Will Gaza Bring Reconciliation to Divided Arab Leaders? - Syria Comment

Will Gaza Bring Reconciliation to Divided Arab Leaders?

Did Israel’s invasion of Gaza force the beginnings of reconciliation between the feuding Arab leaders? Many Syrians saw a ray of hope in the meeting between President Assad and Saudi King Abdullah at the Economic Summit in Kuwait.

King Abdullah and President Assad Make Up Under Pressure from Israel?

King Abdullah and President Assad Make Up at the Kuwait Economic summit under pressure from the Arab people who were horrified at Arab divisions that prevented any Arab attempt to respond to Israel's attack on Gaza

Read al-Sharq al-Awsat, here and here

Differences persist according to Reuters.

Arab leaders agreed at a summit on Tuesday to help rebuild the battered Gaza Strip, but differences persisted over finding a united stance on the three-week Israeli offensive that killed more than 1,300 people. Differences over the strength of the wording on Gaza in the declaration delayed the summit’s concluding session…. The final declaration omitted detail on the size of a fund to rebuild Gaza. Foreign ministers meeting on Friday had adopted a resolution to establish a fund of up to $2 billion (1 billion pounds) fund that leaders were expected to back. Saudi Arabia committed $1 billion towards reconstruction on Monday.

AP’s DIANA ELIAS writes:

Earlier Tuesday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, without naming specific countries, said leaders were unable to reach a consensus.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t reach a final result because of time limits and because some are entrenched in their positions,” Zebari told state-owned Kuwait Television.

The failure to agree came a day after Saudi King Abdullah urged Arab leaders to end their differences and warned Israel that an Arab peace initiative proposed by the kingdom would not remain on the table forever.

The king, who along with Egypt have been pressuring Hamas to be more moderate, even invited his Arab rivals — the leaders of Syria and Qatar — to lunch at his Kuwait residence. Following the meal, Qatar’s prime minister expressed optimism that both camps could work together, and local media praised the gathering as a historic “Arab reconciliation.”

But Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak took a veiled swipe at Syria by criticizing Iran’s ties with some Arab leaders — indicating that the two sides were still divided. The Persian country and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah are two of Hamas’ main backers and both have strong relations with Syria and Hamas.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both staunch U.S. allies, initially blamed Hamas for the Gaza crisis. Later, as the Gaza death toll increased and public pressure in the Arab world to support Hamas mounted, the two Arab powerhouses shifted their accusations toward Israel.

IC writes: “Words of kissing and making up between Bashar Al Assad and Saudi/Egyptian/Jordanian leaders. If this is true, its HUGE. I hate to be a skeptic but i wonder how long this will last. but you cannot miss the irony of this happening the day Bush leaves the White House”

Ehsani2: “By watching the speech of the Saudi King, one cannot but concede that Damascus won big this morning. It is no longer that Syria is responsible for Arab divisions. The King admitted that it was everybody’s fault “without exception”. Israel’s attack on Gaza left the Saudi King with no option but to cut his loss and redeem the little credibility that he, Egypt and Abbas have left when it comes to their silence. As usual, Damascus proves its superior understanding of the region’s geopolitical realities.

Alex writes: “Better late than never … the king should have made that speech a year or two ago, but fine. As for Syria’s choices of allies … I think one of the most valuable ones was Syria’s alliance with Qatar …. in effect Syria got Aljazeera on its side.

The Saudi King was surely aware of the damage he was sustaining on a daily basis throughout the Arab world as Aljazeera covered the Egyptian and Saudi positions on the Gaza massacre. Opinions of guests were increasingly frank and negative… and you could feel the anger mounting against the two US allies.

Mubarak still can not stand Bashar by the way. His body language was quite negative at the meeting. he kept looking to the other side (not Bashar’s side) http://www.sana.sy/servers/gallery/20090119-163937.jpg

Observer writes: “Hamas was looking beyond the campaign on the ground for a campaign to win the elections in the West Bank and undermine Fatah. I think that when Abbas is calling for a unity government he knows that he and his faction are in big trouble. He is the one who was adamant about removing Hamas from Gaza”

Read ‘Abd al-Bari ‘Atwan in alquds alarabi. If this leads to concrete unified action and Egypt follows through with SA, then my hat to Barak, Livni, and the Olmert troika for unifying the Arab fold. It is a big IF, but let us wait and see: Atwan writes:

فمن كان يصدق منظر العاهل السعودي الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز وهو يسير متشابك الأيدي مع الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، ومن كان يتوقع ان يرى امير قطر الشيخ حمد بن خليفة يجلس جنباً الى جنب مع الرئيس المصري حسني مبارك بعد المعارك الاعلامية الطاحنة، يتبادلان الابتسامات والأحاديث الودية وكأن شيئاً لم يحدث؟

By the way, the number of homeless in Gaza is estimated at 50 000 and the number without water is 500 000.Uri Avnery writes: The Arab defeat in the 1948 war brought in its wake the fall of almost all the existing Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of nationalist leaders, exemplified by Gamal Abd-al-Nasser. The 2009 war may bring about the fall of the current crop of Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of leaders – Islamic fundamentalists who hate Israel and all the West..

In coming years it will become apparent that this war was sheer madness. The boss has indeed gone mad – in the original sense of the word.

Ryan Crocker: “”Major traumas have very far-reaching consequences,” he says. “The Israeli invasion of 1982 had a fundamental and ongoing impact on the entire region, and on us. It brought into being the Syria-Iran alliance, it brought into being Hezbollah — and all the second- and third-order consequences, some of which we’re arguably confronting today in Gaza.” Crocker’s innate skepticism made him wary of Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. He won’t talk about his policy views, even now, except to say: “It was all opaque to me. I couldn’t see what would happen.”

Taher al-Nunu, Hamas government spokesman:: “Israel has succeeded in killing everything except the will of  the people,” said Taher al-Nunu, the main government spokesman. “They said they were going to dismantle the resistance and demolish the rockets, but after this historic victory, the government is steadfast, we are working and they were not able to stop the rockets.”

Eyad el-Sarraj, a Gazan psychiatrist who is an opponent of Hamas: “I think Hamas is stronger now and will be stronger in the future because of this war,” said Eyad el-Sarraj, a psychiatrist here who is an opponent of Hamas. “This war has deepened the people’s feeling that it is impossible to have peace with Israel, a country that promotes death and destruction.”

In the LATimes “…The urgency in both men’s voices signaled a position of weakness, reflecting the frustration of Western-oriented Palestinians over the outcome in Gaza……..the authority has no means to reassert its presence in Gaza without the consent of Hamas. And although Hamas said it was open to a new power-sharing deal, it seemed in no hurry to strike one with Abbas, whom one Hamas official dismissed as “a full partner” in the Israeli assault…… “The people are going to hold accountable whoever failed to stand by our people in Gaza,” said Izzeddin Ibrahim, a 25-year-old engineer in Ramallah. “There is no chance left to make peace with those who kill our people. We cannot accept anyone meeting with Israelis anymore.” a large majority of Palestinians, as many as eight in 10, believe Abbas’ peace talks with Israel are pointless and should be halted….. ”

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BEIJING: The militant Islamic group Hamas should “face reality” and join the Middle East peace process, a Chinese envoy said Monday, adding the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians cannot be resolved by war.

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday described the violence in Gaza as a “tragedy” and urged the internationalal community not to marginalise Hamas after its war with Israel. He also criticised Israel for having showed a lack of respect in keeping Turkey, their main regional ally, in the dark over the Gaza offensive. “This lack of respect is something that Israel has to remedy.”
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IDIT wrote: “Erdogan can kiss goodbye any hope of joining the EU.”
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AP writes: The Middle East envoy is shaping up to be Senator George Mitchell (of Arab-American heritage, mother’s side). All the fears of having a Jewish envoy have been thrown out the door. No “bias”, no “jewish cabal”, to worry about. Right? Of course the US and Israel-haters will find something wrong….
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Mark Lynch: Engage on Gaza right away. One of the most glaring aspects of the Gaza crisis was the near-invisibility of the United States. Many people in the region saw this as the logical conclusion of eight years of disastrous American disengagement.  It isn’t going to be easy for Obama to pick up the pieces. In the short term he should make clear that he expects the cease-fire to stick, and take the lead in offering significant reconstruction aid to the people of Gaza.  More broadly, he needs to demonstrate that the U.S. is re-engaging with the Arab-Israeli conflict on new terms.  Not grand but empty promises — Bush promised the Palestinians a state by now, remember.  And not Clinton-era peace processing —  it’s hard to imagine a situation less “ripe” for resolution, the current Palestinian leadership is in no position to deliver anything, and the Gaza war will leave deep scars. Instead, focus on the realities on the ground as they are, not as we would like them to be, and put U.S. diplomatic and material support into building more solid foundations for a renewed peace engagement.
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Barak Obama says: “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

Comments (51)


Naji said:

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

January 20th, 2009, 6:01 pm

 

Chris said:

Naji,

You beat me to it!

In case anybody didn’t catch it, the transcript is here: http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=6689022 . Although, try to see it on youtube, because needless to say, he is quite an orator.

January 20th, 2009, 6:11 pm

 

offended said:

where on youtube?

January 20th, 2009, 6:14 pm

 

offended said:

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. “

January 20th, 2009, 6:15 pm

 

Naji said:

But, Chris, let’s just imagine and hope that that was addressed to the Israeli “leaders” as much as it was to others…

January 20th, 2009, 6:17 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Congratulation,Barak Hussein Obama ,amd to America, it was a great speech, from the son of Hussein.

January 20th, 2009, 6:21 pm

 

Chris said:

Naji,

That would require quite an imagination. In my mind we don’t need much of an imagination to know what kind of regimes he was referring to.

Offended,

Not sure. Perhaps, its not up yet. It will likely be up soon. Try the CNN or MSNBC website.

January 20th, 2009, 6:29 pm

 

Naji said:

But, Chris, are you really THAT self-satisfied…?!!!! I hope not… for that would be really hopeless…!!

January 20th, 2009, 6:35 pm

 

Chris said:

Naji,
I don’t understand what you mean? Was I satisfied with the speech? Yes.

January 20th, 2009, 6:43 pm

 

HARBOOK said:

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent”

Corruption: Olmert, Bibi all have been charged with corruption.

Deceit: How is is not deceitful to break a ceasfire on Nov. 5th, then blame hamas for breaking it.

Silencing Dissent: Refer to Lieberman silencing dissent by dis-allowing Arab Parties to participate in domestic zionism

the arab states are equally guilty, but israel makes decisions everyday to this effect. the arab states shy away from decisions. this is the seminal difference in character. active imperialism vs. passive power

January 20th, 2009, 7:06 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Great line, but what is the metric that Mr. Obama will use to determine those are corrupt and those who silence dissent?

Will this include all the leaders of our region or will it be a selective list that suits the U.S. foreign policy objectives of the time?

Are countries involved in a land grab also on the wrong side of history or are they too powerful to take on and confront?

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. “

Wonderful.

What happens when the interest of Israel clash with those of the Muslim world?

Will the U.S. ever choose the latter over the former?

Presumably, we shall all find out in the not-so-distant future.

January 20th, 2009, 7:38 pm

 

chris said:

Ehsani,
You wrote:
“Are countries involved in a land grab also on the wrong side of history or are they too powerful to take on and confront?”

Nearly every country in Middle East has a border dispute with at least one of its neighbors.

January 20th, 2009, 7:45 pm

 

Chris said:

Ehsani,

I hope he can deal with all of these land grabs. But it might be difficult to tackle such long standing disputes.

January 20th, 2009, 7:53 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Chris,

Grabbing a piece of land from a neighboring “country” is one thing. Grabbing land and denying people a “viable country” is a whole other matter.

January 20th, 2009, 7:58 pm

 

Chris said:

Ehsani,

About denying viable states to a people: In Syria, the country to which discussion on this blog is devoted, there are about 2 million Kurds. I hope that someday, they can obtain a viable state of their own. I’m sick and tired of the way they have been treated in both Turkey and Syria. After all, if the Treaty of Sevres had been carried out we might have a Kurdish state in what is now Eastern Turkey. That in my view, is the largest land grab and denial of a viable state to a people that I can think of. So I hope that the roughly 30million Kurds will have a viable state of their own, and soon. After all, they are are the largest stateless people.

January 20th, 2009, 8:10 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

It is just so very wonderful and moving to see that you care about the Kurds and their plight. Perhaps you ought to channel your ample energy to that cause. How about starting your own blog on Kurdish affairs?

Kurdistancomment perhaps?

Some of us will miss you here am sure but we will try to manage.

January 20th, 2009, 8:16 pm

 

Chris said:

Thanks EHSANI2!

They are totally overlooked. Especially when people think about Turkey. We often look at Turkey as a country that has been slowly improving its democratic record, especially with the recent reforms to enter the EU, but people rarely recall all that went on during the 80s and 90s. It was all very recent. Thousands of villages were entirely destroyed.

I highly recommend A Modern History of the Kurds by Patrick McDowell. It’s a bit of a tome, but if you skip to the parts that are more relevant to today, there isn’t too much to read. The section on Turkey is huge. Oh, yeah and skip anything by Andrew Mango, he goes to great lengths to justify Turkey’s “approach” to the Kurdish minority.

I’ve thought about doing something like that, but I think I should focus my energy on the Levant as I have lived in Syria and speak a bit of Arabic.

January 20th, 2009, 8:26 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

That would be a major loss to the Kurdish people. You ought to learn some Turkish (relatively easy to learn language). That way you can take on the mighty Turkish state and push for your cause. Again, we shall miss your dearly am sure.

January 20th, 2009, 8:32 pm

 

jad said:

(I hope that someday, they can obtain a viable state of their own.)
Chris, day after day you prove that you know very little but you talk too much about issues you have no deep knowledge except watching a documentary then you show up here and start your normal chit chat with 100 one line comments.
If everybody in ‘Syria’ would like to have his own ‘state’ you will end up like the Iraqi example and you will have nothing of a country left…
Not all the Kurds in Syria have issues as you think, the majorities of the Kurds who are melted in the Syrian society considers themselves as Syrian as all of us and you have part of the Kurds who doesn’t really know what they want or how to fit within a state.
If the condition of the Syrian Kurds where as bad as you are trying to portray it, they have the freedom to go to Kurdistan in Iraq and have their own way of living but until now I didn’t read about a mass immigration and running form the Syrian states.
You care and hope about having a state for the Kurds in Turkey and you deny the Palestinians having the hope of having back their land. You are something else!

January 20th, 2009, 8:32 pm

 

Chris said:

Jad,

You wrote:
“If everybody in ‘Syria’ would like to have his own ’state’ you will end up like the Iraqi example and you will have nothing of a country left…”

Of course not everyone should be able to have their own state. Are there any other non-Arab minorities of significant size in Syria? I did not suggest that everyone should be able to have his own state nor was that the logical conclusion of what I said.

The reigning ideology of the state in Syria is Baathism, Arab Nationalism. How can Kurds, who are not Arabs, fit into such a state?

Jad you wrote:
“You care and hope about having a state for the Kurds in Turkey and you deny the Palestinians having the hope of having back their land. You are something else!”

I have never denied “the Palestinians having the hope of having back their land.” I believe they should have a state. I have always said that.

“Not all the Kurds in Syria have issues as you think, the majorities of the Kurds who are melted in the Syrian society considers themselves as Syrian as all of us and you have part of the Kurds who doesn’t really know what they want or how to fit within a state.”

I didn’t know that there is reliable data on Syria-Kurdish public opinion. Although, the Kurds I talked to seemed to say that although they were born in Syria they have been denied many rights. For instance, the people I talked to, couldn’t go to university, they said they were unable to obtain many types of jobs, they can’t obtain travel documents (as many are denied nationality under a dubious census), and they can’t study their own language.

As far as “consider themselves Syrian is concerned.” Well, identity is a complicated thing. It is often layered and overlapping, one might feel Syrian, kinship with Kurds generally, and still feel that the Syrian state is marginalized. It is possible for a single person to feel all of the above sentiments.

January 20th, 2009, 8:48 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

And if Arabs unite? then what?
Then they will declare one more war on Israel? then what?
Will this improve the [ economy, democracy, health, education, civil rights ]
in their countries?

We see that once more, Arab corrupt and nepotist rulers mange to
manipulate the publics in the Arab arena ( AlJezeera ) and to divert
and to to distort the much more important issues.

I’m not saying that the Israeli-Arab issue isn’t important.
I’m saying that when ever Israel is on AlJezeera, every thing else is
being forgotten. How simple and comfortable.
.

January 20th, 2009, 8:50 pm

 

Chris said:

Amir,

You put that quite well.

I hope that people will be able to look beyond the conflicts and rhetoric. As Obama said today, “To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.” ( http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=6689022 )

Amir you wrote, “And if Arabs unite? Then what?” Well, that is a big if. In the words of Muammar Qadafi, “Our blood and our language may be one, but there is nothing that can unite us.”

And on a joint Arab nuclear plan he said:
“How can we do that? We hate each other, we wish ill of each other and our intelligence services conspire against each other. We are our own enemy.”
( http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2008/03/gaddafi_tells_a.php )

January 20th, 2009, 9:07 pm

 

jad said:

Chris, out of 22 comments 9 are for you.
Don’t you have work/study to do?

(I didn’t know that there is reliable data on Syria-Kurdish public opinion.)
Since you are using your street friends to back your story as your main resources, I’m using my neighbors, School friends, university friends, coworkers as my back public opinion…

(For instance, the people I talked to, couldn’t go to university)

Because they didn’t study enough and not because they are Kurds,

(they said they were unable to obtain many types of jobs)
Not true, if you are a Syrian citizen you can work wherever you want.

(they can’t obtain travel documents (as many are denied nationality under a dubious census)

Did you ask WHY? Use your time better and do some research for the reason…anyway, the Syrian government are working on that issue case by case..

(And they can’t study their own language).
Did you ask them why? Ask yourself why? Do you know that Iraq even during Saddam regime was the only country where Kurds had more rights than any other Kurds in the region and they had their own schools.
No country in the world will allow you to study your own language knowing that eventually you want to build your own state on it’s land..
Did you have any Armenian friends? Even Jewish Syrians with all their unfortunate of the Syrian government not giving their full rights had their own schools where they study Hebrew….
Why do you think Syria granted them the right to study their own language in their own schools? Why? if Syria was this evil state you are trying to show, it would’ve treat all it’s different ethnic group the same way as your ‘Kurd’ friends telling you but it didn’t so the problem is not the police state we live in it’s some of the separatist Kurds leaders attitude that they need to work on it before whining to you.

January 20th, 2009, 9:46 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Notice that unlike bush in the 2005 inauguration speech,
Obama doesn’t talk about democracy. Obama talks about “respect” to, and from Muslims.
And he expects Muslim populations to do the dirty work (fight for rights ).
I think it’s both, wise and dangerous.
.

January 20th, 2009, 10:00 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

This is the most nonesence I have read in this comment, those who advocate a country for every ethnic community, they should advocated it in the USA, infact they must relinquish america to the red indian, this is just stupid, but it is not strange comming from a bunch of zionist.

January 20th, 2009, 10:12 pm

 

Chris said:

Majed,

I didn’t mean to imply that there should be a country for every ethnic community. But a do think that there is a strong case to be made for an ethnic community such as the Kurds who number about 30 million people.

The U.S. is different from the norm of the nation-state in that it did not develop out of a desire by a specific ethnic community to create a state of their own. It was founded by immigrants, although immigrants primarily from the same country. So, there isn’t a very significant ethnic component to American nationalism. This is in clear contrast to Syria, where Arab nationalism is the ideology of the state. Certainly, this ideology ignores the existence of the Kurdish community in Syria.

I’m not a Zionist. I just believe that the Israelis and the Palestinians should both have a state of their own.

Jad wrote:

“Did you have any Armenian friends? Even Jewish Syrians with all their unfortunate of the Syrian government not giving their full rights had their own schools where they study Hebrew….
Why do you think Syria granted them the right to study their own language in their own schools? Why? if Syria was this evil state you are trying to show, it would’ve treat all it’s different ethnic group the same way as your ‘Kurd’ friends telling you but it didn’t so the problem is not the police state we live in it’s some of the separatist Kurds leaders attitude that they need to work on it before whining to you.”

This is because Syrian Baath regime felt, or feels, more threatened by Kurds. Their population is significantly larger than the Armenians or Jews. More importantly though, their population is geographically concentrated. In contrast to the Armenians, they are indigenous. Also, they have significant numbers of ethnic brethren in regions of neighnboring countries adjacent to Syria. As non-Arabs their mere existence comes into direct conflict with the Baathist state’s ideology.

Well, I don’t really know what “evil” means in this contex. But I do believe that the human rights record of the Bashar family regime in Syria with respect to the Kurds has been deplorable. You mentioned Kurdish leaders: well if the Syrian regime believes they have committed some crime then the regime ought to deal with them on an individual basis, however, subjugating an ethnic minority based on the actions of a few leaders is despicable.

January 20th, 2009, 11:14 pm

 

lalla said:

From a dedicated lurker; please don’t let Chris and his fellow travelers ruin this thread, on this day. They will never change because their Zionism is their religion.

I loved the poetic imagery of that line:

“….but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

That speaks to many around the world; of all religions and ethnicities.

January 20th, 2009, 11:21 pm

 

DOFIS said:

I’ve been a silent participant of this forum for a long time. It seems to me that Chris is a quasi-spammer who keeps adding a lot comments, without any adding any meaningful value. It just makes for a lot of “noise”. I suggest that most of you ignore him. It will elevate the discourse.

Just my 2 cents here.

January 20th, 2009, 11:35 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

Insult to injury that some call chutzpah.

Israel wants to control the reconstruction of Gaza so says Haaretz.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1056791.html

They also claim that Amnesty verges on being antisemitic. While over 250 international lawyers are prepared to take Israel to the World court and the only democracy in the Middle East is interested in turning a buck out of a suicide foretold……

http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentr.htm

January 20th, 2009, 11:52 pm

 

jad said:

“This is because Syrian Baath regime felt, or feels, more threatened by Kurds.”
Exactly, so why you blame us for others miscalculation and there plan to threaten us as a society?

‘they are indigenous.’
Nobody saying otherwise, but nowadays they live in a country called SYRIA, and they should learn to live with all of us, otherwise it’s their mistake and they should deal with the consequences…
You should read an article written way back on here by a SYRIAC, who are before anybody else lived in that part of Syria, they live in the same area with the Kurds and read the way the Kurds try to take over everybody’s else over there and the way they threatened the Syrian community on their own land…or go back couple months ago and read about the Mosel in Iraq and who start the Christian killing over there!

“the Baathist state’s ideology.”
In principles I don’t see any flaws of the Baath when it calls for secular state that everybody is equal and everybody has rights and duties to do. It is neither a ZIONIST nor NAZI party!
It’s very simple, if you are in a country try to obey the law, work to develop and improve it otherwise you get what you deserve….

“well if the Syrian regime believes they have committed some crime then the regime ought to deal with them on an individual basis, however, subjugating an ethnic minority based on the actions of a few leaders is despicable.”

I aint see you that much passionate defending Hamas leader using the same method you are defending the kurds, yet we didn’t occupy their land nor bombing and killing them whenever we have an election?

Anyway, I have some work to do and I’m sure that there are many people on here with more knowledge about your new subject, willing and having the time to exchange comments with you. I’m kind of tiered of such exchanges leading to nowhere.

January 20th, 2009, 11:54 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

I have never denied “the Palestinians having the hope of having back their land.” I believe they should have a state. I have always said that.

Cristopher where should that state be and how big? 1967 border or more or less? How do you see the dividing of Jerusalem.

—–

And if Arabs unite? then what?
Then they will declare one more war on Israel? then what?
Will this improve the [ economy, democracy, health, education, civil rights ]
in their countries?

Well Israeli Amir if Arabs formed a EU style union with centralized foreign policy and military (defence union) Israel would have no changes in a potential future war and there would be no war. That union would be politically, economically and militarily completely superior compared to Israel, naturally if they would have own nuclear weapons. If that kind of union would say to USA or EU jump, USA and EU would jump so long the oil age continues.

Amir in Tel Aviv Israelis know that their only hope to keep up their present role is that Arab countries stay quarrelsome and fragmented and does its best to fragment them more. Surely you are not worried about improving Arabs [ economy, democracy, health, education, civil rights ], because you do not even allow those luxurious rights to your own citizen Arabs and slave Arabs. So lets stop to be hypocritical. Speak Amir the Israeli first about the rights of Arabs inside Israel’s administration, then you could give some modest “worries” of the Arab countries situation.

Surely if Arabs would form a political and economical union that modernization process would force the Arab regimes to increase the [ economy, democracy, health, education, civil rights ]. Gradually in steps but certainly.

January 20th, 2009, 11:58 pm

 

trustquest said:

Jad, Majed,

With all due respect, your views regarding the Kurds do not reflect all the views in the country. I have lived with friends Kurds from the tow sides, the one you know and the one Chris knows, and they are on the increase and proportionally to the Chris friend side.
In my last visit, a old respected educator who born and lived in Damascus, gave me a book he wrote on Kurds history, I’m proud to have it. These people are a nation such as the Arabs. The people who one day were integrated in Syrian society, Damascus and Aleppo Kurds, they are getting less and less by time, like the educator I mentioned. Depriving a whole community from learning their own language even to be taught as a second language is not a reflection of Syrian opinions. Time has changed and keeps changing and there is a need for new open minded towards minority and humans rights.

January 21st, 2009, 12:04 am

 

Chris said:

Simo wrote:
“Cristopher where should that state be and how big? 1967 border or more or less? How do you see the dividing of Jerusalem.”

The state should be in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. For me, the concern is getting both parties to agree. I think the only way of getting that accomplished is having a deal based as closely on the ’67 borders as possible. Of course, there will have to be some accommodations on both sides. This primarily relates to the major settlement blocs and hopefully finding some way to link Gaza and the West Bank.

I really can’t see a deal being completed without Jerusalem being divided in some way. So, I hope both sides will be willing to divide Jerusalem in a creative way.

I’ve heard a number of speakers now say, basically, we know almost exactly what an agreement will look like, but the key is getting to where an agreement could be signed. I heard some speaker, perhaps it was Blair quoting someone, recently saying, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but there is no tunnel.

January 21st, 2009, 12:50 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Of course, there will have to be some accommodations on both sides. Of course, this relates to the major settlement blocs and hopefully finding some way to link Gaza and the West Bank.

Why Chris Israel would not donate those major settlement blocks with the buildings + infrastructure (- synagogues) to Palestinians as a compensation of lost property inside Israel? For example to those Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. That could solve part of the right to return problem. Why should Palestinians give those large blocks for a right to drive through Israel (between Gaza and West Bank)?

By the way Chris what do you think happens to Israel when hundreds of thousands settlers return? Will there be a civil war and a new wave of terrorism when Jewish extremists organizations fire rockets from their new refugee camps towards West Bank and make attacks a’la Baruh Golstein.

January 21st, 2009, 1:12 am

 

Chris said:

Simo,

Whatever works. Whatever gets a deal done. As you alluded to, the refugee issue will have to be worked out.

The issue of the settlement blocs will also have to be worked out. In negotiations concessions aren’t made for the sake of making concessions. So if the Israelis are willing to give up the major settlement blocs than they would need to be offered something huge to get to that point.

I do think though that having a way of driving between W.B. and Gaza would be economically important, especially for Gaza.

Well, it’s interesting that you bring up the settlers and a civil war. You know a couple months ago there was a dramatic upsurge in settler violence, against the Israeli military and the Palestinians. At that time I was hopeful that the conflict between the settlers and the military and settler violence overall would galvanize the Israeli public to move against them. As you know, many Israelis are ambivalent about the settlements. I think nothing would make Israelis take a clear stand against them like violence against the Israeli military. But, recent events have overtaken all that, but it could still play out that way.

So do I think there will be a civil war? Well, first we have to get to the point where there is a major push within Israel for a pull out. After the violence that ensued against Israel after their pullouts from Gaza and Lebanon, Israelis won’t be leaving territory without a negotiated deal and security guarantees. We are no where near that. So, a civil war from Israeli settlers is a bit hypothetical at the moment.

Really though, I believe that if there is a deal, the big blocs will stay and so Israel will only have to deal with those people that wish to reside in far off isolated outposts. Their number are few and if Israelis are willing to concede roughly half of Jerusalem then they should be able to confront a few thousand radical extremists.

January 21st, 2009, 1:40 am

 

nafdik said:

What does everybody think about the effect of this crisis on Mubarak?

Could his naked support for the siege on Gaza put his regime in serious danger?

January 21st, 2009, 1:49 am

 

jad said:

Dear Trustquest,
I’m totally with you regarding education, I am and I will always be with education and educated society, I believe it’s the key to our progress and real political freedom. I don’t think I reflect otherwise in my comments.
I’m with the integration of the whole society fabrics in one ‘watan’ and I’m against anything the leads to segregation especially when you have two cultures always lived together as once, I also believe that culture differences strength the society and makes it a better ‘state’.

Nafdik
When any of our great Arab, extremely democratic and elected regimes get close to any danger? He will be fine and his son will continue as planed…

January 21st, 2009, 2:02 am

 

norman said:

Majedkhaldone , you will be happy with this,

Turkey shifting its attention from Europe to the Mideast
Publish Date: Wednesday,21 January, 2009, at 12:34 PM Doha Time

By Sinan Ülgen
ISTANBUL: Just a few years ago, Europe headed Turkey’s agenda. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s newly elected government had embarked on a series of ambitious reforms to meet the European Union’s political criteria for membership. At the end of 2004, the EU decided to initiate accession talks.
But pro-European euphoria proved short-lived: for all practical purposes, the accession negotiations are now at an impasse. Euro-scepticism is now at an all-time high in Turkey, fuelled by some European political leaders’ rhetoric opposing Turkey’s accession, and by the EU’s own failure to dispel doubts about the feasibility of Turkey’s eventual membership.
Domestic support for EU accession was 70% at the start of the negotiations, but is now closer to 40%.
Not surprisingly, Turkey’s government has also lost its appetite for EU-related reforms. For more than two years, the European Commission has found little positive to say in its annual progress reports on political reform.
Yet, just as Europe is looking more distant, the Middle East is looming larger, as Turkey shifts its attention from Brussels to Beirut and beyond. The frustrations of dealing with an undecided Europe have led Turkish policymakers to focus their efforts on an area where the expected return on their investment is more immediate and more concrete.
In fact, whereas Erdogan recently visited many Middle East countries – Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq – until this month, he had not been to Brussels since 2005.
Turkey was traditionally a bystander in Middle East politics. Its leaders believed that there was little to be contributed or gained by getting involved in the region’s problems, and that Turkey’s Ottoman legacy would leave its Arab neighbours suspicious.
But developments in recent years have enabled Turkey to become a more active player in the region, and to score several diplomatic successes. Turkey was instrumental in bringing about an end to Lebanon’s factional strife, and its overtures to Syria – undertaken despite warnings from the United States – have paid off handsomely.
Turkey was able not only to defuse the international tensions surrounding its Arab neighbour, but also to engineer the start of direct talks between Syria and Israel.
Such activism has been even more pronounced concerning Iran, with Turkish leaders multiplying diplomatic efforts in recent months to help ease the nuclear standoff with the West.
Turkey, more fearful of the regional repercussions of a nuclear Iran than of any direct threat it would pose, went as far as to host a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last August.
Turkey’s ability to make headway in the Middle East reflects the erosion of US legitimacy and lack of EU influence. The US lost its ability to play a more constructive role in the region following its ill-fated intervention in Iraq, while the Bush administration’s neo-conservative ‘freedom agenda’ for the Arab world also backfired.
While the US initially distanced itself from the more autocratic Arab leaders in a bid to support homegrown democratic alternatives, when the only realistic alternative turned out to be political Islam, America quickly returned to its traditional policy of supporting the status quo.
Unlike the US, the EU’s difficulties stem not from a perceived lack of legitimacy or crude attempts at promoting democracy, but from a real lack of unity and, therefore, influence.
The absence of a common denominator among EU governments’ positions has hardly been conducive to the emergence of the cogent and reliable diplomacy needed to address the Middle East’s deep problems.
In these circumstances, Turkey has been able to leverage both its regional ties and its standing in the transatlantic community to play a more instrumental role vis-a-vis its southern neighbors.
Two additional factors further enhance Turkey’s potential for regional influence. First, the rise of an Arab political class that is more influenced by religion than by secular nationalism has eroded the main structural barrier to Turkish engagement.
The Ottoman legacy of a working state structure, tolerant of religion, has begun to be viewed in a more favourable light, and the contemporary Turkish model, with its ability to nurture a democracy-friendly Islam, is suddenly in demand.
Second, Turkey has been more prepared than ever to take advantage of these fundamental shifts. Erdogan’s ruling AKP traces its roots to political Islam, and many of its leaders’ social networks are in Islamic countries – in stark contrast to the secular style of Turkey’s previous leaders, who proudly displayed their Western identity.
As a result, formal and informal links between the new Turkish political élite and the Arab world have been easier to forge.
There can be no doubt that growing foreign-policy activism, especially in relation to the Middle East, has begun to enhance Turkey’s role and influence in its own region.
Indeed, Turkey is now firmly set to become a regional power, with its recent election to the UN Security Council a further testimony to its diplomatic prowess.
But does Turkey’s shift of focus southward and toward regional power status come at the expense of the country’s EU ambitions?
For optimists, Turkey’s growing regional influence enhances its value for the EU. But this assumes that Europe is willing and able to benefit from what Turkey has to offer.
In other words, this strategy is compatible with EU accession only if the EU strengthens its own capacity for concerted action on foreign policy. In that case, Turkey’s membership would not, as European federalists argue, lead to a weaker Europe. On the contrary, it would make Europe a more influential and capable world power. – Project Syndicate/Europe’s World
** Sinan Ülgen is chairman of the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) in Istanbul. This commentary is based on an article that will appear in the Spring 2009 issue of Europe’s World, and was prepared to coincide with a debate on January 19 in Brussels on ‘Turkey’s European Future’, organised by Friends of Europe, Europe’s World, and the Security & Defence Agenda (SDA) and featuring Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Back to Article Homepage

January 21st, 2009, 2:58 am

 

Averroes said:

On the subject of Reconciliation between Arab leaders. Abdalla’s move was pure theater. The man is obsessed with his image and what people say about him, and he got what he wanted: he stole the show, and managed to blind everyone with a bright flash that is already fading away.

Nothing has changed, and nothing can change. The Saudi and Egyptian regimes have lots of reasons to panic, which they’re doing of course. The survival of Hamas is seen as ground shaking under Mubarak and extremely worrying for the Saudis.

And today, as expected, we saw that the Saudis and Egyptians have fought very hard to subdue the Doha summit and its decisions, ignore the mention of Hamas, further prop the corrupt Abbas bunch, maintain the so-named Arab Peace Initiative, and insist that Egypt stays in the spotlight. In short, no changes whatsoever from their position a few days ago.

The hand holding and the cold kisse were nothing more than theater that was necessary to diffuse the Syrian and Qatari leaderships at the summit, so that their speeches are tamed down, an acrobatic move of damage control.

In the next few days, it is expected that the Egyptians will desperately try to stay relevant, but they simply cannot accept Hamas because if severe internal consequences. Hamas and PA will meet in Egypt but nothing will come of it as Hamas is not about to give up it hard-earned right of rightful representation of its people.

Something’s got to give, and that something is most likely going to be a takeover of the corrupt PA in the West Bank by a coordinated action of a number of Palestinian factions, including Hamas, Jihad, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front, and even elements in Fatah itself.

January 21st, 2009, 4:50 am

 

Joe M. said:

Chris,
The whole concept of ethnic states is stupid, and the inherent ignorance of those who claim to be advocating ethnic states in the name of peace is just ridiculous. It is a 19th century concept, and only those with a colonial mind still try to justify such simplistic arguments.

And stop claiming to advocate a “two-state solution”, it is utterly clear that you advocate total zionist domination of Palestine. Fine, if you consider it two-states to the put the Palestinians in a concentration camp and give Israel the rest, so be it. But you are not worth talking to.

Simohurtta,
I agree with “DOFIS” that Chris is just noise, trying to obscure the discussions. as a general matter, it is probably best to simply ignore him.

nafdik,
Mubarak is in danger, but not immediate danger. Last time I was in Egypt (before this current war) the only thing people would talk about was how much they hated Gamal Mubarak. I think Nasrallah’s call for the Egyptian people to rise up was a significant moment. I don’t think that it will immediately translate into any action, but I do think it (combined with the increased militancy of Israel lately) made it incredibly hard for there to be a transition to civilian rule when Mubarak dies. So, the question I have is whether the military general who takes over Egypt will be a nationalist or a pro-Israeli “pragmatist”. And, since the transition could happen in any number of random ways, it is too hard to tell what will happen until it happens. But I do think that any new government will have to strike a more equitable balance with the Akhwan, as they are clearly the most viable popular force.

Averroes,
I don’t think you will see any such “coordinated action” by Palestinian factions to overtake Fatah. 1) the factions you mention hardly have enough in common to do anything in a coordinated way, and especially not such a drastic move as to (basically) formally destroy the PA, 2) Fatah is totally and completely discredited right now, and so much so that it serves the interests of the resistance orientated factions to leave Fatah in power (so as to keep Israel at a distance). Fatah has control over police, but it has no capacity to strike a deal with Israel anymore. So I doubt that Hamas considers them much of a strategic threat, even if they are a temporary tactical threat.

I think you will see Hamas be generally politically cautious in the West Bank for the next few years. It is clear that they don’t particularly like being forced to dominate other Palestinian factions, and having to govern while conducting the resistance.

But you will inevitably see some turnover within Fatah, and maybe the release of Marwan Barghouthi within a year or so. In other words, Fatah will likely try to gain some token credibility by moving closer to the positions of Hamas, while still rejecting Hamas itself.

January 21st, 2009, 7:05 am

 

Innocent Criminal said:

My father has always said that the Israelis were stupid in not giving Palestinians a nation that would lead to a civil war and prove that they cannot rule themselves. And therefore giving legitimacy to Israeli occupation.

I tend to agree that it’s been a long time coming for some in-fighting between Palestinian factions. But with israel at bay, i don’t see how hamas and more militant factions can overthrow Fatah. The ramifications would be huge and more likely counter-productive especially on the local political scene. Then again, how else can they delegitimize Fatah’s tight grip on power.

January 21st, 2009, 7:05 am

 

trustquest said:

Ehsani,
Here is a recommended reading for Elie Elhadj,regarding the Arbab recociliation
http://www.elaph.com/Web/AkhbarKhasa/2009/1/401460.htm

January 21st, 2009, 9:28 am

 

Innocent Criminal said:

Trust Queen,

The article is way to unrealistic and one-sided to what’s happening on the ground. If this was 2-3 years ago then I’d understand. But the Syrian regime is in absolutely no danger of being over thrown. It’s just the rantings of a Saudi diplomat who’s holding a grudge.

I really don’t think any side, whether its Iran/Syria or the Saudi/Egyptian has won anything. The Syrians are still the weaker side economically and militarily. While their counterparts have not been able to accomplish the decisive blow they’ve been eager for. On the contrary they have lost some more legitimacy within their own population.

The Elaph article had one positive note. Comment number 4 was hilarious and i am posting below

دخل حمار مزرعة رجل وبدأ يأكل من زرعه الذي تعب في حرثه وبذره وسقيه؟ كيف يُـخرج الحمار؟؟ سؤال محير ؟؟؟ أسرع الرجل إلى البيت جاء بعدَّةِ الشغل القضية لا تحتمل التأخير أحضر عصا طويلة ومطرقة ومساميروقطعة كبيرة من الكرتون المقوى كتب على الكرتون يا حمار أخرج من مزرعتي ثبت الكرتون بالعصا الطويلة بالمطرقة والمسمار ذهب إلى حيث الحمار يرعى في المزرعة رفع اللوحة عالياً وقف رافعًا اللوحة منذ الصباح الباكر حتى غروب الشمس ولكن الحمار لم يخرج حار الرجل ”ربما لم يفهم الحمار ما كتبتُ على اللوحة” رجع إلى البيت ونام في الصباح التالي صنع عددًا كبيرًا من اللوحات ونادي أولاده وجيرانه واستنفر أهل القرية ”يعنى عمل مؤتمر قمة” صف الناس في طوابير يحملون لوحات كثيرة أخرج يا حمار من المزرعة الموت للحمير يا ويلك يا حمار من راعي الداروتحلقوا حول الحقل الذي فيه الحمار وبدءوا يهتفون اخرج يا حمار. اخرج أحسن لك والحمار حمار يأكل ولا يهتم بما يحدث حوله غربت شمس اليوم الثاني وقد تعب الناس من الصراخ والهتاف وبحت أصواتهم فلما رأوا الحمار غير مبالٍ بهم رجعوا إلى بيوتهم يفكرون في طريقة أخرى في صباح اليوم الثالث جلس الرجل في بيته يصنع شيئاً آخر خطة جديدة لإخراج الحمار فالزرع أوشك على النهاية خرج الرجل باختراعه الجديد نموذج مجسم لحمار يشبه إلى حد بعيد الحمار الأصلي ولما جاء إلى حيث الحمار يأكل في المزرعة وأمام نظر الحمار وحشود القرية المنادية بخروج الحمار سكب البنزين على النموذج وأحرقه فكبّر الحشد نظر الحمار إلى حيث النار ثم رجع يأكل في المزرعة بلا مبالاة يا له من حمار عنيد لا يفهم أرسلوا وفدًا ليتفاوض مع الحمار قالوا له: صاحب المزرعة يريدك أن تخرج وهو صاحب الحق وعليك أن تخرج الحمار ينظر إليهم ثم يعود للأكل لا يكترث بهم بعد عدة محاولات أرسل الرجل وسيطاً آخر قال للحمار صاحب المزرعة مستعد للتنازل لك عن بعض من مساحته الحمار يأكل ولا يرد ثلثه الحمار لا يرد نصفه الحمار لا يرد طيب حدد المساحة التي تريدها ولكن لا تتجاوزه رفع الحمار رأسه وقد شبع من الأكل ومشى قليلاً إلى طرف الحقل وهو ينظر إلى الجمع ويفكر فرح الناس لقد وافق الحمار أخيراً أحضر صاحب المزرعة الأخشاب وسيَّج المزرعة وقسمها نصفين وترك للحمار النصف الذي هو واقف فيه في صباح اليوم التالي كانت المفاجأة لصاحب المزرعة لقد ترك الحمار نصيبه ودخل في نصيب صاحب المزرعة وأخذ يأكل رجع أخونا مرة أخرى إلى اللوحات والمظاهرات يبدو أنه لا فائدة هذا الحمار لا يفهم إنه ليس من حمير المنطقة لقد جاء من قرية أخرى بدأ الرجل يفكر في ترك المزرعة بكاملها للحمار والذهاب إلى قرية أخرى لتأسيس مزرعة أخرى وأمام دهشة جميع الحاضرين وفي مشهد من الحشد العظيم حيث لم يبقَ أحد من القرية إلا وقد حضر ليشارك في المحاولات اليائسة لإخراج الحمار المحتل العنيد المتكبر المتسلط المؤذي جاء غلام صغير خرج من بين الصفوف دخل إلى الحقل تقدم إلى الحمار وضرب الحمار بعصا صغيرة على قفاه فإذا به يركض خارج الحقل .. ”يا الله” صاح الجميع …. لقد فضحَنا هذا الصغير وسيجعل منا أضحوكة القرى التي حولنا فما كان منهم إلا أن قـَـتلوا الغلام وأعادوا الحمار إلى المزرعة ثم أذاعوا أن الطفل شهيد !! ملاحظه اهل القريه دول الإعتدال الطفل هو اهل غزه

January 21st, 2009, 9:54 am

 

Jad/2 said:

How to win Islam over By Olivier Roy and Justin Vaisse.IHT. Published: December 22, 2008 http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/22/news/edroy.php

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said he would convene a conference of Muslim leaders from around the world within his first year in office.

Recently aides have said he may give a speech from a Muslim capital in his first 100 days. His hope, he has said, is to “make clear that we are not at war with Islam,” to describe to Muslims “what our values and our interests are” and to “insist that they need to help us to defeat the terrorist threats that are there.” This idea of trying to reconcile Islam and the West is well-intentioned, of course. But the premise is wrong.

Such an initiative would reinforce the all-too-accepted but false notion that “Islam” and “the West” are distinct entities with utterly different values. Those who want to promote dialogue and peace between “civilizations” or “cultures” concede at least one crucial point to those who, like Osama bin Laden, promote a clash of civilizations: that separate civilizations do exist. They seek to reverse the polarity, replacing hostility with sympathy, but they are still following Osama bin Laden’s narrative.

(..)

Whether we’re talking about civil war in Iraq, insurgency in Afghanistan, unrest in Kashmir, conflict in Israel-Palestine, nuclear ambitions in Iran, rebellion in the Philippines or urban violence in France, people routinely – but wrongly – single out Islam as the explanation, rather than nationalism or separatism, political ambitions or social ills. This in turn reinforces the idea of a global struggle.

….

January 21st, 2009, 12:22 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

trustquest ,

The Elie you cite in the Elaph article has nothing to do with our Elie Elhadj here on SC. They are not the same person.

January 21st, 2009, 1:18 pm

 

norman said:

اسرائيل ستحقق في اتهامها باستخدام الفوسفور الابيض

أعلن الجيش الإسرائيلي انه سيفتح تحقيقا في الاتهامات باستخدام الفوسفور الابيض بشكل غير مسموح به اثناء هجومه على غزة .

المزيد

January 21st, 2009, 1:25 pm

 

nafdik said:

Jad,

Unfortunately the Islam/West narrative has already won the hearts and minds of a large segment of both western and Muslim populations.

Obama needs to get inside the narrative to contribute to getting out of it.

I think it is very politically courageous to face this head on, especially given the extreme right accusation that he is a closet Islamophile.

January 21st, 2009, 1:51 pm

 

nafdik said:

Jad,

Regarding Mubarak, you are spot on. Thank you for waking me up from my momentary day-dream 🙂

January 21st, 2009, 1:54 pm

 

trustquest said:

IC, is that your way of disrespecting people when you hear any hint of criticism to the regime in Syria, which was not even from me but from some media outlet. I did not post the article but refer it to Ehsani to see if he the same person. I hope you will give your birth place country man the same respect you are giving to your enemy on this SC. My name is Trustquest, and I’m submitting complain to the site moderator.

Ehsani, I hope you are right, but really I did not know.

January 21st, 2009, 2:17 pm

 

Majid said:

Landis asks: “Will Gaza Bring Reconciliation to Divided Arab Leaders?”

You’ll find the most accurate assessment of the latest Arab summit and the answer to your question at:

http://www.alarabiya.net/views/2009/01/21/64663.html

On the other hand Olmert seems to have got the message of the Saudi King – unlike the petty Arab leaders (Assad and his entourage of course according to the above-linked article) who only read their wishful thinking into the King’s speech. The Israeli acting PM is sending messages through UN Ban Ki Mon that he (Olmert) is ready to accept the Arab peace initiative as a framework for comprehensive peace in ME. He is also hinting that reconstruction of Gaza is subject to political arrangements – a clear hint that Israel wants a say in how the pledged money is to be used by whichever authority is installed in Gaza.

January 21st, 2009, 2:46 pm

 

Alex said:

Dear Trust Quest,

I agree that IC’s calling you “Trust Queen” was not appropriate. I understand IC is referring to the few times in the past when you complained that others criticized your opinions and you concluded that SC is, therefore, not friendly to people who view things the way you do.

I hope IC and others will avoid using humor with people they do not know well. Only with those who make it clear that they also enjoy this informal type of language.

But I have to also mention that IC demonstrated in the past that he is not a one-sided admirer of the Syrian leadership. If you really paid attention to everything he writes, you would have noticed that he is frequently critical and therefore you should not conclude that he criticized you because he has no tolerance to your lack of support to the Syrian leadership.

—–

As for the article you posted … Trustquest, I can’t understand how an obviously intelligent and highly educated individual like you can still be impressed with such an obviously Saudi propagandist source and content. Would you stop using your ability to judge as soon as you read ANYTHING, ANYWHERE that shares your dislike of the Syrian leadership?

How would you feel if I started linking Syrian regime propaganda sites, like Champress, and saying “here is some recommended reading that explain the truth about what happened in Kuwait”?

Try this one for example

http://www.champress.net/?page=show_det&select_page=1&id=34183

Do you notice that only the anti-Assad commentators link to propaganda? .. Syrians and Lebanese critics of President Assad routinely link to pathetic Hariri owned and Saudi owned sites as “prrof” that Asssad is an idiot and an Iranian stooge …etc.

Israelis like Akbar Palace link to known Israeli propaganda sites also seriously thinking that we are supposed to accept that as “proof” their views are accurate!

those who like Bashar usually link to favorable articles in the Guardian or Haaretz, not in Syrian propaganda sites.

The only value in linking to a propaganda site is to try to understand the current state of mind of one side or another. for example the Champress article above indicates that Syria is not buying the Arab reconciliation play of the Kuwait summit … Champress is still very critical of Mubarak and Abdullah which would not have been possible if Syria was now a freind of the two Arab leaders.

Trustquest, please understand that

1) You are free to link Saudi propaganda and to believe its content blindly no matter how comical it is. But …
2) A few people on this site will tell you what they think of your trust in such sources. This does not mean that your views are not welcome on this site, but it means that many disagree with you and will let you know that they do. as long as they do it withing the rules and regulations of Syria Comment, then there is nothing wrong with that, I hope.

January 21st, 2009, 4:33 pm

 

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