic sentence.

And i thank him for the well chosen words that he used in the captions.

May 17th, 2009, 11:30 pm


norman said:


I do not want to talk for Jad, as you can see he can talk for himself well, I just want to tell that I think you are wrong about Jad , he neither paranoid or sectarian , He just wants to be treated and others for what he does and who he is not where he comes from or his religion and ethnic background , Syria deserve the work of all capable Syrians no matter what their religion is or ethnic backgroud , can you see the US denying Muslims , Jews and others equal rights.

By the way Jad has a PhD so he is no small potato, and i think he deserve your respect , on top of that he lives in Syria not like many of us,and for that he deserve a metal.

At any way you right about me , I am Syrian Orthodox.My great grandfather came from Mar-dine in todayTurkey, and settled in Hama/Syria.

May 17th, 2009, 11:54 pm


Shami said:

Norman how do you know that he lives in Syria ?
I have nothing personal against him,but from his writings it appears clearly to me that he has a problem with anything related to Islam.
I dont see such remarks in Alex ‘sand your comments.

May 18th, 2009, 12:02 am


Chris said:


Rather than calling Shami semi-dumb, I was in fact agreeing with him That should be apparent from post 77. I had said that his was the first semi-meaningful comment on here in a while. This was not to disparage his comment, but rather was about the latest discussion on Harriri’s murder. Hence, I’m saying that the commentary lately hasn’t even been semi meaningful, since in my view it is pretty apparent who killed Harriri.


I wouldn’t assume that anyone lives in Syria, since many on this blog are expats.

May 18th, 2009, 12:12 am


norman said:


Look at this ,

You too Chris,


May 18th, 2009, 12:44 am


Shami said:

Norman ,i’m sorry ,i dont know from where Jad got his Phd,but how can a Phd holder in Urban Design say that he prefers the hideous Baathist era architecture above the architecure of pre 1950 era Damascus ,old Aleppo ( add old Mardin),who are world heritage gems.

Anybody who know Syria would agree that Such preference can not be from an Urban designer.

There is a problem somewhere.

May 18th, 2009, 1:35 am


jad said:

Dear Norman,
Thank you for the introduction, I’m flattered, I don’t think that I deserve all that though, thank you.

May 18th, 2009, 2:14 am


norman said:


He is probably younger than us or me at least, every time has it’s beauty , what we should do is make them better.

look at what he writes ,there are many things that he does not like about Syria, but he does not build his opinion on religious foundation , he criticise the people in government Christians , Alawat and Sunni without calling their religious affiliation. your argument will Carry more weight if you do the same

May 18th, 2009, 2:22 am


norman said:

Dear Jad,

You are welcome , you deserve the good words.

May 18th, 2009, 2:30 am


jad said:

Shami, Kareem, uroud alsoud or whatever the name you want to be called by since you keep flip flopping,
I bought my degree, so I don’t know what beauty means at all, see, the problem is that I’m not as well educated as you are (I don’t have a degree in fundamentalism) nor as open minded and smart as you are (knowing the sect of every person on SC).
I also don’t live in the past or the hate of everything and everybody around me because my father was kicked out of Syria and I have to live in the exile all my life as a result of his mistakes.

For me to improve I think I need a pair of thick sectarian glasses and small brain like yours to see the beauty of the old days.
Unfortunately, I don’t, I have my own eyes to see and my average brain to use without feeling the guilt or the hate.

I guess I have a better life than yours with or without my meaningless Ph.D. in Urban Ugliness…

writing all that I hope that I answered all your questions for today so you can complete my file in your archive and stay away from me for a while.

May 18th, 2009, 2:46 am


Shami said:

Jad:I also don’t live in the past or the hate of everything and everybody around me because my father was kicked out of Syria and I have to live in the exile all my life as a result of his mistakes.

You read it,is that not a mukhabarati language?

Jad , unlike your blind mass punishment, i believe that we must not punish the sect,the familly of those who took part to Hafiz Asad crimes and anybody who recognize his past mistakes should be forgiven.
If we do the same ,what would be the difference between us and them ?

May 18th, 2009, 3:06 am


jad said:

Oh, did I hurt your feeling? I’m sorry I didn’t mean to…oops

Kareem, when you question my credibility and my degree which I worked long time on it, and when you call me a sectarian in every comment you leave, it hurts in the same way you feel from my words right now, so try to keep all personal stuff outside our conversation because nobody on here is interested and I can be really mean.

When we talked about Damascus the conversation was about 1860 massacre and comparing the burned down Damascus image then with today not about the 70s architecture elements and urbanism so from now on be very careful when accusing people with something they didn’t say and do NOT take the whole conversation out of its context, people wont tolerate that.

May 18th, 2009, 3:23 am


Off the Wall said:

And we have finally been blessed that one of our commentators is given a nod from the honorable resident orientalist on SC. We are humbled that one of us “Airabs” has finally managed to write a semi-meaningful comment. Finally the natives are getting semi-civilized. It feels good to be semi-anything after being nothing.


Honestly, I was not playing games. I just did not look at the posting time and assumed that your message came right when I was posting mine. However, I do mean it, nothing is personal on SC at least for me. May be anonymity has greatly thickened my skin and allowed me to set personal vanity and pride aside.

However, i must disagree with your statement that the majority can hardly be sectarian, to me it is like saying the whites in America can hardly be racists. Like racism, sectarianism is a disease that can afflict anyone. While I do consider the Ottomans to have been capable managers of empire, I still think that they were no better or worse than the empires around them. Empires are empires, they are ruled by force, based on subjugation. There is nothing romantic about empires, they are there to die and leave place for other empires to get born. The interesting thing is the increasingly shorter time it take empires to die off.

We can also take a romantic view of Syria in the 50s, but it was also a Syria where illiteracy was rampant, college education was available only to a select few. Freezing Syria as if nothing has happened in the past 50 years belittles not the regime, but the Syrian people themselves. It belittles Syrian architects who built some beautiful buildings including mosques and churches in every Syrian city. I am sure you do not mean that.

I also disagree with voices who in criticizing the regime romanticize a past that was also full of familial and tribal power. The urban elites that ruled Syria in the fifties, may have played a key role in negotiating independence, but for all practical reasons, they were as clannish as any rulers who followed them since. Family ties played major role in promotions, so did religious and sectarian affiliation as well as regional allegiances.

May 18th, 2009, 6:39 am


Shami said:

Jad:When we talked about Damascus the conversation was about 1860 massacre and comparing the burned down Damascus image then with today not about the 70s architecture elements and urbanism so from now on be very careful ……

Jad,seriously,again you lack of honesty,how is that possible that i ask you to compare burned quarter with other thing?, go back to the topic ,i asked you this question very clearly without any reference to the quarter burned in 1860.
It was obvious for me…Your hatred towards any thing related to the Ottomans had forced you to say such non sense.
OTW,high literracy rate can be reached in one or two decades ,but there are important things needed if we look for high quality development it’s a reliable elite ,democracy ,the quality of the civil society …we know for example that the bourgeois and the nobles played a great role in the modernisation and democratisation of Europe.Here too before the WW1 ,children were workers in the coal mines ,education was limited to the rich,Europe has evolved from feudalism to selective democracy,then generalized democracy.
In Syria ,Egypt prior to Nasser we had all these components available now after that the totalitarian states have disturbed the traditional social coherence ,since then,you see the result.

May 18th, 2009, 1:38 pm


jad said:

Here we go again! Kareem, ya Ghabi! You don’t get anything anybody tells you and you keep coming back with that same comments over and over, you obviously have nothing else to talk about and you have no understanding whatsoever for any subject out of your personality complexes of being good for nothing.
You never discussed anything out of religious and ottoman occupation ‘beautiful’ period, (I suggest that you go back then and be one of the sultan’s boys, it might help your complex)
You never wrote anything creative since you’ve been here, yet you keep getting personnel, and accuse people of lying or having some kind of conspiracy against you if they don’t agree with your fully stupid and twisted ideas as if anybody cares about someone law educated and no-brainer like you.
Instead of engaging in a meaningless argument like the one you initiate why don’t you read something productive and learn something to improve yourself so you can help your kids in the future and give them something better than what you inherit.

May 18th, 2009, 3:16 pm


Shami said:

Jad as usual when you feel cornered you uses insults…typical of a marginal sectarian mind.

May 18th, 2009, 3:30 pm


jad said:

You got me again,
Yes, I’m Marginal, Sectarian, Dishonest, Moukhabarat, Uneducated, Bathi..bla bla bla
What do you really want? what is that bothers you the most and make you keep going after me with all kind of baseless accusations?
Is it because I face you with reality and you can’t handle it, well, I can’t help you with that, you must learn how to live in the real word and be a productive person instead of being yourself.

It’s better for you now to shut up and stay away from me as I told you many times before and every comment you address me with I will asked to be removed.
This is the last time I will ask, and I hope that you wont write anything back.

May 18th, 2009, 3:43 pm


Shami said:

Here it’s not mukhabarati qardahaland ,in which you can erase anybody who oppose you, Alex is not mukhabarat abu shahata ,here we are all subjected to syriacomment rule that you did not respect.

Alex would instead remove your insults but leave your comments so the people can make their own opinion on you.

May 18th, 2009, 4:13 pm


Off the Wall said:

What Nasser and other “socialist” arabs did was merely to upset the balance that was tilted towards urban elites and allowed the development of a new military and political elites that were more rooted in the country side where familial and sectarian ties provided the only “reliable” source of power as opposed to the loyal, occasionally purchased, following of traditional urban elites.

Nikolas van Dam cites a statistics in which a french anthropologist demonstrates how differential was the attitudes of different peasant communities to these changes. In the western Ghab, predominantly alawite communities had up to 47% of girls attending schools. In the Eastern Ghab, the predominantly sunni population had between 0 to 7% of their girls studying in schools. My own observations, when I was in Syria, were similar with respect to Christian villages allbeit it was probably more than 80% to 90% of girls completing high school education. Even now, high school education for girls among sunni population lags behind those of other groups in Syria. So to put it mildly, even after the balance was upset to their advantage, country side sunnies, and a reasonable fraction of poor city sunnies fail to take advantage of one of the most important equalizers. These statistics are very important. While one can not dismiss sectarian and more importantly familial influences on Syrian politics, the group attitude also plays a role in deciding the nature and type of participation each group ends up getting, whether in a democratic society of in any other form.

As for reliable elites, i find that questionable. Traditional elites tend to sink into depression anytime their status is challenged and once independence is gained, these elites tend to get back to guarding their own interests and to favor the arrangement that gave the cities unquestionable power and left the country side lacking. You see that clearly in India, where the elites continue to rule the day and few families provide the stock of powerful politicians for generations. Inbreeding in the political, and occasionally in the actual sense, which is the main source of continuing and reliability of elites, is the downfall of elites and it will continue to be the downfall of old and new elites as well.

May 18th, 2009, 4:14 pm




Go away you Bathi! You do not get to be a mukhabarat here.

May 18th, 2009, 4:27 pm


jad said:

I agree, SC is not Qurdaha but it is not a Mosque for you to be a Mouazen in it neither 😉 Isn’t you president from Qurdaha? Have you been there? It’s really nice, the green mountains and the blue Mediterranean.
You should also visit Hafez Assad mausoleum, architecturally beautiful without any Ottoman elements to it though..How bad.

May 18th, 2009, 4:33 pm


Shami said:

OTW,i knew all these statistics ,as i said,despite this unequal development ,the social structure was ready to pass the succesfull transition towards sophisticated democracy,we had a dynamic civil society ,press freedom ,a relative democracy ,nice and patriotic elite of gentlemen.
As for the education ,there were already a process of generalization of education before that nasser took the power and the quality of the education provided was very high comparable to that of Europe and Lebanon ,the education for the girls came always lately ,this phenomemon was also seen in Europe,also we should add that in the case of Syria and Egypt the muslim brotherhood played a positive role by advising diehard fathers to give up for the sake of their girls education.
Now in order to get an idea let us compare Jordan with us, i remind you that was a small beduin country some decades ago,Jordanian university professors told me that in the 50 till the 70’s most of university students of Jordan studied in the Syrian,Egyptian and Lebanese universities and they were happy by the high quality of Syrian universities ,today all our neighbors are mocking our educational system.Today it’s the opposite ,in some private jordanian universities half of students are from Syria.They are ahead of us in all fields,in medical ,health centers,hospitals,universities,banks,less corruption.
As for Egypt ,we should not forget that many members of this wonderful intellectual elite were from modest origin,like Tahtawi,Mohamad Abdo ,Manfaluti and also Nasser and Negib included and were product of the khedivial schools.
Now if we want to gain back such qualitative civil society which is necessary for a respectful nation ,we would need a lot more time than the generalization of a basic level of literacy.

May 18th, 2009, 4:50 pm


majid said:

SHAMI, in one of your comments above, you said that you love alawites without any concerns about their so-called philosophy (assuming they have any).
I find that disturbing and I believe you’re splitting hairs to sound politically correct. I agree that you should judge people on an individual basis, and you may end up liking them, regardless of their faith. But you should not dissmiss such ‘philosopohies’ as irrelevant and should not be condemened when it becomes clear that such philosophies are unethical and based on evil ‘principles’ that could be even be satanic.
Have you read the excellently researched article of Daniel Pipes?
Also, have you not read the other excellently researched article about the art of dissimulation inherent deep in the mind and behaviour of such a breed?
Come on man, try to be realistic and not overly politically correct. Name things as they are.

May 18th, 2009, 7:33 pm


Off the Wall said:

It is very consistent that you use the words of the prince of hate and the worst islamophobe to incite hate. What tipps the bucket is you calling anything this thought thug does “excellently researched”. The man is a fraud, envious, hateful and a racist. How disapointing that someone like you gives such a fraud any credential?

I guess hate creates strange bedfellows

May 19th, 2009, 8:49 pm


jad said:

Dearest OTW,

Hateful people depends on each other for support and to spread their ‘Hate’ messages toward anything and anybody that is different than them.
How pathetic!

عالمٌ أخر

حقدٌ على طوائف
اياتٌ و مبادئ
كثيراتٌ اسبابها
و لكن
حباً لا يكون
دون أديان و مائة الهة
إلى أين نحن ذاهبون
و لا أملٌ في المستقبل
عند صغارنا


May 19th, 2009, 9:14 pm


Chris said:


Its very easy to dismiss people’s research because you don’t agree with them. While you may disagree with Daniel Pipes’ political opinions, I would imagine that he learned how to conduct research on matters relating to the Middle East when getting his PhD from Harvard on Islamic History. Perhaps he enhanced his knowledge of the Middle East history during his academic career as a professor at Harvard, the University of Chicago, and the Naval War College.

His article (one of the the two that Majid linked to above) tells us that Alawis practice Taqiyya, the religiously sanctioned practice of deception. Is this true or is he simply making this up because he it “hateful?”

May 19th, 2009, 9:43 pm


Shami said:

Majid ,i agree with OTW here ,Daniel Pipes can not be a source of reference even if he is knowledgeable ,he is basicaly an anti muslim and pro zionist ,so by definition he is my enemy.There is more knowledgeable than him , Bernard Lewis ,the famous islamologists ,but he is one of the main ideologists of the neo cons with Henry Kissinger the planners of these diabolic schemes that targeted the region during Bush presidency and which cost us more than a million of precious lives in Afghanistan ,Iraq and now Pakistan.
And i would like to add about the Alawites ,how can i attack them as people and we have Alawites who died or spent years in Asadian Prisons ?
They are an authentic part of this country and who attack them has attacked the syrian people as whole.
And about their beliefs ,the things changed now ,we are not in the medieval ages when they were isolated in their mountains in which they developped an incredible syncretism from several influences ,old eastern religion,christianism and Shia Islam ,today many of their elite is atheist and we see many conversions to Sunni Islam among those who live in the cities.
So the things are going towards their integration into the syrian body after centuries of isolation,this is a positive evolution.As for the Nusayri religion ,there is several trends ,not all of them were as portrayed by Pipes and others.

May 19th, 2009, 10:04 pm


jad said:

“So the things are going towards their integration into the syrian body after centuries of isolation”WHAAA!?
“this is a positive evolution.” Weren’t they human before?

According to stupidity, Alawite are not considered developed until they:
1- being against the regime and die in prison OR
2- become Sunni OR
3- be atheist OR
4- Call a friend!

Where do you ignorant come with such crap! your brain?

May 19th, 2009, 10:30 pm


Chris said:


Let’s try to keep the discussion civil by refraining from personal attacks.

May 19th, 2009, 10:42 pm


Off the Wall said:

Daniel Pipes position is not political; it is racial, ethnic, sectarian, and racist. His rants do not qualify as political opinions or positions, they qualify him as hate monger even if his degree is from Harvard and if he has taught in the naval college.

There are few very knowledgeable historians who deny the holocaust, there are also some knowledgeable people who continue to peddle the anti-semetic lies perpetrated in books like the protocols of the elders of zion. I call both groups ignorant fools, and I refuse to give them any respect no matter how thick is the list of citations for I know they twist the truth to serve their racist hateful motivations. Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson and their likes join this group of ignorat fools and racist hate and fear peddlers with flying colors.

May 19th, 2009, 10:44 pm


majid said:

I hate to disagree with you. When I see an article which is excellently researched I have to admit it even if it comes from someone I differ with on an ideological basis. Otherwise, we might as well say good bye to objectivity. You have not provided any evidence based on the facts of the article in order to support your view of dismissing it. Your dismissal is solely based on personal grudges which I will not allow and I have noticed an increase in your tone of hostility towards various subjects we already spoke about without any supporting evidence. I just hope you don’t treat those papers that you get to review in the same fashion. Or at least, I hope someone is reviewing your own review for the purpose of sound academic assessments.

I have found Daniel Pipes’ research to agree with many Muslim scholars and that is proof enough for me to accept his research as valid and sound.

Shami, I am not going to argue further with you regarding this issue. But I believe that you are mistaken to consider a certain so-called philosophy as irrelevant in your decision when you decide to like or dislike a certain person. I did admit that it is your right and everyone’s right for that matter to exercise judgment on an individual basis. But it is also every one’s right to form an opinion about certain philosophies and decide if they are suitable for our civilized world. What the alawites as a group did throughout history is not very honorable. Particularly, the latest behavior of the rulers of Syria is a clear testimony, notwithstanding some individual alawites who could be honorable. Any alawite who practices dissimulation is not worth associating with. And we all know it is a fundamental tenet of their belief and the beliefs of all the rafida. If we fail to keep this in mind, we may end up legitimizing many such philosophies like Nazism or fascism. Needless to say that Arabs cannot admit zionism as a legitimate movement or philosophy because of the ethical problem the zionists helped to create for the Arab people of Palestine. You can still judge a Jew individually and you may even befriend and like him. But as an Arab, when he declares his attachment to zionism he becomes illegitimate and you cannot have normal discourse with him.

May 19th, 2009, 10:57 pm


jad said:

Mind your own business!

I didn’t see you writing a concern complain regarding the hatred spreading message by the so called Majed asking others to hate other people according to their religions!
Isn’t that a break for this rule:
-Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;
Why didn’t you write any complain about that major hate message instead defending your lovely Pipes?
You are the last one on here to preach, you are an obvious double slandered opportunist kid.

May 19th, 2009, 10:59 pm


Shami said:

Jad ,i dont like the corrupt,the mukhabarat,the torturers whatever they are ,alawites or sunnis…or christians.If you are one of those ,so it’s normal that the people hate you.

It’s logical that we feel ourselves closer to those who have many things in common with us(it’s not only a religious matter) for this reason,we feel ,us syrian muslims, closer to a eastern christian than a western christian or even other muslims.
As for those who practice taqiye ,develop hatred towards their environment ,how can those be loved?
You can change the point of view ,how can a syrian christian love extremist muslims who insult them day and night ,and call them impure pork eaters?
Yes there is a shift in the alawite community, an integration in their environment ,so in the end they would share with us the same concerns.

May 19th, 2009, 11:00 pm


Shami said:

Majid ,who told you that the alawites nowadays are rafida?In the syrian schools they are obliged to learn the official islam of Syria which is sunnism.Dr Landis has wrote a paper on this matter.
I visit their religious forums in which there is no need of taqiye ,and i didnt see rafidism in them.
I’m optimistic regarding the Alawite future in Syria ,despite all the mess created by the regime.
As for the regime it’s an opportunistic regime ,that plays with several cards ,rafida (hezbollah groups and iran)and even qaida like groups.

May 19th, 2009, 11:12 pm


Shami said:

has written sorry

May 19th, 2009, 11:22 pm


majid said:

Thank you SHAMI for this information. If it is true, and I have no reason yet to doubt otherwise, then my information is out of date and stand corrected. Nevertheless, the alawites original set of beliefs cannot be sanctioned in any way. In addition, I have not changed my position regarding the clan ruling in Syria (i.e. Hafez and Son Ltd.) particularly with regards to all the harms they have inflicted and continue to inflict on the country. I believe OTW, you and I had a long discussion about this not long ago and you are quite aware of the issues that were discussed.

Thanks again.

May 20th, 2009, 12:22 am


Off the Wall said:

Dear Shami
For the sake of the continuation of this important dialogue, which IMHO is a mini-version of the larger and much needed national dialogue, we must both start and end with the certainty that you love Syria and all Syrians no less or more than me, norman, jad or any other Syrian commentator on these pages. This is a necessary condition for civil society that we all dream off and long for in Syria.

First, I want to get one point out of the way, I fully agree with you on the significant accomplishments of Jordanian higher education, both public and private. I had the pleasure to meet some of the outstanding Jordanian faculty, who are responsible for this achievement. We can further discuss how and why did Jordan manage to do so, but briefly, it happened because the Jordanian government is not as obsessed with absolute control of everything as the Syrian government is.

I am glad that OUR dear Jad, despite of his understandable anger, has left the Call a Friend button available, because i beg to differ with you on the notion that conversion is a sign of integration. While this is an automatic and unconscious attitude of well-meaning members of the majority who may see in that a much needed abolition of the barriers of suspicion, misunderstanding, and mistrust, to members of any minority group, it means exactly what it meant to Jad, a rejection unless they conform to the majority. I am sure that you do not view the conversion of a Christian Syrian to Islam as a condition of her/his integration into Syrian Society, so why should it be a condition or even a sign of integration for an Alawite compatriot. You argued in a previous post that we inherited a diverse mosaic from the ottoman empire because of their tolerance of minorities. You can not maintain a mosaic if conformity to the majority is called integration. The two are irreconcilable. Sunnis are the majority in Syria, but they are not Syria.

May 20th, 2009, 12:27 am


jad said:

Corruption is not a religion; it is a society disease that must be fought wherever and whenever found.
Moukhabarat is not a religion, it is suppose to be a job to protect the society from harm but people distorted it to become a disgusting abuse of power that should go back to its own purpose of protecting the society under the civil police system.
Torture is not a religion, is a diabolic act that takes over our humanity and every and any one do/did it should be prosecuted
On the other hand, Alawite is a Sect of a Religion that you and anybody else doesn’t have any right whatsoever to judge those who belong to that religion, it’s so fundamentally wrong to do or even think of that on all levels.
By mixing all different religions together in one comment to justify pointing out Alawites as an isolated community that needs to be developed by your ‘own’ criteria doesn’t justify what was you wrote and doesn’t make you look better than any other extremist and radical out there.
Religion is not of your, my, or anybody’s business, it’s exclusively GOD’s to deal with, so why don’t you and those who hates leave that judgment to his mighty God instead of bombarding us with your chaotic and hatred nonsense analyses, it’s not the place nor the subject of the article you are writing under for that matter, save all your precious ideas until someone asked you about.

May 20th, 2009, 12:48 am


Off the Wall said:


I have hostility towards biggotry and hate, as well as towards those who try to crush academic freedom. My view of this person and his likes has never been moderate or mild. And I do not make an appology for that.

Here is a section of a book I am almost about to finish

—-Begin Excerpt——

Rgina blew on her coffee. “So why are you reading it?”
“Because it’s assigned.”, I paused, not sure if I should go on. “And because__”
“And because the book teaches me things,” I said. “About white poeple, I mean. See, the book’s not realy about Africa. Or black people. It’s about the man who wrote it. The Europeans. The American. A particular way of looking at the world. If you can keep your distance, it’s all there, in what’s said and what’s left unsaid. So I read the book to help me understand just what it is that makes white poeple so afraid. Their demons. The way ideas get twisted around. It helps me undertsand how poeple learn to hate.”

“And that’s important to you,”

My life depends on it, I thought to my self. But I didn’t tell Regina that. I just smiled and said, “That’s the only way to cure an illness, right? Diagnose it.”

——- End Excerpt. Barak Obama in Dreams from my Father, pp 103. Describing a discussion he had with a friend during his sophomore year Spelling errors are OTWs not Obama’s 🙂

The reason i cited this exchange is because I happened to agree with the author on this point. This is very much the way I see Daniel Pipes works more about his demons than about me, the religion of my ancestors, neighbours and friends. I will cite his work as an example of how ideas are twisted, but not as a respectable review of Islamic thoughts or as an academic source on Islam or on Islamic sects. I keep my distance when I can, but the hateful messages these poeple carry along as they go from one campus to another enlisting mukhabart-like spies amongst our student populations, trying to corrupt the integrity of our academic institutions, and going on with a fascist campgain of intimidation through inventing unfounded charges, all to silence any criticism of Israeli policies stinks so bad that no distance can keep me far enough. Anyone who does what these thugs are doing deserves not the respectability of being cited. His political views are not the issue here, his anti free thinking campaign is.

May 20th, 2009, 1:19 am


Off the Wall said:

By the way,
anyone noticed that the abbreviation of in my humble oppinion completely loses its humility as it gets capitalized 🙂

May 20th, 2009, 1:26 am


Shami said:

Ahlan Majid.
OTW ,for me it’s positive that they(the alawites) become closer to the Sunni muslims for several reasons but that doesnt mean that we should force them by force to change their religion,this is against the teaching of al Quran.And in today Syria if Alawites become Sunnis it’s for the reason i cited above ,they left their mountains in which they were isolated for centuries and nowadays they live among us in Latakkia, Damascus ,Aleppo ,Homs,Hama,Raqqa and this proximity is enough to attract them to Sunni Islam,nobody forced them even not through proselytism.Now these conversions should not be understood as total they will not become as conservative than the Sunnis,the big majority is of liberal trend and externally look more like lebanese christians than Sunnis.And the majority would still prefer that we call them “Alawites”.
As for the Syrian christians ,on the contrary, we want those who left to return to their homeland Syria.The decrease of their percentage is a source of concern for many educated muslims.
For this reason ,i’m for the possibility to grant for any christian of syrian, iraqi,lebanese,palestinian ,anatolian origins the syrian citizenship.
Syria without an important christian community would lose a big part of its soul.
I’m also for the return of the Jewish Syrians to Syria.

May 20th, 2009, 1:32 am


Shami said:

Sorry Syrian jews.

May 20th, 2009, 1:39 am


Jad said:

How did Osama let you out of Afhghanistan? You are the best little helper he could get.
Seriousely, don’t you have any shame writing what you just wrote?
They! Us! Mountains! Man you are a disgrace of every Syrian.
And I’m really disgusted by every word you wrote in your last comment, ya 3eib alshoum 3la heik shabab!
La 7awla wa La quwatta illa billah.

May 20th, 2009, 1:58 am


Shami said:

Jad,what’s your problem with they and us,i’m muslim and you are christian ,this plurality is natural in pluralistic Syria and doesnt mean hostlity.

May 20th, 2009, 2:05 am


Off the Wall said:

Majid, rest assured, respected academic journals, have the following pecking order

Editorial Board: Review the editors decisions
Editors: Review the associate editors decisions
Associate Editors: Review the reviewers work and assign papers to reviewers based on narrow speciality within the field
Reviewers: Review the authors work
Co-Authors: Review the graduate student work
Graduate students: Do the real creative work behind most big names and a majority of the best papers. Respected professor ensure that the grad student name is the first on the co-authors list in such cases.

I am not going to tell you where I stand in this pecking order now 🙂

May 20th, 2009, 3:11 am


majid said:

SHAMI, the last two comments you wrote are excellent. This is how I can best relate to a true Syrian. Never mind what others keep complaining and throwing mudslings out of despair, I assure you it’ll get thrown back in their faces. I know that from experience. There is only so much you can do to accomodate deviations and you have done more than enough. Excellent.

OTW, I’ll get back to you on the last two comments. I have to digets them first. They sound thoughtful to me.

May 20th, 2009, 3:56 am


jad said:

“for me it’s positive that they(the Muslims) become closer to the Christians for several reasons but that doesn’t mean that we should force them by force to change their religion, this is against the teaching of the Bible. And in today Europe/America if Sunnis become Christians it’s for the reason I cited above ,they left their desert in which they were isolated for centuries and nowadays they live among us in Paris, London, Rome, Madrid, New York, Los Angeles, Sidney, and this proximity is enough to attract them to Christianity, nobody forced them even not through proselytism.”

“for me it’s positive that they(the Christians) become closer to the Muslims for several reasons but that doesn’t mean that we should force them by force to change their religion, this is against the teaching of al Quran. And in today Middle East if Christians become Sunnis it’s for the reason I cited above ,they left their villages in which they were isolated for centuries and nowadays they live among us in Damascus ,Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Casablanca, and this proximity is enough to attract them to Sunni Islam, nobody forced them even not through proselytism.”

“for me it’s positive that they(the Muslims) become closer to the Jews for several reasons but that doesn’t mean that we should force them by force to change their religion, this is against the teaching of the Torah. And in today Israel if Sunnis become Jews it’s for the reason I cited above ,they left their desert in which they were isolated for centuries and nowadays they live among us in Tel Aviv, Eilat, Nazareth, Galilee, Dead Sea, Ashkelon, Negev, Haifa and this proximity is enough to attract them to Judaism, nobody forced them even not through proselytism.”

“for me it’s positive that they(the Shia aka RAFIDI) become closer to the Sunni Muslims for several reasons but that doesn’t mean that we should force them by force to change their religion, this is against the teaching of al Quran. And in today Saudi Arabia if Shias become Sunnis it’s for the reason I cited above ,they left their rocky mountains in which they were isolated for centuries and nowadays they live among us in Jeddah, Riyadh, Medina, Mecca and this proximity is enough to attract them to Sunni Islam, nobody forced them even not through proselytism.”

For Jad all the above is disgusting regardless how you look at it, with or without an idiot schezophreniac support, because your next level will be your own brother who might be a Shafi3i not a 7anbali like you and you want to change him too.

May 20th, 2009, 4:20 pm


Shami said:

lol Jad.
Btw,not all the shias are rafida.

May 20th, 2009, 4:41 pm


norman said:


Who cares , what does it matter , let them go to hell , you do not have to save them , what matter is how good a person is not his religion .

May 20th, 2009, 4:49 pm


Ayman Rajai Hakki MD said:

Ford Perfect, and others, may be right…but there’s a lot of inside info missing; one third of the explosives used in the assassination were made in Israel. If anyone needs verification of my claim, contact me and I’ll share with you my source. All I am saying is that this whole story is more complex than; everyone thinks it is this party or that party who is responsible for the murder of Hariri. The Middle East is too complex for simplistic and declarative statement. ARH

May 28th, 2009, 4:26 pm


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