Will rising tensions in the Middle East lead to another catastrophic war?

Written by Camille Alexandre Otrakji

Syrian President Bashar Assad warned on Sunday “the prospects of war and confrontation are increasing”. The President was marking the 65th anniversary of the creation of the Syrian army.

“Syria reiterates its willingness in the just peace and consolidating bases of security and stability in this vital region of the world … and this will not be realized except by the restoration of the whole usurped rights according to the relevant international resolutions … the first factor of peace is preserving dignity, sovereignty and not abandoning any bit of soil or drop of water”

Relevant international resolutions, dignity and sovereignty were at stake today as Lebanese and Israeli troops exchanged fire after Israeli soldiers used a crane to remove a tree on the Lebanese side of the border between the two countries in an apparent violation of UN resolution 1701. Israel claimed that the tree was on the Israeli side of the border and that this is not he first time its soldiers uprooted trees along the border in order to improve visibility and accused Lebanon of provoking the fight. Lebanon said the Israelis crossed onto Lebanese soil despite calls from the U.N. and Lebanon to stop. When the Israelis persisted, Lebanese troops opened fire with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Associated Press later published a photo showing Israeli soldiers removing a tree on the Lebanese side of a security fence along the border.

Later today, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah explained why his fighters were asked to refrain from helping Lebanese army soldiers while they were attacked by Israel’s helicopters, tanks and artillery. Nasrallah told his audience that he knew that had he decided to get involved, some people would have accused him of being a tool in the hands of President Assad who warned on Sunday that the region is going to war, or that they would have accused Hezbollah of trying to escalate the military conflict in order to escape the rumored indictment of Hezballah members in the Hariri tribunal, or accuse the Lebanese resistance of trying to outshine the regular Lebanese army.

Nasrallah later made it clear that next time there is an Israeli attack on the Lebanese army, where his fighters have a presence, he promises that “the resistance will not stay quiet” no matter how others will interpret their involvement.

If the next routine Israeli violation of Lebanese sovereignty does not flare into a full fledged war,  the Hariri assassination’s UN backed tribunal can provide another clear path to war.

For years Syria was portrayed as the prime suspect behind the Hariri assassination. The accusations were part of an intense, long term, campaign by the Bush administration, Israel, Saudi Arabia, France, and other countries to discredit, weaken and isolate Syria.

Recently, those accusations are shifting to Hezbollah. Syrian and Saudi leaders feared that Lebanon’s fragile national unity might not survive the rumored mention of Hezbollah by the UN tribunal and the anticipated escalation in international pressure to dismantle or punish Hezbollah, the kind of pressure that Syria knows so well.

President Assad and King Abdullah, leaders of the two most influential countries in Lebanon, tried during a historical visit to Beirut to ask their Lebanese allies to stay calm no matter what they read in the upcoming UN report.

If the rumors blaming Hezbollah for the Hariri murder did not introduce enough uncertainty, today, Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel of the 2005 assassination.

“I accuse the Israeli enemy of the assassination of (former) Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and … I will prove this by unveiling sensitive information at a press conference on Monday”

Earlier last week President Obama made it clear the United States should not be expected to play a constructive role in deescalating tensions in the region. He announced he is renewing a Bush administration measure to freeze the assets of persons who work with Hezbollah militants and “infringe upon” Lebanese stability.

“While there have been some recent positive developments in the Syrian-Lebanese relationship, continuing arms transfers to Hezbollah that include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems serve to undermine Lebanese sovereignty,” Obama said in his message to Congress.

TIME Magazine senior Editor Tony Karon warned:

“The danger posed by the lack of communication channels between the resistance camp and the Israelis explains why British Prime Minister Cameron, a recent guest at the White House, last week went to Ankara to urge Turkey to maintain its ties with Israel and use its ties to the likes of Syria to facilitate communication that could mitigate an outbreak. Turkey has been pilloried in some quarters in the West — and certainly in Israel — for its diplomatic rapprochement with Syria, Iran and Hamas, but Cameron’s appeal was a tacit admission that the continuing Bush-era policy of refusing to engage with the region’s designated radicals has sharply diminished the ability of the U.S. and the European Union to influence events in the Middle East.”

America’s Arab allies are among those disappointed by Washington’s continued hostility towards Syria. Tariq Alhomayed, editor of Saudi Arabia’s largest and most liberal newspaper, Asharq Alawsat wrote an opinion piece yesterday in which he expressed his bewilderment :

“… on the eve of the Saudi monarch’s visit to Syria a US State Department spokesman issued a strange and provocative statement, calling on the Syrian President to listen carefully to what King Abdullah has to say about the Syrian – Iranian relationship. In Damascus, a Saudi official [commenting on this] told me “can this be true…what does Washington want?”

Meanwhile in Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that pushing Israel to extend the freeze on its settlement activities in the west bank will lead to the collapse of his coalition government. If  Mr. Netanyahu feels that an extension of a freeze, and not the dismantling, of those settlements is enough to destroy his government, then what exactly is he prepared to offer the Palestinians or Syrians in any upcoming peace negotiations that everyone is trying to start?

Given this unprecedented degree of Israeli “generosity” and American paralysis, will the next Middle East conflict erupt when Israeli troops decide to cut down the next tree in southern Lebanon?

Comments (349)


Norman said:

Thanks Alex , i join you in thinking that war is coming and if my information is right , it looks that Syria refused to show it’s cards and what will do in the case of an attack on Iran , as i said before , only long term war and the determination to fight back and as nasrallah said to fight back no matter what the cost is ,
it might be the time to change this chronic disease to an acute one that can be cured ,

August 3rd, 2010, 10:22 pm

 

Doc said:

For everybody’s information, the fence pictured does not mark the border between Israel and Lebanon. The fence runs in Israeli territory. The internationally recognized border is the Blue Line, which lies anything from a few meters to some hundred meters from the Israeli technical fence (the one pictured). Hence, when Israelis cross their fence and are right next to the fence, they would still be in Israeli territory. Using the words “on the Lebanese side of the fence” is distorting the truth about the border area, as Israel has territory on the “Lebanese side”. More truthfully depicted, it should have read something like “between the Blue line and the Israeli technical fence, i.e. in Israeli territory”. I say this to state a fact, not to put blame on any side for the tragic incident of yesterday.

August 4th, 2010, 2:00 am

 

Alex said:

Dear Doc

I heard this argument from Israel earlier today and that is why I wrote “on the Lebanese side of the fence” and not “on the Lebanese side of the border”.

But I have two questions

1) Why would Israel put the fence on its own territories giving the Lebanese access to parts of its land? those LEbanese surely can access any land to their side of the fence, Is Israel that relaxed about letting the Arabs access its land?

Israelis surely did not do that with the Palestinians .. the “fence” (wall) separating Israel from the Palestinians ran completely inside Palestinian occupied territories.

2) Who defines the “borders” between Israel and Lebanon? … I understand Israel does not have final borders with Lebanon.

August 4th, 2010, 2:57 am

 

idit said:

Alex

The Israeli force was well within Israel and NOT inside Lebanon.

Why can’t you admit that there was a Lebanese provocation?

August 4th, 2010, 4:06 am

 

Pirouz said:

Professor Landis:

Looking at Assad’s military uniform, what specific rank does he hold? Do three star epaulets designate Major General? And do you have any idea what those rows of ribbons represent? Valor? Military campaigns? Proficiency?

(You’ll never see a President of the Islamic Republic of Iran wearing a military uniform.)

August 4th, 2010, 4:07 am

 

Doc said:

Dear Alex

I don’t know. With all probability it does show a different approach from Israel to Lebanese politics apart from West Bank politics.

Or also, as you yourself state, the border, that is the blue line, is not the final border. There might be adjustments here and there, which perhaps is a reason for Israel to put the fence more on their side instead of on future disputed territory.

And I don’t think we should be talking about being relaxed. The fence is a technical fence, probably loaded with various surveillance equipment. And right behind the fence you find various Israeli observation posts, and they run patrols frequently, right along their fence.

August 4th, 2010, 4:10 am

 

A.Akkawi said:

DOC,
You are completely wrong! The fence you see DOES mark the border and this is called the blue line. there is no such thing as Israeli territory and 100s of meters between borders. The fence you see is in fact the divider between the 2 borders. If it was an Israeli territory as you claimed why then they have a high fence on the other side in the first place!? it even clearly shows the UNIFIL soldiers standing opposite to the fence in Lebanese side with nothing between them and the fence which Israeli soldiers crossed over with their crane and they were waving them to back off!

August 4th, 2010, 4:42 am

 

Shai said:

Doc,

Thank you for making the point about the fence being inside Israeli territory. UNIFIL, by the way, confirmed the Israeli-version of the incident, both that it took place inside Israeli territory, and that the provocation was Lebanese, not Israel. I don’t know the facts beyond this, but if UNIFIL did indeed make this claim, then I have to believe it.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/unifil-confirms-israel-s-version-idf-troops-didn-t-enter-lebanon-1.212301

Alex,

From Israeli perspective, the wall it erected is not necessarily completely within Palestinian territory. Since there are Israelis living east of the Wall, and Israel does not consider them as living outside the borders of Israel, from Israeli perspective, the Wall lies inside territory under its control, and it is yet to be agreed (with the Palestinians) whether it defines the western border of a future Palestine, whether it is inside it, etc.

Btw, the Wall was erected only roughly along the Green Line, and it doesn’t even cover most of it. If I’m not mistaken, it covers only about a third. That’s why it’s always been a joke to think the Fence was erected to “stop terrorists from crossing over”. Those who want to cross, can simply walk or drive a few hundred meters in most cases, or max up to a few kilometers. I’m sure the Akbars out there, who know next to nothing about reality on the ground, will use the “But FACT, ever since the erection of the wall there have been little or no suicide bombings inside Israel!”. Of course, that’s like deducing that fires are caused every time you hear four fire-trucks flying through your city streets.

August 4th, 2010, 5:47 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

I absolutely agree with your statement “it might be the time to change this chronic disease to an acute one that can be cured”

I disagree that it can only be achieved through war. Because we haven’t found yet the way to both depict this problem as a curable disease, and to actually cure it, does not mean we have to clash like blind moles and hope for the best.

I’m ready to repeat this exhaustively, until I’m blue in the face, but “The next all-out war will not look like anything we’ve seen before”. It will not be another 1973, fought between tanks and infantry 50 or 200 kilometers away from population centers. It’ll be the kind of war its participants are most likely to view as an existential war. And if or when that will happen, the punishment we may unleash upon one another could be of the unthinkable type. We MUST try to avoid this last-option at all costs. I’m not convinced all sides have exhausted all their possible options.

August 4th, 2010, 5:57 am

 

Alan said:

DOC and Alex

A simple explanation as to why the Israelis have erected the fence back in their own territory instead of on the actual, as yet undefined, border is so they can have the excuse to “lawfully” fire upon any Lebanese that may stray too close to the fence, which obviously would mean trespassing on Israeli territory.

I see this as a kind of trap mechanism for Israel in any incident that may arise, like this fire-exchange with the Lebanese. So from a legal perspective they would doing no wrong.

August 4th, 2010, 6:15 am

 

Norman said:

Shai,

Israel is the one leading the region to war and will be her responsibility , by denying Syria and the Palestinians their rights ,

peaceful resolution is preferred but Israel is closing that door every day ,

August 4th, 2010, 7:37 am

 

aron said:

The fence is in Israeli territory precisely so that Israel will be able to cross it and check both sides of it, cut down trees, etc. If it ran precisely along the border, it would be much harder to patrol it effectively without infringing on Lebanese territory all the time. So, if the UNIFIL version checks out, this was a Lebanese cease-fire violation, not an Israeli one (although Israel may have breached other rules of the cease-fire in responding, and is certainly no stranger to crossing the border in other cases).

PIROUZ – I believe Assad is a “fariq”, which is probably best translated as field marshal in English. Only the commander in chief (= the president) holds that rank in Syria, and Bashar inherited it from his father along with the rest of the trappings of power.

August 4th, 2010, 7:40 am

 

Norman said:

The question is not the fence , the question is the tree , is it in the Lebanese land or the Israeli one , i think it is in Lebanon and that is the violation cutting the tree in Lebanon by Israel ,

August 4th, 2010, 7:56 am

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

The “little” incidents never cease. Violations of Lebanese air space and sovereignty is forever acceptable.

“Blue lines and red lines” are never mentioned as violations in the continued expansion of Israel’s “rightfull” territory acquired by invasion.

The Middle East being what it always was and is on the verge of some radical changes. The goals according to Ghat’s views are 1) the toppling of Bibi’s group from power as a precondition to the return of the Golan to Syria and/or a really nasty war that will drag in both of the US’s “friends” Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

But then since the Middle East is still what its been for over 60 years the Israelis might still get what they want an Eretz Israel and the Litani river.

August 4th, 2010, 8:26 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

From what I understand, the tree was well inside Israeli territory. This was confirmed by UNIFIL. As was the Lebanese provocation.

Ghat,

I agree with your statement regarding Lebanese airspace. I also agree that at the rate and direction we’re going, Israeli is certainly headed towards a Greater Israel, with Arab territory that did not belong to us in 1948 or 1967.

But as I mentioned a few times in the past, I’m not at all sure this isn’t a far better solution for the Palestinians, certainly when you consider the long-run. With each new Jewish settlement in the West Bank, we get farther and farther away from a two-state solution, and de facto into a single binational state. This is why Israel never annexed the West Bank or Gaza (as it did with the Golan). But every day we get closer to a point where Israel will HAVE to annex it, call it all “Israel”, and then decide whether it wants to rule over 4 million people living within “Israel” as an Apartheid regime, or grant them equal rights as equal citizens, like all other normal nations on this planet.

From the Palestinians’ point of view, I’m beginning to realize that time is definitely on their side…

As for the rest of the Arab territory held by Israel (the Golan), I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Israel will give back this territory as part of a Peace agreement. Israel and Israelis have proven already in the past that we are capable of returning land captured in war, even one we consider strategically-vital (the Sinai is the best example). It can and will happen again!

August 4th, 2010, 10:41 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

A present for Norman:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10864861

Doc said:

I say this to state a fact, not to put blame on any side for the tragic incident of yesterday.

Yes Doc,

Don’t go “out on a limb”. It may anger someone.;)

August 4th, 2010, 11:18 am

 

norman said:

Shai ,
It looks like the Lebanese were wrong , probably the fence gave the wrong impression on where the border is , they should have signs like water sign above ground for everybody to see

August 4th, 2010, 11:31 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

I agree. But the problem is that war could start over things like this…

August 4th, 2010, 12:18 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

It should by now 60 years after its nascent birth that Israel’s legitimate authority over real estate in the Middle East was notorized several hundred years ago and is inviolate to any other views as to the extent of its “ultimate borders”, as prescribed and proclaimed for eternity.

And the irony of it all is that the Arab/Muslims are blamed for living in the 12th Century and religiously dogmatic.

Israel uber alles!

August 4th, 2010, 12:38 pm

 

Averroes said:

I think we’re not going into a major war just yet. Israel will work to lay as much facade as possible so that when it takes action, it gets less international condemnation. It is getting ever more difficult for her, but instead of having a paradigm shift in their racist, ghetto-minded thinking, Israeli leadership keeps coming up with more of the same.

So, yes, there will be another war, but not just yet. Not this summer.

August 4th, 2010, 1:10 pm

 

norman said:

shai ,
And that is why a comprehensive peace as called for by Syria is needed

August 4th, 2010, 1:11 pm

 

Jihad said:

What do you expect for the pathetic UNIFIL was reinforced to help Zionist terror and occupation and what do you expect from its WHITE masters in New York. A former high ranking officer in the Lebanese Army Aminm Hoteit who had to deal with the UN Zionist reprsentative Terry Roed Larsen back in 2000 told Assafir newspaper that there is no such thing as a technical fence or a blue line. This is a creation by the Zionist Larsen to give the terrorist Zionist state more land in ‘Idaissat (1 km long and 120 meters deep) to which the Lebanese government of the time objected because it is a Lebanese territory.

August 4th, 2010, 1:38 pm

 

Alex said:

Averroes, Shai Norman,

Here is why I feel the risk of war within this coming year is high:

1) No serious offer will be made by Israel to the Palestinians

2) When those talks fail, Israel will not be able to switch to Syrian track without accepting to commit publicly to the land for peace formula with Syria, and specifically a full withdrawal. Israel will not do that.

3) The US is not able to play an effective role in defusing tensions as long as the White House keeps renewing those Bush era measures against Syria.

4) Israel needs to deal with Iran and needs to correct the perception that in 2006 Hezbollah defeated the IDF. Iran will not stop its nuclear technology program.

5) “The resistance camp” is confident enough it can this time perform very well in case of an Israeli attack.

6) The resistance camp is clearly not shying away from statements or actions that are not to Israel’s liking … yesterday’s confrontation in Lebanon was optional in the past, the fact that the Lebanese army decided to engage the Israelis over a tree should tell us something.

August 4th, 2010, 1:39 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

You may well be right. The problem is that when enough people are frustrated, and our leaders feel helpless (either from feeling they’ve done everything they can, or from feeling they can’t do what they may want to), then it doesn’t take much to pop the balloon of pressure that’s been building all this time. It’s almost a “relief”, because you know at least something is being done. The problem, will be the price. At what price will we choose this least-courageous of paths, only to return to the same spot? How many have to die, before we come back to the same place to try again?

August 4th, 2010, 2:06 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

It look like Israel is afraid of one tree.they might as well cut all the trees in occupied Palastine.
So many spies for Israel in Lebanon,Faez Karam is the last,we can count over 100 were arrested in the last two years,Akpar keeps hiring more spies,the problem is Israel get those spies while Syrian army was in Lebanon,we need to clean Lebanon from all those spies.one spy is as dangerous as 10,000 soldier.

August 4th, 2010, 2:17 pm

 

aron said:

I also think there might be a war coming, perhaps this year. In my view this hinges on Israel’s actions towards Iran, more than anything else. If Israel is really going to strike Iran (which, frankly, I doubt: what can they gain by doing so?), they will need to hammer Hezbollah into submission first or at the same time. Whether that pulls Syria in, I think depends on Damascus.

As for the notion that the Iran/Syria/HA bloc would *start* a war of their own intent, I think it’s extremely unlikely. Their political situation is better than in a very long time, with Israel’s standing slipping regionally and internationally, while their military position is as bad as ever.

They will certainly be the losers militarily whoever shoots first, whatever the posturing, and if they start it themselves, it will be extremely difficult to claim even a political or moral victory. Syria stands by far the most to lose among the three (territory and possibly regime stability), but if war erupts from the Israeli side, not intervening would also carry a cost, so then it’s more of an open question. I think Bashar’s preferred option in that case would be to have a limited confrontation (some missile exchanges or skirmishes, or troops into Lebanon) and then a quick cease-fire — but that’s hard to calculate, since Israel has a contrary interest in punishing Syria severely if it intervenes, for deterrence purposes.

August 4th, 2010, 2:29 pm

 

Averroes said:

I don’t think that Israel will be able to achieve strategic goals if a war erupts. For instance, dismantling HA, destroying the Iranian nuclear program, or occupying new lands. It might be able to inflict a huge amount of pain on the people of the region. It could (and would) destroy people’s lives, farms, buildings, and infrastructure, but I really don’t see it able to stomp those same people to submission. Israelis had better rethink that preferred method of negotiations and start waking up from the pipe dream that they’ve been on for so long.

Israel will also pay a very heavy price in any coming war. Those who think through military hardware should sober up and realize that brute force has its limits, and that Israel is very far from even those limits.

You cannot achieve Peace by terrorizing people. Those people right now are much harder than they were 40 years ago, and I think every Israeli knows that fact in their guts. Another 40 years into the future and the Arabs and Muslims are only expected to be even harder, more organized, more competent, and more stubborn about not giving up their rights.

But no … gamblers just can’t resist the temptation, and the lure of ultimate power will most likely overwhelm wisdom and lessons that could be learned from History.

Having said that, I still don’t think it’s this summer. Perhaps next Spring.

August 4th, 2010, 3:16 pm

 

Nour said:

بيان رئاسة الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي بعنوان” لبنان بين الوصاية والرعاية”

أيها المواطنون والرفقاء

ما انفك حال لبنان الداخلي يفرض حضوره البارز والقلق على مجمل شؤون الحال القومي على امتداد كيانات الأمة، لما حفلت به الساحة اللبنانية بتركيبتها السسياسية العجيبة، من أحداث خطيرة على الصعيد الداخلي، أو على مستوى المواجهة مع العدو الغاصب، وذلك لأكثر من ثلاثة عقود خلت…

وإذا كان أقطاب هذه التركيبة قد أمعنوا منذ تأسيس الكيان، في تأجيج النعرات وتعميق الانقسامات بين أبناء الشعب الواحد عملا وخدمة للقاعدة البائدة: “قوة لبنان في ضعفه” ، فإن تيارا شعبيا عريضا وواسعا عاد ليستيقظ على نفير النهضة القومية الاجتماعية الداعية إلى وحدة المجتمع على قاعدة المواطنة الصحيحة والإخاء القومي، والمحذّرة من الخطر اليهودي الذي يستهدف الأمة كلها في مصلحتها ومصيرها وتطلعاتها وأرض وطنها، فيبادر هذا التيار إلى ضبط عمله وتسديد سلاحه نحو مصدر الخطر ومكمن الداء: العدو اليهودي وحلفائه، فيحقق الانتصار تلو الانتصار راسما بجهاده ودمائه قاعدة جديدة هي: قوة لبنان في وحدة أبنائه، وصيانة حقه في علاقته الطبيعية والمصيرية مع محيطه القومي. هذه المعادلة الجديدة التي أرستها قوى الممانعة في لبنان جعلت دوائر التخطيط والتوجيه في الكيان الغاصب المربك داخليا، والمشغول بتجميل صورته بعد سلسلة الهزائم والإخفاقات التي لحقت به، تتجه لتحرك مجددا العصبيات والغرائز المتوترة داخل لبنان، بغية إشعال حروب داخلية يكون هدفها إضعاف وإشغال قوى الممانعة هذه وعلى رأسها المقاومة. من هنا، وليس من باب المصادفة، نلحظ عودة بروز نجم المحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي المتعلقة باغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري على المسرح اللبناني.

وإذا كنا كحزب، ومنذ بداية الحديث عن محكمة دولية، قد أكّدنا أننا وبالمطلق مع إقامة العدالة وإحقاق الحق، مع حرصنا التام على معرفة المجرم والاقتصاص منه، فإننا لسنا مع مبدأ المحكمة الدولية سيما وأن أمتنا قد عانت تاريخيا، الكثير الكثير مما هو “دولي” بدءا من قرار تقسيم فلسطين وصولا لاحتلال العراق، وذلك تحت سلسلة من الاتهامات والافتراءات التي اعترف ببطلانها أقطاب “المجتمع الدولي” أنفسهم، بعد وقوع الكارثة….

أضف إلى ذلك، من الوجهة العملية، ملاحظاتنا على أداء هذه المحكمة المصابة بمهنيتها ومصداقيتها ونزاهتها، وقد جاء سجلها حافلا بالمخالفات: من شهود الزور إلى ألاعيب ميليس ومساعده اليهودي ليمان، إلى المساومات والعروض التي قدمت للضباط الأربعة أثناء التحقيق معهم…. هذا، وكنا حذّرنا، في أحاديث وبيانات سابقة، عند إطلاق الضباط الأربعة، وقلنا أن خطوة الافراج المتأخرة هذه ليست دليل نزاهة أو تصحيح مسار لعمل المحكمة، بل لعبة تحسين صورة وتعزيز ثقة، تمهيدا لإطلاق أحكام جديدة جائرة قد تكون أشدّ خطورة من سابقاتها وها قد حصل ما توقعناه.

وإن أخطر ما يحصل اليوم هو الدخول العلني “الإسرائيلي الرسمي” على خط المحكمة الدولية، وما تصريحات رئيس أركان جيش الاحتلال الغاصب الأخيرة إلا تظهيرا لهذه المساهمة. مما يكشف جليا ضلوع كيان العدو في استخدام قوس المحكمة كمنصة لإطلاق مشروع فتنة مذهبية تستهدف لبنان شعبا وجيشا ومقاومة….وقد جاءت التسريبات الأخيرة حول المعرفة المسبقة لهوية المجرم واتهام المقاومة سلفا قبل صدور قرار المحكمة، إضافة إلى زيارة المدعي العام بيلمار المريبة إلى واشنطن، وتوقيت استقالة أحد أبرز العاملين في جهاز التحقيق، لتكون كلها مؤشرات واضحة على القرار المتّخذ بتسييس المحكمة واستخدامها أداة لضرب استقرار لبنان بإشعال نار الفتنة كرمى لعيون وأمن “إسرائيل”…

هذا التصعيد الخطير الذي رافقه حدث كبير مدو آخر، أعاد الوضع اللبناني الداخلي إلى دائرة الخطر وإلى شفير الانفجار، ألا وهو انكشاف شبكات تجسس خطيرة تعمل في حقل الاتصالات، والذي يعتبر أحد أهم مصادر الأدلّة المستخدمة في كشف مرتكب جريمة اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري، مما بات يدفع للشك والطّعن في صلاحية هذه الأدلّة، سيما وإن إمكانية التلاعب والعبث بها أصبحت قائمة ومكشوفة، مما يعني سقوط الورقة الأخيرة من يد صنّاع المحكمة التي أرادوها سيفا مسلطا على رقاب الخارجين عن القانون “الأميركاني – اليهودي”، الذي يستمر أقطابه في وضع السيناريوهات المتنوعة لمشاريع الاقتتال الداخلي. فهل ستكون الحلقة التالية من الاقتتال الداخلي بين التيارات السلفية التي أفلتت من عقال أية مرجعية سياسية لبنانية، وبين قوى المقاومة بعد أن كانت الحلقة الأولى من هذه الأحداث بين تلك التيارات الملتبسة الولاء والجيش اللبناني الباسل؟ وهل هي مجرد صدفة بريئة أن يصار إلى ضرب وإضعاف القوى المناوئة لـ “إسرائيل”؟!.

وفيما نحن نتابع فصول محاولة تأزيم الوضع الداخلي اللبناني، لا بد لنا أن ننوه بالمبادرة الجريئة والخطوة الاستباقية السياسية التي قامت بها قيادة حزب الله وعلى رأسها سماحة الأمين العام السيد حسن نصر الله، لدورها الرائد في كشف وتعرية تفاصيل المؤامرة – الفتنة وتحمل المسؤولية الواعية في إحباطها ومواجهتها، كما لدورها الفاعل والمساهم في الكشف عن الكثير من شبكات العملاء التي تتحفّظ عن إعلانها حرصا على المصلحة الوطنية.

من ناحية أخرى، نرى أن من واجبنا أن نلفت دولة رئيس الحكومة سعد الدين الحريري إلى ضرورة التنبه والوقوف على خبث المخطط المعد للبنان، ودوره المفترض والمأمول في أن يكون بالفعل رئيسا لحكومة وحدة وطنية على قاعدة المشروع الجامع، وليس على قاعدة الجمع واللم كيفما اتفق، وأن تخرج إلى غير رجعة من محاولة الآخرين زجّه في مشاريعهم الفرعية التابعة والعاملة لخدمة المشروع الأكبر الأميركاني – اليهودي، الساعي ليل نهار للإجهاز على ما تبقّى من حيوية المجتمع. أمّا التذرّع باستقلالية المحكمة الدولية، والادّعاء بأن الحكم الأول والأخير، وكيفما اتفق، هو بيدها، فهو نوع من الخضوع والاستسلام الأعمى لمفاعيل خطيرة قد يترتّب عليها إدخال البلاد في نفق مظلم لا نهاية له.

في هذا الخضم المتلاطم، ورغم الأجواء العامة الملبّدة، يبقى الجيش اللبناني الباسل المنارة المشعّة والقلعة الحصينة التي تحمي الوطن والكيان، وإننا بمناسبة عيد الجيش في الأول من آب نتقدم لنبارك لهذه المؤسسة الوطنية الكبرى جهودها الجبّارة وإنجازاتها العظيمة السابقة والرّاهنة التي تجعل من كل أيامها أعيادا مستمرة.

أيها المواطنون والرفقاء

لقد كانت “وصاية” دولة عربية معيّنة مرفوضة كليا من قبل فريق سياسي لبناني معروف، له مبرّراته وفلسفته في رفض تلك “الوصاية، فإذا به الآن وبدون مقدّمات وتفسيرات منطقية ينتقل إلى طلب ودعم “الرعاية” العربية لشؤونه الخاصة أولا، ومن ثمّ لحل مشاكله مع باقي أطراف التركيبة اللبنانية.

….عجب عجاب، من كان يرفض الوصاية بالأمس يستجدي الرعاية اليوم ، فما الذي تغيّر وتبدّل؟ هل اقتنع أطراف التركيبة اللبنانية أنهم ما زالوا دون سن الرشد السياسي وأنهم بحاجة لهذه الرعاية ؟! وإذا كان الأمر كذلك، فهل لهم أن يرشدونا بدورهم عن الحدود الفاصلة بين تلك المرفوضة وهذه الرعاية المطلوبة؟!

وإذا كانت “الرعاية” العربية هي ما يطالب به أعلى ساسة لبنان في كل وسائل الإعلام ، فإن الخطورة فيما هو خلف “الكواليس” حيث يتم تقديم طلبات الرعاية الأجنبية من أوروبية وأميركانية وغيرها، وفي السراديب حيث يطالب البعض بزيادة جرعة “الرعاية الإسرائيلية” لهم، وتلك هي المصيبة الأعظم.

إن الحراك السياسي العربي الناشط باتجاه لبنان والهادف إلى إشاعة أجواء التهدئة وتنفيس الاحتقان، قد تكون له بعض الإيجابيات المؤقتة في بلد اعتاد ساسته للأسف على الحلول الخارجية المستوردة ….أمّا الحل الشّامل والدائم والمستمر فلا يصنعه ويصونه إلا شعبنا الذي كان له شرف معرفة ومواجهة العدو الحقيقي. هذا الشّعب العزيز مدعو في كل لحظة لاستئصال العلة من جسمه الحي النامي، علّة الطائفية البغيضة والكيانية الهدّامة التي كان حزبنا سبّاقا في الدعوة والعمل على إزالتها من صفوفه، فلا تتربّص بنا الدوائر وتطل برأسها عند كل مفترق لتنفث سمومها في كيان مجتمعنا، فهلّا وعينا وعملنا على قطع رأس أفعى الحزبية الدينية التي هي فعلا وقولا لعنة الأمة.

أثناء طباعة هذا البيان، ورد إلينا نبأ الاشتباكات بين الجيش اللبناني وقوات العدو في العديسة، ونحن إذ نجدد الثقة بهذا الجيش الوطني وبسالته في التصدي لهذا العدوان الغاشم رغم إمكاناته المتواضعة، نطالب بتعزيز هذه الإمكانات وتطويرها. فتحية لشهداء التصدي البطولي في وجه هذا العدو الغاصب.

لتحي سورية وليحي سعاده

رئيس الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي

المركز في 3 آب 2010 الرفيق الدكتور علي حيدر

August 4th, 2010, 6:55 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Aron said,

As for the notion that the Iran/Syria/HA bloc would *start* a war of their own intent, I think it’s extremely unlikely. Their political situation is better than in a very long time, with Israel’s standing slipping regionally and internationally, while their military position is as bad as ever.

Well, the concensus here on Syria Comment is that Israel is going to lose the next war.

So what are we waiting for?

August 4th, 2010, 7:37 pm

 

Mick said:

pirouz

Bashar holds the rank of a four star general (فريق).

http://www.4geography.com/vb/t4271.html

‘ameed is a one-star (brig. general)
liwa’ is a two-star (major general)
‘imaad is a three-star (lt. general)
fareeq is a four star (The big cheese, numero uno)

August 4th, 2010, 10:48 pm

 

Pirouz said:

Mick, thanks for responding and thanks for the link. That’s helpful.

My info is slightly different:

AMID: Brigadier General
LIWA: Major General
FERIQ: Lieutenant General
FAR Q AWWLA: General

http://uniforminsignia.net/?option=com_insigniasearch&Itemid=53&result=1072

By the way, فريق (Feriq) denotes Lieutenant General (one star on the shoulderboards). This is not Bashar’s rank.

The photo shows Bashar wearing three stars. I interpret this rank as Commander General of the Armed Forces (القائد العام للجيش والقوات المسلحة ـ رئيس). Could an Arabic speaker provide an English pronunciation?

And if anyone recognizes any of the ribbons, please let me know.

Thanks again.

August 5th, 2010, 2:56 am

 

Badr said:

Truth or Consequences

Well, the concensus here on Syria Comment is that Israel is going to lose the next war.

AP,

On what basis do you conclude there’s a consensus regarding an issue discussed on this blog?

August 5th, 2010, 3:01 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

There are many plausible arguments in favor or against the possibility of a major war in the near future.

War and peace depend, I believe, on US/Israel regional politics on one hand and Iran on the other.

2010 is not 2006. Iran has grown during the past four years more assertive and powerful. From Afghanistan to Lebanon and Gaza and in between, from Iraq to GCC’s Shi’ite communities plus northern Yaman Tehran is today a force to watch. The failure of the Bush/Cheney project in Iraq and its inability to change the regime in Tehran (and Damascus) and impose pax Americana in the New Middle East handed Iran its newly found power.

Iran helped calm Iraq since 2007. The “surge” would not have worked had it not been for Tehran, among other factors of course. The “surge” added a mere 5% to an already significant security force in 2006 of Americans, allies and Iraqis.

Iran helped calm Iraq in order to accelerate the day of US troops withdrawal from Iraq and also to cool the nuclear issue.

In October 2007, US military officials began noticing a decrease in the supply of Iranian weapons and assistance. Spokesman Col. Steven Boylan said General Petraeus observed that Iran is following through on promises it made to Iraqi and US officials last fall not to provide aid to extremists in Iraq, adding, “We are ready to confirm the excellence of the senior Iranian leadership in their pledge to stop the funding, training, equipment and resourcing of the militia special groups.”

In November 2007, the National Intelligence Estimate report stated with “high confidence” that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it. This conclusion reversed the findings of a similar NIE report in 2005.

Iran’s regional influence has grown to such a level at present that Washington will have little alternative but to deal directly with Tehran on regional issues from oil politics to security. War with Iran will not solve much of anything any more.

However, as AVERROS said in 24: “gamblers just can’t resist the temptation, and the lure of ultimate power will most likely overwhelm wisdom and lessons that could be learned from History”.

Elie

August 5th, 2010, 4:07 am

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

TO ARON.

In your comment under #9 you were quite specific about

“The fence is in Israeli territory” are you able to be as specific as to whether the construction of “settlements” by Israel “ARE IN ISRAELI TERRITORY?”

Does the UN/UNIFIL/ISRAEL have a published map delineating “Israel’s Territory” as of the present to compare with the original boundaries allocated by the UN in its declaration of an Israeli and Palestinian states in 1948?

August 5th, 2010, 7:57 am

 

aron said:

GHAT AL BIRD – Maybe we misunderstand each other. I was talking about the Blue Line fence between Israel and Lebanon, which they’ve built just inside the border rather than on it.

The Israeli fence/wall on the West Bank is mostly in Palestinian territory, never (as far as I know) inside Israel. Settlements, by definition, are in occupied territory.

When speaking of “Israeli territory” etc in a UNIFIL context, that refers to the de facto ceasefire line rather than to a mutually accepted political border.

August 5th, 2010, 9:10 am

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

Thanks ARON.

Most direct and definitive answer. The blue lines and red lines are just what the politicos need as justification for their tenure in office.

Thanks again.

August 5th, 2010, 9:16 am

 

aron said:

AKBAR PALACE – Well, the concensus here on Syria Comment is that Israel is going to lose the next war.

With all due respect to commentators present, I’m not sure that’s a sound basis for military planning…

I’m sure there’s all sorts of bluster and overconfidence within Iranian/Syrian/HA lines as well, plus of course fiery outward rhetoric, but the top leadership seems pretty level-headed in all three cases. Particularly in Syria. They know they won’t win an all-out war, and that any attempt to start a minor conflict can be escalated at will by Israel. So it would take a real serious error of judgement or some sort of accidental trigger to get them to fire the first shots, unless they know something the rest of us don’t.

August 5th, 2010, 9:16 am

 

aron said:

GHAT AL BIRD – You’re welcome! 🙂

August 5th, 2010, 9:17 am

 

aron said:

By the way, International Crisis Group just released a 30+ page report on the likelyhood of an Israel-HA (and/or Iran, Syria) war.

Available as PDF at http://www.crisisgroup.org.

August 5th, 2010, 9:21 am

 

Shai said:

The only reasonable path is Syria.

In so-called “Democratic Regimes”, such as Israel or the United States, time is of the essence. Almost by definition, time is always against us. From the minute prime ministers or presidents enter positions of power, they begin thinking of their next term, or (in Israel’s case), of surviving even a 4-year term. That means, they are far more occupied and concerned with internal politicking than about long-term goals for their nations, for their region, or for the world.

Taking on the Palestinian issue has proven far too complicated a task both for Israel and the United States. It isn’t only that there are multiple parties and variables involved, it is also that the parties haven’t figured out yet what each one of them wants. Resolving the conflict, achieving an agreement that is acceptable not only to a few self-interested leaders, but to their people as well, is a near-impossibility in the foreseeable future.

But the courage required to remove 16,000 Jewish settlers of the Golan, over an extended period of time, and to secure a peace agreement with an organized nation, that can guarantee its side of the bargain (as it has over the past 36 years), is FAR easier than removing 500,000 settlers, or drawing a map acceptable to 4 million Palestinians, of a Bantustian-state.

Syria will lead to Lebanon. Lebanon will lead to the rest of the Arab World. And the rest of the Arab World will lead to Palestine.

It can’t be the other way around. Not with today’s players.

August 5th, 2010, 10:13 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Nailing Down Aron’s Military Assessment

Aron said:

…with Israel’s standing slipping regionally and internationally, while their military position is as bad as ever.

AND,

Particularly in Syria. They know they won’t win an all-out war, and that any attempt to start a minor conflict can be escalated at will by Israel.

Aron,

Please clarify how Syria “won’t win an all-out war” if Israel’s “military position is as bad as ever”. You seem to be contradicting yourself.

Perhaps Israel’s “military position” isn’t that “bad”?

August 5th, 2010, 10:26 am

 

Shai said:

Aron,

Thanks for your recent comments. I think you’re right about Iran. Israel would have little to gain by attacking its nuclear installations. Not only is the chance infinitesimally small that we can get rid of its entire stock of enriched Uranium, but even if we delay its program by a few years, it has already been proven that a nation determined enough to achieve WMD capabilities, will likely succeed, especially if forced to do so covertly. UNSCOM inspectors, who visited Iraq right after the 1st Gulf War, reported that Iraq was months away from nuclear capabilities. The 1981 attack on Osirak did not stop Saddam, only reinforced his resolve. The case of Libya is also good proof that nations can achieve nuclear capabilities, even under the “watchful eye” of the West.

The real question is – can Israel exist with a nuclear-Iran? I think the answer is clear – Yes! The likelihood that Iran, with 2 or 3 or 5 nukes will throw everything on Tel-Aviv the next morning is very slim. Pakistan has no less reasons to hate India (and vice-versa) than Iran does Israel. And yet neither one used their nukes against each other. Both realize that would be the most foolish thing they could do. So they still fight, but with bullets, not with atoms.

In fact, let’s consider the ONLY case in history where a nuclear bomb was used (2 of them, to be precise). Is there any doubt whatsoever, in any person’s mind, that the United States would NOT have used her atomic bombs on Japan, if it knew (or even seriously suspected), that Japan had 100 or 200 nuclear weapons to throw right back at the US? Japan didn’t “call for (US) destruction”, it carried out horrific attacks against her and her forces across lands, oceans, and seas. It killed many thousands of Americans. And America did its share of destroying Japan. It burnt to death between 50-90% of the populations of 67 cities in Japan comparable in size to NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.

But with all the hatred America had towards Japan, would it have used its atomic bombs had it known Japan had many many more? If it’s obvious there, why isn’t it obvious with regards to Iran?

August 5th, 2010, 10:35 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Elie Alhadj said
Iran helped calm Iraq in order to accelerate the day of US troops withdrawal from Iraq and also to cool the nuclear issue.
Is there a guarantee that once american troops leave Iraq,the pro Iranian P.M. in Iraq will survive?I think Iran would rather keep american tropps within range of Iranian fire,as long as Iran has not perfected Uranuim enrichment,and to prevent Israel attack on Iran

August 5th, 2010, 12:02 pm

 

aron said:

AKBAR P – “their” refers to Syria/Iran/HA, not to Israel. My point is Israel is uncomfortable in this stalemate and hurting politically, but will no doubt win any major war (although it may be a costly victory).

SHAI – I can certainly see why Israel would want to take out Iran’s nuclear program, if it could, I just don’t think it can. If Israeli intelligence feels otherwise, I guess a strike will come soon enough. But a one-off strike that buys a few years at most (nothing at worst) would be counter-productive, and Israeli planners must know this. The only other military options are to try to keep Iran pinned down by regular bombnig raids for the forseeable future, or to topple the regime with an air campaign — but I don’t think that’s very likely to work.

So what’s left for Israel is to push for tougher sanctions, create stiff deterrence, and just generally chip away at Iran’s regional position and stability through intelligence work, hitting its allies or making peace with them, whatever works. Some serious moves on the Palestinian track would be immensely helpful of course, but unfortunately Israel’s present leadership seems more concerned about clinging to some pointless hills in the West Bank than gathering international support against Iran.

August 5th, 2010, 1:23 pm

 

Shai said:

Aron,

To provide real security for her citizens, and further stability in the region, Israel should make peace with as many of her neighbors as possible. The price for peace should already be known. Some self-interested politicians, and most of their sheep-like followers, pretend the price is not well known in advance. That maybe Israel won’t need to withdraw to the 1967 borders. That maybe Syria will opt for peace-for-peace, instead of land-for-peace. That Assad’s words “… the first factor of peace is preserving dignity…” can be taken in different context, not just the territorial ones.

The issue of Iran – attacking its nuclear installations or not – should have nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict, except for the threat certain alliances pose, which could force an all-out war in such an event. I believe our generals and “advisers” were already briefed by their American counterparts, probably on numerous occasions, about the potential ramifications such an attack could have both regionally, and globally. And while Israel might not be overly-concerned with American soldiers’ lives in the Gulf or in Afghanistan, it should be concerned with our own image, the minute a global energy crisis develops, affecting all of Israel’s allies and their people. Israel’s existence is dependent no less on the weaponry American tax-dollars provide, as they do on the good-will of those same tax-payers, in America, in Germany, and elsewhere around the world.

An attack on Iran could be devastating for Israel, not only due to the thousands or tens of thousands of missiles that will land atop our cities, towns, and villages, from four different directions, but also to the potential irreparable damage to our image, as a “peace-seeking nation”, that is not a bully in its own region. It will be awfully difficult to convince the politicians and the parliaments of the world that we “had no choice…”

As to the notion that Israel, or the U.S., or the “International Community”, is prepared to do everything it takes to stop Iran from developing nuclear capabilities, I think this is total-crap that we’re somehow successfully selling our constituents. Show me one case of a nation that sought nuclear technology, that was stopped by means other than physical intervention on the ground, essentially being conquered, and even then (the case of Iraq), it was sheer luck that war took place months before the capability was reached. But look at all the other cases, where nuclear capability was reached, against the wishes of the “International Community”: Russia, China, Israel (!), North Korea, India, Pakistan, Libya… Aren’t these proof enough?

August 5th, 2010, 1:58 pm

 

Badr said:

Syrian media restrictions loosen but taboos remain
Really we can talk about everything, except politics and religion

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2010/08/100803_syria_media_sl.shtml

August 5th, 2010, 2:47 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

MAJIDKHALDOUN,

You asked: “Is there a guarantee that once american troops leave Iraq, the pro Iranian P.M. in Iraq will survive?”

In answer, who would challenge the pro-Iranian PM in Iraq? Iraq’s Shiites are the 60% population majority and they occupy the country’s South.

Additionally, Iran has a solid infrastructure of support in southern Iraq. An Iranian, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, is the supreme authority for millions in Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere. The leaders of the two most powerful militias are dependent on Tehran; namely, Ammar Al-Hakeem (Badr Brigade) and Muqtada Al-Sadr (Mahdi Army). The leaders of the Islamic Daawa Party are closely linked to Tehran.

Strengthening Tehran’s grip on Baghdad are the personal rivalries that exist among Iraq’s strongest Shiite leaders. In their turf conflicts, these men are compelled to seek assistance from Tehran. It is inconceivable that they would turn to Iraq’s Sunni neighbors for support. Iran is the natural habitat for these men. Under such conditions, divide and rule is a powerful weapon in the hand of Iran to keep Iraq’s Shiite politicians virtual surrogates and Tehran their ultimate arbiter.

Iran’s influence over the Iraqi government is substantial and sustainable. The occupation of Iraq has set in motion events that make it difficult to predict how lifting the lid on Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic tensions could lead to anything but to Iranian domination over southern Iraq, to Shiite emboldenment everywhere, and to endless long-Term Shiite/Sunni conflicts until such time as the Sunni leaders in the region would either accept Iran’s hegemony or succeed in stopping the march of Shiism.

Mr. Bush’s failed project in Iraq transformed Iran into a regional powerhouse. The British think tank, Chatham House, concluded in August 2006: “The greatest problem facing the U.S. is that Iran has superseded it as the most influential power in Iraq”.

Washington needs today to deal with Tehran on all important issues affecting the Middle East because Iran has serious influence in Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, Yaman, and in every GCC state, let alone Iraq and Afghanistan.

GCC rulers are too feeble for the US to rely upon–they are a burden. These men are non-representative dictators pre-occupied in outdoing each other on who owns the more ostentatious palace and who flies the bigger private Airbus or Boeing 747.

Elie

August 5th, 2010, 3:35 pm

 

Alex said:

You see Badr, Syria Comment is filling the gap … I think we have done our share of talking about politics and religion 🙂

Speaking of Syrian media, Abdul Salam Haykal, who owns Forward Magazine, one of Syria’s excellent two main English magazines (the other being Syria Today), said he tried to buy Newsweek but The Washington Post ignored his offer .. they wouldn’t sell Newsweek to an Arab investor.

http://www.foliomag.com/2010/potential-arab-bidder-ignored-newsweek-auction

In fact, we tried again, with the help of a friend, who is a well-respected American diplomat who has access to [Newsweek senior writer] Elizabeth Weymouth. He passed me the details of two people at Allen Co., and I emailed them but got no reply. It’s not strange, as Newsweek is a “national treasure” like Harman said. Our aim in Haykal Media, and that of the group of investors with me, was to help the Arab Middle East have a voice in international media, contributing to a more balanced perspective in the world. Also, the media market in the Middle East is growing fast, and international media companies are eying the region. It was a perfect moment for us to think of this opportunity, and the risk seemed justified. However, I expected with a reasonable amount of sympathy that the Washington Post wouldn’t sell to a non-American group, let alone an Arab group led by a Syrian media company. It will sound like selling Aljazeera to Fox News. But it would have been nice for them to get back to me, with a diplomatic or a blunt answer, but I got neither.

And speaking of offers, another Syrian (Yahya Kirdi) is trying to purchase Liverpool’s soccer club

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/04/yahya-kirdi-liverpool-kenneth-huang

He will also probably not make it (my guess)

And finally, I would like to share with our nouveau riche, and not so nouveau riche, Syrian millionaires and billionaires the following news:

Many more American billionaires are joining the Gates-Buffett charity pledge to give away at least 95% of their wealth to charity.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704017904575409193790337162.html

Really impressive from these “decadent American capitalists” … giving over 95% of their wealth to charity!

Meanwhile our egocentric Syrian (and Arab) businessmen are too busy competing with each other to see who can accumulate wealth faster, and who can spend money more extravagantly on himself and his family so that his wife can impress her friends and relatives with the latest available color of those $5000 to $10,000Hermes hand bags.

Our Arab billionaires need to do a bit better, since … we are known for our legendary “Arab generosity”

Our generous donors might give 1 or 2% of their wealth, and they usually give it to religious charities exclusively (their own religion to be more specific) … These Americans are giving 95% and they give it to the whole world, from America to Africa… And some of them are giving tens of billions.

August 5th, 2010, 3:47 pm

 

Alex said:

Dear Edit (#4), A.Akawi (#7) and Alan (#10)

Your comments were pending my approval for some reason. I just released them. Sorry!

August 5th, 2010, 3:55 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Please be careful. Akbar might mistakenly think you’re again puppeteering for the Ba’ath Party…

August 5th, 2010, 3:57 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai : ) … I know, I sounded like an angry communist and not only a socialist Baathist.

I just received this comment from a Syrian friend:

I read the Wall Street Journal article this morning and the same thought popped up.

Arabs have the family tribe thing in their blood while westerners are more into individuality.

In the Arab world, people gather money to build fortunes for their kids and the coming generations this money helps create the clan and perdurance of their names. The individual in the Arab world prospers by the clan, family , tribe. Money unfortunately helps attract the other members of the family and give a sense of belonging while establishing that person as the head of a hierarchy of the clan and therefor (of course among other reasons) the Arabs’ nostalgia for “Beik”,” Basha”, “Agha” and “Sheikh” (for the Gulf and Saudi Arabia).

Meanwhile in the West the individual is independent from the rest. And the well being of the clan, family, or tribe is hardly on their mind. The individual forms a dynasty that will at best be melting with time if left to the family. In that sense only massive donations or the establishment of major charitable foundations can account for the continuation of their names …

Both have a eagerness of perdurance in the different understandings adapted to the differences in the cultures.

But we will get there… hopefully before the Oil era ends…

August 5th, 2010, 4:24 pm

 

Alex said:

Only we’re allowed

After Tuesday’s border clash, Israel will continue to ignore UNIFIL and the Lebanese army.

Gideon Levy,

Those bastards, the Lebanese, changed the rules. Scandalous. Word is, they have a brigade commander who’s determined to protect his country’s sovereignty. Scandalous.

The explanation here was that he’s “indoctrinating his troops” – only we’re allowed to do that, of course – and that this was “the spirit of the commander” and that he’s “close to Hezbollah.” The nerve.

And now that we’ve recited ad nauseum the explanations of Israel Defense Forces propaganda for what happened Tuesday at the northern border, the facts should also be looked at.

On Tuesday morning, Israel requested “coordination” with UNIFIL to carry out another “exposing” operation on the border fence. UNIFIL asked the IDF to postpone the operation, because its commander is abroad. The IDF didn’t care. UNIFIL won’t stop us.

At noon the tree-cutters set out. The Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers shouted at them to stop. In Lebanon they say their soldiers also fired warning shots in the air. If they did, it didn’t stop the IDF.

The tree branches were cut and blood was shed on both sides of the border. Shed in vain.

True, Israel maintains that the area across the fence is its territory, and UNIFIL officially confirmed that yesterday. But a fence is a fence: In Gaza it’s enough to get near the fence for us to shoot to kill. In the West Bank the fence’s route bears no resemblance to the Green Line, and still Palestinians are forbidden from crossing it.

In Lebanon we made different rules: the fence is just a fence, we’re allowed to cross it and do whatever we like on the other side, sometimes in sovereign Lebanese territory. We can routinely fly in Lebanese airspace and sometimes invade as well.

This area was under Israeli occupation for 18 years, without us ever acknowledging it. It was an occupation no less brutal than the one in the territories, but whitewashed well. “The security zone,” we called it. So now, as well, we can do what we like.

But suddenly there was a change. How did our analysts put it? Recently there’s been “abnormal firing” at Israeli aircraft. After all, order must be maintained: We’re allowed to fly in Lebanese airspace, they are not permitted to shoot.

But Tuesday’s incident, which was blown out of proportion here as if it were cause for a war that only the famed Israeli “restraint” prevented, should be seen in its wider context. For months now the drums of war have been beating here again. Rat-a-tat, danger, Scuds from Syria, war in the north.

No one asks why and wherefore, it’s just that summer’s here, and with it our usual threats of war. But a UN report published this week held Israel fully responsible for creating this dangerous tension.

In this overheated atmosphere the IDF should have been careful when lighting its matches. UNIFIL requests a delay of an operation? The area is explosive? The work should have been postponed. Maybe the Lebanese Army is more determined now to protect its country’s sovereignty – that is not only its right, but its duty – and a Lebanese commander who sees the IDF operating across the fence might give an order to shoot, even unjustifiably.

Who better than the IDF knows the pattern of shooting at any real or imagined violation? Just ask the soldiers at the separation fence or guarding Gaza. But Israel arrogantly dismissed UNIFIL’s request for a delay.

It’s the same arrogance behind the demand that the U.S. and France stop arming the Lebanese military. Only our military is allowed to build up arms. After years in which Israel demanded that the Lebanese Army take responsibility for what is happening in southern Lebanon, it is now doing so and we’ve changed our tune. Why? Because it stopped behaving like Israel’s subcontractor and is starting to act like the army of a sovereign state.

And that’s forbidden, of course. After the guns fall silent, the cry goes up again here to strike another “heavy blow” against Lebanon to “deter” it – maybe some more of the destruction that was inflicted on Beirut’s Dahiya neighborhood.

Three Lebanese killed, including a journalist, are not enough of a response to the killing of our battalion commander. We want more. Lebanon must learn a lesson, and we will teach it.

And what about us? We don’t have any lessons to learn. We’ll continue to ignore UNIFIL, ignore the Lebanese Army and its new brigade commander, who has the nerve to think that his job is to protect his country’s sovereignty.

August 5th, 2010, 5:32 pm

 

Shami said:

Elie ,could you explain how the mollahs would build this shia hegemony ?through sadr ,huti ,nasrallah and hakim ?
And how such hegemony would be able to co exist with the zionist fact in palestine ?

August 5th, 2010, 7:56 pm

 

Norman said:

Alex,

How are you my friend , according to FORBS magazine there are no Billionaires who are Syrians and from what i can see , the 5% that each family will keep is more than all Syrian individuals have

We should also remember that the US Tax codes makes it beneficial to have a charitable foundation as the donation to charities are Tax deductible and having a charitable foundation gives the individuals the chance to direct their donations to charities that they care about costing them only half the amount as Uncle Sam loses the whole amount , I am not trying to minimize the contributions that these families are doing , but other things are there , one of them is the Estate Tax that will eat 50% of their money anyway ,

Syria does not have Estate Tax , does not have Charitable organizations and does not have Tax to have tax deductions ,

Syria can help Syrians make up their minds by having a similar system ,

about the fact that Arabs tend to care about their extended family , that is true but does not come from looking to be bas-has or sheiks , it come from caring about their families and the fact that they feel responsible for their families and that is not seen in the West , in the West they rarely care about anybody but their immediate family and tend to give to charity instead of helping their extended families , IT IS TAX DEDUCTABLE to give to charity but not to give your cousin or brother , or even your mother in LAW , ( That should be deductible ) ,

August 5th, 2010, 10:41 pm

 

Norman said:

Shai,
Somebody is reading SC m, look at this ,

The Huffington Post August 5, 2010

Your request is being processed…

This is the print preview: Back to normal view »
Alon Ben-MeirSenior Fellow at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs
Posted: August 5, 2010 06:02 PM BIO Become a Fan Get Email Alerts Bloggers’ Index

An Opportunity for Syrian-Israeli Peace

diggfacebook Twitter stumble reddit del.ico.us

Read More: Hamas , Hezbollah , Iran , Israel , Israeli-Palestinian Conflict , Lebanon , Syria , World News

While the world reacts to the recent flair-up of violence along the Lebanon-Israel border, other developments in the area could present an opportunity to advance regional peace if pursued. The recent visit by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and President Assad of Syria to Lebanon has in effect restored Damascus’ dominance over Lebanon, thereby impacting the internal political dynamic in this fractured country. While Syria is likely to maintain its bilateral relationship with Iran for its own strategic and tactical reasons, the new, undeclared understanding between President Assad, King Abdullah and Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon was that Lebanon would remain outside of the Iranian orbit of influence. The message to Tehran was quite clear: Syria — with the backing of the Arab states — will resume its hegemony over Lebanon and both Iran and its proxy Hezbollah must accept this new political reality.

This new political configuration in Lebanon also suggests that, for the right price, Syria would align itself with the Arab world to blunt Iran’s ambitions to become the regional hegemony. The implication is that Syria would be far less likely to come to Tehran’s aid should either Israel or the United States decide to attack its nuclear facilities. Moreover, Syria, out of necessity to keep Lebanon out of such a potential conflict, would limit Hezbollah’s political challenge to the Hariri government and prevent it from engaging Israel, should the scenario of potential hostilities between Israel (and/or the U.S.) with Iran unfold. In this regard, the United States and Israel welcome this new development in Lebanon, as it may change their calculations with regard to an attack on Iran. Even more, the Saudi-Syrian move offers Israel an opportunity to resume peace negotiations with Syria and thereby improve the political atmosphere throughout the region in a dramatic way. It is an opportunity Israel should not squander.

An Israeli-Syrian peace accord would have long-term, significant implications on Syria’s ties with Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas. Changing Damascus’ strategic interests and the geopolitical condition in the Middle East will require bringing Syria within reach of regaining the Golan Heights and normalizing relations with the U.S. Doing so would have a direct impact on the behavior of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. Syria has served as the linchpin between the three, and by removing or undermining Syria’s logistical and political backing — which will be further cemented by an Israeli-Syrian peace-Hamas and Hezbollah will be critically weakened, and Hamas in particular may be forced rethink its strategy toward Israel. Peace with Syria would effectively change the center of gravity of Syrian politics in the region, which is shaped by Damascus’ strategic interests.

Whereas Israel’s concerns over Iran’s nuclear program are not likely to be mitigated by an Israeli-Syrian peace, it will certainly force Tehran to rethink its strategy vis-a-vis Israel. The irony is that while Israel continues to hype up the Iranian nuclear threat, it has lost focus on how to change the regional geopolitical dynamic and weaken Iran’s influence throughout the region. Under any violent scenario between Israel and Iran, with an Israel-Syria accord, Tehran would no longer be able to count on the retaliatory actions by Hamas and Hezbollah because the interests of these two groups would now be at odds with Syria’s strategic interest.

The international opposition to Israel’s continued occupation is growing as the occupation of Arab land and the building of Israeli settlements are seen as the single source of continued regional strife and instability. Linking the occupation of the Golan Heights to national security concerns is viewed as nothing more than a pretext to maintain Israel’s hold of the territory — even Israel’s allies, including the United States, no longer buy into the linkage between this territory and national security. The fact that the Israeli government is ideologically polarized offers no excuse for policies that cannot be sustained in the long-term and which in fact could lead to renewed violence. If Israel is truly focused on national security, then it must relinquish the Golan Heights. Only normal relations with Syria and effective security mechanisms in place can offer Israel ultimate security on its northern border.

The rift between Turkey and Israel over Israel’s incursion into Gaza and the tragic flotilla incident has strained their bilateral relations. As such, Israel has refused that Turkey renew its role as a mediator between Israel and Syria. However, there have already been measures taken to soften the rhetoric and tension between Israel and Turkey. These steps should be expanded with the goal of renewing trust between these two historic allies. Turkish mediators proved that they were able to achieve progress in the last round of negotiations between Israel and Syria, which ultimately collapsed with the launching of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. It is the interest of both Israel and Turkey that such trust — and progress on the Syrian track — be advanced. Turkey seeks Israeli-Syrian peace not merely for self-aggrandizement. For Turkey, a regional peace would have a tremendous effect on its own national security and economic development, just as it would for Israel’s. The fact that Syria chose a negotiating venue through Turkey to regain the Golan should not be taken by Israel as a sign that it can indefinitely maintain the status quo without serious consequences. Although Syria may not be in a position to regain the Golan by force, it has shown tremendous capacity to deny Israel peace with Lebanon and the Palestinians, and can continue to do so for as long as Israel occupies the Golan.

President Bashar al-Assad, like his father, has indicated that advancing efforts to pursue peace with Israel is a strategic option. He has expressed a desire to conclude a deal in exchange for the Golan Heights and a healthy relationship with the U.S. In response, Israel must choose between territory and real security; as long as Syria has territorial claims against Israel, Israel will never be secure on its northern border. Israel cannot make the claim that it seeks peace but then fail to seize the opportunity when one is presented. If Syria offers peace, normalization of relations, meets Israel’s legitimate security concerns and Israel still refuses, the Golan will continue to serve as a national liability and a source of instability and violence.

Follow Alon Ben-Meir on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AlonBenMeir

August 5th, 2010, 11:23 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

To Shami,

You asked: “could you explain how the mollahs would build this shia hegemony”?

In answer, I would say that shared Shiite memories of suffering at the hands of Sunni rulers and peoples over the centuries would draw the Shiites together. The common attitude among most Sunnis is that Shiism is a heretical infringement on Islam and that its adherents are heretics and polytheistic. Shiites have suffered poverty and political marginalization for far too long. As a 15% minority among world Muslims, surrounded by a hostile Sunni majority the Shiite communities feel solidarity. Today, they look to Tehran for the rescue.

As explained in my 33 and 47 above, Iran has become the region’s powerhouse as a result of Mr. Bush failed project in Iraq and his inability to change the regime in Tehran (and Damascus). Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister told the Council of Foreign Relations in New York on September 21, 2005 “US policy in Iraq is widening sectarian divisions to the point of effectively handing the country to Iran.” With Iran’s newly found power Shiites everywhere look to Tehran for deliverance.

In Bahrain, the Sunni minority dominates the 60%+ Shiite majority. Comments made on July 11, 2007 by the editor of Kayhan, Iran’s leading establishment newspaper and an appointee of the Supreme Leader must be disconcerting to Bahrain’s rulers and their GCC neighbors. Khayan reported: “Public demand in Bahrain is the reunification of this province with its motherland, the Islamic Iran.” Khayan declared that Bahrain was separated from Iran through an “illicit conformity” between the former Shah and Britain and United States. Iran’s ambitions to rule Bahrain are age-old. Except for eighty years under Portuguese rule seven centuries ago, Bahrain had been a Persian territory. In 1782, the Al-Khalifa clan removed the Persian ruler of the island. In 1981, the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, an organization with close ties to Iran attempted a coup d’état but failed.

In Iraq, until the U.S. changed the country’s power pyramid in 2003, the Shiite majority was deprived. Mr. Bush’s project handed Iran on a silver platter to Tehran.

In Kuwait, Shiites, almost one-third of Kuwaitis, are less than first class citizens. Shiites have only five representatives in the fifty-seat National Assembly of 2008. There are around thirty Shiite mosques (one for every 13,000) and around 1,200 Sunni mosques (one for every 600). Kuwait might attract the annexation ambitions of a Shiite-ruled-and-Iran-dominated Iraq, as it did under a Sunni-ruled Iraq twice before (Abdul Kareem Kassem and Saddam Hussein).

In Lebanon, Shiites, estimated to be 40% of the population (possibly more) are the poorest and politically underprivileged (21% of parliamentary seats for their 40% share of the population per the Taif Accord). HA today is a force to reckon with in Lebanon. The injustices Lebanese Shiites have been enduring will not go on for ever.

In Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, the founder of the kingdom treated the Shiites legally as non-Muslims. Their towns and villages today continue to be pathetically poor; though, they hold the world’s richest oil reserves, the publication or importation of Shiite books is banned, the opening of Shiite religious schools and the display in public of Shiite rituals are prohibited. The construction of Shiite mosques is seldom permitted.

In Syria, until seizing power in 1970, the Alawites, a Shiite sect, lived in abject poverty.

In Yaman, the Zaydis, a Shiite sect estimated at 8-9 million people of Yaman’s 22-million population, occupy the north west mountainous region bordering Saudi Arabia, accuse the Sunni government of genocide. Led by Sheikh Hussein Al-Houthi, Zaidis have been in rebellion since 2004. In October 2009, Saudi forces entered the fight openly on the side of Yamani forces. The Yamani and Saudi governments accuse Iran of helping the Houthis.

Iran’s continued occupation since November 30, 1971 (on orders of the Shah) of the three strategically important UAE islands at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz—Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb— leave UAE leaders exacerbated and GCC states worried.

King Abdullah of Jordan, in an interview with the Washington Post on December 9, 2004 warned of the dangers inherent in a “Shiite crescent” running from Iran and Iraq to Syria and Lebanon.

President Mubarak stated that the Shiites in Arab states were more loyal to Iran than to their own countries.

You asked: “how such hegemony would be able to co exist with the zionist fact in palestine?”

I believe that a modus vivandi will be found to live and let live.
The losers will be the Arab neighbors.

Elie

August 6th, 2010, 3:50 am

 

Norman said:

The way minorities are treated in the Arab world is an invitation to foreign interference , be it Christians , shia and others , Sunnis have to remember that we are all Arabs not Persians or westerns , SO do not push minorities away making them look for a equal rights and protectors , take care of the minorities as in early Islam and prevent fragmentation of the Arab world,

Decentralization and redistribution of wealth equally dependent on population is essential to make everybody feel that they have a stake in their country ,

August 6th, 2010, 6:49 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Elie Elhadj, you said:

Today, they look to Tehran for the rescue., and then listed a number of ME countries and their relationship to rising Shiite and Iranian power.

Is this a concern of yours? How so?

You also said:

Iran has become the region’s powerhouse as a result of Mr. Bush failed project in Iraq and his inability to change the regime in Tehran (and Damascus).

Is this also a concern of yours? And if so, what would you have done differently if you were President Bush?

Lastly, you said:

I believe that a modus vivandi will be found to live and let live. The losers will be the Arab neighbors.

Can you explain what you meant by this?

Thanks,

AP

August 6th, 2010, 7:01 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex states,

Only we’re allowed

After Tuesday’s border clash, Israel will continue to ignore UNIFIL and the Lebanese army.

Alex,

If Syria and Hexbollah refrained from violating UNSC 1701, Israel wouldn’t find it necessary to conduct overflights.

August 6th, 2010, 7:31 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Ellie believe that Alawites are sect of Shiite, many believe that too, but the truth is they have nothing to do with Shiite,they do not have a single mosque in their area, and they do not perform pilgrimaje to the shiite holy sites,while we sunni do not believe that they are true moslems.
Shiite believe that Ali is WALI this is obvious violation of Quran which says at the end of Israa soorah that God has no son,no partner no Wali among the people who are slavish subservient, and in many other places in Quraan it denounce those who take any human as holy,in Sorah Zummar for example it says that those who take people as wali are liers and infidel
The other problem with Shiite is their loyalty to Iran
Shiite support of Palastinian cause is admirable and we should be thair friends and Ally.
Sectarin feeling is not strong in Syria,and be it christians,Shiite or druze or other sect,they always has equal rights.
.

August 6th, 2010, 9:01 am

 

Shai said:

Akbar volunteers as unofficial IDF Spokesperson

“If Syria and Hexbollah refrained from violating UNSC 1701, Israel wouldn’t find it necessary to conduct overflights.”

Is this the official, or unofficial explanation for Israeli flights over Lebanon? Or is this your OWN interpretation of IAF overflights? I want to better understand the distinction between speaking on behalf of “all of Israel”, and speaking on behalf of “yourself”.

Can you please refer us to statements made by any Israeli official (not Akbar Palace) suggesting, even remotely, that overflights would end the minute HA would stop violating UNSC 1701?

To save you time searching, I’ll give you a hint – Israel would NEVER make such a statement. Do you know why? Because it would then force her NOT to fly over Lebanon, if HA upheld Lebanon’s side of 1701. And since we want to fly over Lebanon whenever WE want to, we’re not going to limit ourselves.

Of course, there’s one other reason we wouldn’t refer to 1701 too much… it would mean we take UN resolutions seriously. And I don’t need to tell you on this forum, that Israel normally tends to view such resolutions as something a bit less-than-serious. It would be foolish of us to demand of our enemies to follow any UN resolutions.

August 6th, 2010, 9:09 am

 

Shami said:

Elie ,you did not answer my question.
You came to a conclusion that the losers will be ,us ,the non shia muslims and arabs.
My question was : how these theocratic shia mollahs would build their hegemony on us ?through force,khamainei army with the help of the militias of sadr,hakim,huti,nasrallah ? through an understanding of minorities zionists included against us?

And should we understand from you that Bashar has chosen to bind the fate of the alawite community in Syria to the fate of the theocratic khomainistic regime ?

plz elaborate.

August 6th, 2010, 9:13 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

NORMAN,
You are so right in saying: “The way minorities are treated in the Arab world is an invitation to foreign interference”. Secularism is the best system of governance that ensures equal rights to all citizens.

AP,
Re. your first two questions. I am trying to be an objective analyst putting the current situation in the region in its historical perspective and with that looking into a crystal ball, which I hope is not too cloudy, to see how things might shape up in the future.

The picture I draw can be taken or ignored. My own opinion will not change anything. My opinion is irrelevant.

What might Mr. Bush have done differently? It is difficult to speculate. One thing is for certain, however, and that is the Iraq report card is bleak. US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in March 2006: “The 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime had opened a ‘Pandora’s box’ of volatile ethnic and sectarian tensions.” Khalilzad described a worst-case scenario in which religious extremists could take over sections of Iraq and begin to expand outward, which “would make Taliban Afghanistan look like child’s play.”

As for your third question, I believe that a modus vivandi between Israel and Iran to live and let live will be found. It would be in the best interest of both to do so since the two are of considerable power.

MAJIDKHALDOUN,
In 1973 the imam Musa Al-Sadr, Head of the Higher Shiite Council in Lebanon, issued a fatwa that the Alawites are indeed a community of Shiite Islam. The view you expressed in 60 is a Sunni view.

Shami,
You asked: “How these theocratic shia mollahs would build their hegemony on us ?through force,khamainei army with the help of the militias of sadr,hakim,huti,nasrallah ? through an understanding of minorities zionists included against us?”

The answer is to be deduced from my 59. I outlined the difficult situation of the Shiite communities in the region–Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudia’s Eastern Province, Yaman. In each of these countries, a local resistance group could irrupt at some point with Tehran’s help. If your question implies a military invasion by Iran, then the answer is negative. Military action would be inconceivable.

You asked: “Should we understand from you that Bashar has chosen to bind the fate of the alawite community in Syria to the fate of the theocratic khomainistic regime?”

On the regional political level the answer is in the affirmative.

Elie

August 6th, 2010, 10:47 am

 

observer said:

This is from the Arab Unity Center, a synopsis of the think tanks around the world about the current ME situation

مركز دراسات الوحدة العربية

وحدة دعم صنع القرار

التقرير الأسبوعي لمراكز الأبحاث

6 آب/أغسطس 2010

يبدو الصيف جيداً بالنسبة لمؤسسات الأبحاث عموماً، إذ قدمت تحليلات حول مواضيع مختلفة بدل التركيز على قضية واحدة. وتنوعت قضايا هذا الأسبوع بين احتمالات اندلاع حرب جديدة في لبنان، وعملية السلام، وتسريب “ويكيليكس” والانسحاب من العراق والحرب في أفغانستان وسواها.

لبنان، إسرائيل واحتمالات الحرب

يسلط المعهد اليهودي لشؤون الأمن القومي الضوء على الإشتباك الذي وقع جنوب لبنان بين القوات الإسرائيلية والجيش اللبناني، حيث قتل جنديان وصحافي لبناني وضابط إسرائيلي كبير إثر تبادل إطلاق نار، عند محاولة القوات الإسرائيلية اقتلاع شجرة في المنطقة الحدودية تعيق عمل أجهزة المراقبة. وينتقد تقرير المعهد إدارة أوباما لعدم دعمها إسرائيل بشكل كاف. ويقول إن “إسرائيل تواجه أعداءاً لدودين يصعّدون هجماتهم، وسيكون عليها الرد بالهجوم. إن اشتباك اليوم مع الجيش اللبناني والقصف الدقيق لمنزل صانع القنابل المنتمي إلى حماس في غزة، ضروريان، لكنهما غير كافييْن لإستعادة التوازن. والتوازن مؤقت فقط. دعم الولايات المتحدة فعليأ لأمن إسرائيل سيكمن في سلوكها تجاه قرارات صعبة قد تضطر الحكومة إلى اتخاذها، لحماية شعبها من الأعداء خارج الحدود. رد وزارة الخارجية (الأميركية) اليوم على لسان المتحدث بي. جي. كراولي- ‘آخر شيء نود رؤيته في هذه الحادثة هو أن تتوسع إلى شيء أكبر’- كان ضعيفاً ومخيباً للآمال في ظل هذه الظروف”.

بدورها، تخصص مجموعة النزاعات الدولية دراسة للنظر في احتمالات الحرب بين إسرائيل ولبنان. وتشير الدراسة، وعنوانها “طبول الحرب: إسرائيل و‘محور المقاومة’”، إلى أن أبرز سبب لهدوء الحدود اللبنانية الإسرائيلية منذ حرب 2006، هو خوف الأطراف من أن المواجهة المقبلة ستكون أوسع نطاقاً ً وأكثر تدميراً. وتخلص إلى أن “أفضل مقاربة فعالة لهذه الإشكالية هي في استئناف المفاوضات الاسرائيلية- السورية والاسرائيلية- اللبنانية، من دون إهمال المسار الفلسطيني. فمن دون ذلك، ستواصل سوريا نقل السلاح إلى حزب الله، وستنجح الحركة الشيعية في مقاومة الضغط لنزع سلاحها، وستواصل إسرائيل خرق سيادة لبنان. ما يشكل رادعاً فعالاً لكافة الأطراف، هو بناء القوة العسكرية لدى الطرفين والمخاوف من أن الحرب المقبلة لن توفر مدنيين أو بنى تحتية مدنية، والاحتمال المقلق بأن تصبح حرباً إقليمية. في حال اندلاع الحرب، ستريد إسرائيل توجيه ضربة قوية وسريعة لتفادي إعادة سيناريو 2006. ستكون أكثر ميلاً لعدم التمييز بين حزب الله والحكومة اللبنانية، وأكثر ميلاً لاستهداف سوريا. وفيما يزداد التوتر، ينشغل محور المقاومة- إيران، سوريا، حماس، حزب الله- بتعزيز الروابط الأمنية”. ويعتبر التقرير أن “أكثر المهمات إلحاحاً هو تطبيق القرار 1701. تحسين قنوات الإتصال سيكون مفيداً”. ويتابع: “حالياً تتخذ الولايات المتحدة جانباً واحداً (إسرائيل)، وتمد يداً عن بعد إلى الجانب الثاني (سوريا)، وتتجاهل الثالث (حزب الله) وتواجه الرابع (إيران)”. ويخلص التقرير إلى أنه “يجب على الأمم المتحدة تعزيز مهمتها في لبنان للعب دور سياسي أكثر فاعلية… لا يجب أن يتوهم أحد أن أياً من حل قضية قرية الغجر، وتعزيز دور الأمم المتحدة أو إيجاد دور جديد، ووسائل الاتصال بين اسرائيل وسوريا وبطريقة غير مباشرة حزب الله، سيحدث فارقاً دائماً أو حاسماً”.

في شأن متصل، يتحدث موقع “ريل نيوز” أي “الأخبار الحقيقية” عن “حرب العلاقات العامة” التي بدأتها إسرائيل هذا العام، في مواجهة الإنتقادات التي تعتبر أنها تنزع عنها الشرعية، وذلك بعد سيل الانتقادات التي طالتها عقب الحرب على غزة أواخر2008 وصدور تقرير غولدستون. ويشير الموقع إلى تقرير صادر عن معهد رويت الإسرائيلي، يعتبر أن “على الجيش والحكومة الإسرائيليين، بذل جهود كبيرة في حرب العلاقات العامة، وزيادة جمع المعلومات الاستخبارية عن مجموعات حقوق الانسان وما يسمى بـ نازعي الشرعية، وتطوير آليات للرد، بما فيها خلق وحدات جديدة للتعامل معهم في أجهزة الموساد والشاباك ووزارة الخارجية ومجلس الأمن القومي وسواها”. ويتحدث الموقع مع رئيس الجمعية الصهيونية الأميركية مورتون كلين، الذي يقول: “إنه وقت نزع الشرعية عن إسرائيل وتشويه سمعتها، بحيث بات ينظر إليها على أنها النازية الجديدة. من المستغرب أنه حين يكون هناك دولة كإسرائيل هي الأكثر احتراماً لحقوق الانسان في العالم، يتعامل معها العالم على أنها مريعة في هذا المجال، فيما يتجاهل العالم العربي المريع حقاُ في مجال حقوق الانسان”. ويشير كلين إلى أن “دولة فلسطينية ستكون ببساطة دولة إرهابية أخرى وكارثة تحت كل الظروف”، معتبراً أن “إسرائيل تتصرف بضعف وتضعفها الضغوط الدولية أكثر، وعدم مواجهة هذه الضغوط جعل الناس يظنون أنها غير قوية بشكل كاف لكي يمكن الاعتماد عليها في عمل عسكري أو تدخل أو مساعدة من أي نوع. أعتقد أن سياسة إسرائيل في التهدئة والتنازلات أدت إلى خسارة الثقة بها…المشكلة هي أن إسرائيل باتت ناعمة جداً”.

×××

عملية السلام والتحول في الشرق الأوسط

تبحث شبكة العلاقات الدولية والأمن السويسرية، في آفاق خطة رئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني سلام فياض التي أعلنت في آب/ أغسطس 2009 ، وتنص على تأسيس دولة فلسطينية في آب/ أغسطس 2011 عبر إنشاء مؤسسات حكومية جديدة وإصلاح تلك الموجودة وتعزيز الأوضاع الإقتصادية والإجتماعية والأمنية. “تحدث المجتمع الدولي كثيراً عن الخطة، لكنه لم يسع إلى تكاملها بشكل صحيح مع عملية السلام. الرباعية الدولية لم تحدد أطر عملها بعد انتهاء مهلة 24 شهراً لتطبيق خطة فياض. فاختلاف المفاهيم والمصالح بين دول الاتحاد الأوروبي الـ 27 جعل عدد منها لا يفهم أهمية الدعم الواجب تقديمه للخطة”. وتعتبر الشبكة السويسرية أن “العائق الأساسي للتنمية في الضفة الغربية هو وجود المستوطنات الإسرائيلية، التي تسيطر على أكثر من 42 في المئة من الأرض وتفرض قيوداً على الفلسطينيين، ما يجعل التنمية المستدامة عبر ‘الفياضية’ (خطة فياض) شبه مستحيلة… من دون ضغط خارجي، يستبعد أن تغير الحكومة الإسرائيلية موقفها من هذه القضية. لذا على اللجنة الرباعية إيضاح ما إذا كانت تدعم خطة فياض لبناء الدولة، وفي حال دعمها يجب تأمين دعم أميركي ودمجها بخطة السلام التي أقرت عام 2003 عبر استراتيجية شاملة، أو لتصبح جزءا من مبادرة سلام أميركية جديدة… وأخيراً على الحكومة والشعب الإسرائيليين أن يقرروا ما إذا كانوا سيتوقفون عند حدود سلام اقتصادي (اقتراح نتنياهو) هش، أو يريدون التوصل إلى حل الدولتين… في أي حال، يصبح حل الدولتين بعيد المنال، وقد لا تتمكن عملية السلام من تحمّل ضياع فرصة جديدة”.

بدوره، يقول مركز السياسة الأمنية، إن “اليسار الإسرائيلي هو في مسار تصادمي مع إدارة أوباما، حيث أفيد أنه يعمل على تقويض المفاوضات بين حكومة نتنياهو وفتح. ولأن الولايات المتحدة فرضت على نتنياهو الموافقة على إجراء مفاوضات مع فلسطينيّ ليس لديه السلطة للتفاوض، ولأن الفلسطينيين الذين يتمتعون بالقوة الحقيقية تسيطر عليهم إيران وملتزمون بتدمير إسرائيل، من الواضح أن هدف أوباما الجدي ورغبة اليسار الإسرائيلي العظمى، ليس الإنخراط في عملية سلام، إنما في مسرح سياسي مع عباس على حساب إسرائيل… لا يملك عباس سلطة شرعية لتمثيل الفلسطينيين، وإذا وقع اتفاق سلام مع إسرائيل غداً، لن يتمكن من تطبيقه. سيكون ميتاً قبل أن تكون لديه فرصة لإعلان الدولة. وهو يعلم ذلك. يمكن لحماس تعطيل المفاوضات في أي وقت، لأنها القوة الحقيقية في المجتمع الفلسطيني- وليس عباس. واليوم، من الواضح أن الطريقة الوحيدة لإحراز تقدم في المسرح السياسي الذي يرغب فيه أوباما وحاييم رامون بشدة، هو أن تقدم إسرائيل المزيد من التنازلات غير المتبادلة للفلسطينيين… خارج هذا المسرح، ليس من مصلحة اليسار الإسرائيلي أو الولايات المتحدة بناء دولة إرهابية في يهودا والسامرة (الضفة الغربية) إلى جانب الأخرى في غزة. إذا كان اليسار الإسرائيلي وإدارة أوباما يريدان السلام حقاً، عليهما تقديم بعض المطالب للفلسطينيين. أقله طلب قبول شرعية الدولة اليهودية وإصلاح مؤسساتهم المعادية للسامية”.

في شأن متصل، يتحدث مركز شاتهام هاوس البريطاني، عن “التحول الذي يعتبر دائماُ في الشرق الأوسط، لكنه نادراً ما كان فاقد البوصلة إلى الحد الذي هو عليه الآن”. ويشير إلى التحدي الجدي للسياسة الأميركية والأوروبية في المنطقة، حيث “يتم تقويض استراتيجيتهما لحل النزاع الإسرائيلي- الفلسطيني ومواجهة برنامج إيران النووي، عبرحزم تركيا المستجد واستمرار تعنت إيران”. ويرى المركز أن “تخفيف الحصار عن غزة بعد حادثة أسطول الحرية لم يسهم في السلام الإقليمي، إنما تسبب بتنافس إقليمي جديد في هذه القضية بين تركيا وإيران حول النفوذ في غزة”. ويوصي بضرورة تقييم واشنطن والعواصم الأوروبية للتيارات الناشئة في المنطقة، مشيراً إلى ثلاثة مؤثرات: امتلاك أكثر اللاعبين الإقليميين مرونة القدرة الأكبر على إفساد عملية السلام أو المساهمة فيها، تغير التحالفات الإقتصادية ومدى تأثيرها في الأحداث، والإنحدار العربي، إذ يسيطر لاعبون من غير العرب على الدول العربية بشكل فردي أو جماعي، من خلال عدم انخراط إسرائيل في مبادرة السلام العربية والاستثمارات الآسيوية وعبر نصرة تركيا للقضية الفلسطينية. والسؤال الذي يطرحه المركز البريطاني هو “ما إذا كانت التطورات الأخيرة ترقى إلى مستوى التحول الدائم في سياسات الشرق الأوسط، أو أن التركيز الحالي على مسائل ثانوية ليس سوى رد فعل على الجمود في خضم الصراعات الإقليمية. لا يزال لدى الولايات المتحدة والإتحاد الأوروبي القدرة على التأثير في التطورات، عبر إعادة توجيه مصادرهما الدبلوماسية والمالية نحو غايات أكثر توجهاً وجدوى. قد يعتمد تغيير حقيقي في الشرق الأوسط اليوم، على إرساء سياسات أميركية وأوروبية تأخذ في الإعتبار ثمن إستمرار المسار الحالي”.

وفي إطار رصد التحولات في الشرق الأوسط، أصدر معهد بروكينغز استطلاعاً للرأي العام العربي، خلص إلى وجود تحول ملحوظ في النظرة إلى الولايات المتحدة والرئيس أوباما، وأكثرية مستجدة ترى أن إيران مسلحة نووياً أفضل للشرق الأوسط. وقد هبط التفاؤل العربي حيال الإدارة الأميركية إلى 16 في المئة بعدما فاق 50 في المئة عام 2009، وأبدى 63 في المئة من المستطلعين في لبنان ومصر والسعودية والإمارات والمغرب والأردن إحباطهم من السياسة الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط. وعبر 62 في المئة منهم عن نظرة سلبية إلى الرئيس الأميركي، مقارنة مع 23 في المئة العام الماضي.

ومن أكثر القضايا المخيبة لآمال المستطلعين العرب في السياسة الأميركية، النزاع الفلسطيني- الإسرائيلي بالنسبة لـ 61 في المئة منهم، ثم العراق بالنسبة لـ 27 في المئة. وقال 54 في المئة إن اتفاق سلام بين الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين سيحسن صورة الولايات المتحدة لديهم، فيما ذكر 45 في المئة الانسحاب الأميركي من العراق، و43 في المئة وقف المساعدات الأميركية لإسرائيل، و35 في المئة الانسحاب الأميركي من الخليج. ورأى 49 في المئة أن ما يحرك السياسة الأميركية هو حماية إسرائيل، و45 في المئة قالوا إنها السيطرة على النفط، و33 في المئة لإضعاف العالم الإسلامي والحفاظ على الهيمنة الإقليمية والعالمية. ورأى 44 في المئة أن إسرائيل أضعف مما تبدو عليه. كما أبدى 56 في المئة استعدادهم للسلام إذا ما قبلت إسرائيل بإعادة كل أراضي عام 1967 بما فيها القدس الشرقية. وأعرب 47 في المئة عن اعتقادهم أن إسرائيل تقرر مصالحها الخاصة وتؤثر على الولايات المتحدة.

وكان التحول المفاجئ في تقبل امتلاك إيران سلاحا نوويا، إذ أيد ذلك 57 في المئة من المستطلعين العرب، بعدما كانت النسبة 29 في المئة العام الماضي. وأعرب 57 في المئة عن اعتقادهم أن غاية إيران من تخصيب اليورانيوم هي امتلاك أسلحة نووية، بينما رأى 35 في المئة أنها لغايات سلمية. وأيد 77 في المئة حق إيران في امتلاك سلاح نووي، مقابل 20 في المئة اعتبروا انه يجب الضغط عليها لوقف برنامجها. كما اعتبر 88 في المئة أن إسرائيل تشكل أكبر تهديد لهم، تليها الولايات المتحدة 77 في المئة، و10 في المئة لكل من الجزائر* وإيران.

*(نعتقد أن وجود هذه النسبة للجزائر المعادلة لإيران قد يكون مصدرها المشاركون في الإستطلاع من مصر والمغرب، على خلفية قضيتي كرة القدم والصحراء الغربية).

×××

إيران

ينظر مجلس الشؤون الخارجية في اللجوء إلى العقوبات لمنع إيران من تطوير أسلحة نووية. ويقول إن “المحللين يؤكدون أن العقوبات وحدها قد لا تكون كافية لإرغام إيران على التفاوض. لأنه فيما تنسحب شركات أوروبية من إيران عقب قرار الإتحاد الأوروبي الأخير، تسعى شركات صينية وروسية إلى ملىء الفراغ، وبالتالي تعويض أي أضرار ناجمة عن العقوبات. (الولايات المتحدة حذرت الصين من استغلال الإنسحاب الأوروبي). قد لا تجدي أيضاً استراتيجية دولية تعتمد على المعارضة الشعبية الإيرانية لدفع طهران إلى التجاوب مع المطالب الدولية. ففي حين تظهر استطلاعات رأي حديثة عدم رضى كبير على حكومة الرئيس أحمدي نجاد، إنتقدت شخصيات معارضة الجهود الرامية إلى فرض عقوبات دولية، نظراً لضررها على الإيرانيين عموماً”.

وفي سياق متصل، يرى مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والتحليل في أنقرة، أنه من المبكرالحديث عن ضربة إسرائيلية ضد إيران وفق المفهوم الاستراتيجي، “فكلما كانت الضربة مبكرة كلما كانت إعادة البناء (لبرنامجها النووي) أسهل على إيران”. ويشير المركز إلى أن الاستراتيجية الاسرائيلية ارتكزت كلها على كسب أكبر دعم ممكن من الغرب ضد برنامج إيران النووي. ومن الواضح أن أضراراً تلحق بالنظام الإيراني. عادة الشعب لا يفهم أسباب فرض عقوبات دولية. كما أن هدف العقوبات هو إثارة انقسامات بين قيادات النظام، وبين النظام والشعب، وتهدف أيضاً إلى عزل النظام ليخسر حلفاءه وشركاءه التجاريين، وهو ما يحصل إلى حد ما من خلال علاقات واشنطن مع الصين وتركيا والبرازيل. وفي تبرير ثالث لاستبعاد ضربة إسرائيلية ضد إيران، يقول المركز التركي إنه “لا يوجد سبب قاهر لأن تشن إسرائيل ضربة عسكرية ولديها مشكلات أخرى للإهتمام بها…. حتى لو أرادت إسرائيل الهجوم الآن، فإن عملا كهذا لن يلقى دعماً وتعاوناً أميركياً. أخيراً، تعتبر أصوات في المؤسسة السياسية والعسكرية والإستخبارية الإسرائيلية، أنه لا ينبغي أن تشن إسرائيل هجوماً استباقياً على إيران”.

وتجدر الإشارة إلى أن مسؤولين سابقين في أجهزة الإستخبارات الأميركية، حذروا إدارة أوباما في رسالة مفتوحة، من مغبة التغاضي عن النوايا الإسرائيلية بشن هجوم على إيران، وطالبوا بأن تحول الإدارة دون إقدامهم على هذه الخطوة.

في المقابل، يشير مركز سابان التابع لمعهد بروكينغز، إلى جملة توترات يمكن أن تتطور مع الوقت: الغموض حول استمرار روسيا على موقفها إلى جانب الغرب ضد إيران، خطوات غربية قد تدفع الصين إلى معارضة الضغوط على إيران، العقوبات الأحادية التي قد تؤدي إلى تراجع دعم دول كالبرازيل والصين وتركيا للعقوبات الدولية، وتداعيات استمرار الضغط على إيران على خلفية انتهاكها حقوق الإنسان. ويؤكد المركز وفق محضر جلسة نقاشية بالتعاون مع القيادة المركزية الأميركية، أن تغيير سلوك إيران في هذا الإطار سيستغرق وقتاً ويستوجب ضغوطاً إضافية، وأن العوامل المذكورة أعلاه ستزيد من صعوبة توفير ذلك.

في غضون ذلك، أفادت وكالة “فارس” الإيرانية أن طهران تسلمت 4 منظومات صواريخ مضادة للجو من طراز “أس- 300” من بيلاروسيا وبلد آخر لم تفصح عنه، بعدما كانت روسيا قالت إن تسليمها غير ممكن بعد إصدار مجلس الأمن عقوبات جديدة على إيران في حزيران/يونيو الماضي. لكن بيلاروسيا وشركة “روس أبورون إيكسبورت” للصواريخ المضادة للجو، نفيا ذلك، وأكدتا التزامها بالاتفاقيات الدولية للحد من انتشار الأسلحة وقرارات مجلس الأمن.

من جهة أخرى، يتحدث معهد أميركان إنتربرايز، عن نفوذ إيران في غرب أفريقيا. ويلفت إلى أن إيران حققت مكاسب كبيرة من استثماراتها هناك، وحاولت أخيراً تخفيف آثار العقوبات عليها بزيادة استثماراتها في أسواق غرب أفريقيا، وزادت صادراتها بشكل دراماتيكي إلى ساحل العاج والنيجر والسنغال. ويضيف أنها أثارت حالة من العداء لإسرائيل في موريتانيا، ويحذر من أن علاقاتها مع هذه الدول، تقدم بعض الحماية لأنشطة حزب الله في المنطقة التي تشكل بالنسبة له مورداً مالياً وشبكة لوجستية ومواصلاتية يمكن استخدامها كملاذ للأشخاص والأموال والأسلحة والبضائع. وبالتالي هي تزيد قدرة الحزب على إضعاف إسرائيل عسكرياً. وفي تصويت حول وضع حقوق الإنسان في إيران في تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر 2009، صوتت جميع دول غرب أفريقيا لصالح إيران، باستثناء ليبيريا وتوغو. ويرى التقرير أن بإمكان الولايات المتحدة مواجهة التوسع الإيراني في تلك المنطقة، عبر وضع سياسة في هذا الإتجاه وتوسيع نفوذها الإقتصادي هناك، وتقديم الدعم والحوافز الإقتصادية لاستثمارات القطاع الخاص في تلك الدول التي تعاني نقصاً حاداً في الاستثمارات. إضافة إلى تقديم الدعم العسكري والتدريب. ويخلص إلى أنه يجب على الولايات المتحدة تحدي القوة الناعمة لإيران في دول غرب أفريقيا، كجزء من استراتيجية شاملة لمواجهة إيران وبرنامجها النووي.

وفي شأن داخلي إيراني، يسلط مركز الدراسات الإستراتيجية والتحليل التركي، الضوء على الخلافات داخل المؤسسة الإيرانية. ويشير إلى: “نمو الحركة المحافظة المناهضة للحكومة، الخلاف على جامعة آزاد الإسلامية، النزاعات على الموازنة، الانتقادات حول الفساد، تهويل كبار رجال الدين، والضغط على المرشد الأعلى… تظهر حركة جديدة في إيران، تريد القول إنها أكثر ثورية من المرشد الأعلى. هذه الحركة تريد تحريض مؤيدي حزب الله في المجتمع ضد المرشد الأعلى، وأن تسبب مشكلات. هي لا تريد أن ترى البلاد في سلام وطمأنينة. حتى أنها تريد أن تبعد المحيطين بالمرشد الأعلى وأن تبقى هي الأقرب. وحين يحدث ذلك، تريد القول إنها الحركة الوحيدة الباقية، لذا يجب تسليم كل السلطة إليها لفوزها بخمسة وعشرين مليون صوت. هناك احتمالان لما يحصل: 1- أن المتشددين يرون الرئيس ناعماً في سياساته الإجتماعية، 2- أن المتشددين ينتزعون السلطة لأنفسهم. والسبب الرئيسي لذلك، إلى جانب التوترات المذكورة، هو عدم تأكيد شرعية الرئيس منذ (انتخابات) 2009. يجب على أحمدي نجاد الرحيل عاجلاً ام آجلاً إذا لم يعد يشكل حماية مناسبة للمرشد الأعلى وللنظام الحالي. لكن المفارقة تكمن في أن الشخص الذي سيختار البديل المحتمل هو آية الله خامنئي، ولا يمكن تقديم ضمانات بأنه سيكون أفضل تجاه المرشد الأعلى”.

×××

العراق

تنظر مؤسسة كارنيغي للسلام الدولي، في تداعيات الإنسحاب المرتقب للقوات الأميركية من العراق على استقرار البلاد، والنفوذ الأميركي في المنطقة، وإذا ما كان العراق في وضع أفضل مما كان عليه قبل الغزو عام 2003. رغم التقدم الملموس لقوات الأمن العراقية، إلا أن الوسائل العسكرية لن تكون كافية لتوفير الأمن محلياً. “إن الأمر الأهم للمضي قدماً هو ضمان التوصل إلى اتفاقيات سياسية. ذلك سيمنع حدوث نزاع ويلغي الحاجة إلى اللجوء إلى الجيش العراقي لتأمين السلام”.

بدوره، يرى مجلس العلاقات الخارجية أن “مستقبل العراق يبقى هشاً، نظراً إلى مستوى الغموض المحيط به. ثمة قلق من أن يملأ الفراغ بعد الإنسحاب الأميركي مقاتلون مدربون في إيران، ويقر جوزيف بايدن نائب الرئيس (الأميركي) بعدم وجود ضمانات أن العراق سيزدهر بعد انتهاء الوجود العسكري الأميركي. لكن، وكما يوضح خطاب الرئيس أوباما، إن مشكلات العراق لم تعد على رأس أولويات البنتاغون”.

ويعتبر المجلس في تقرير آخر، أن “الوضع في العراق قد يزداد سوءاً، لكن لا يمكن ولا يجب على القوات الأميركية القيام بأي شيء لمنع ذلك. إن تأجيل الإنسحاب عاماً إضافياً يعني أن حرب العراق ستصبح أطول من حرب فييتنام… قد يكون ذلك التوقيت أفضل للعراق، لكن بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة، لقد آن أوان الانسحاب. بقاء 50 ألف جندي و1300 مدني ودبلوماسي سيساعد العراقيين على التركيز على إجراء إصلاحات دستورية وتوفير الخدمات (الكهرباء والمياه) اللازمة للتنمية. لكن على الولايات المتحدة الإنسحاب بمسؤولية وحماية قوات الصحوة. إن مصداقية أميركا كشريك استراتيجي في الخليج تعتمد بشكل كبير على كيفية معاملة حلفائها العرب، بمن فيهم جماعات الصحوة”.

ويقول مجلس العلاقات الخارجية، إن سرعة سحب القوات الأميركية من العراق، بإبقاء 50 ألف جندي أميركي من أصل 160 ألفاً عام 2008، ستفوق سرعة سحب القوات من البوسنة أو كوسوفو. حيث لم يؤد سحب أكثر من نصف تلك القوات في أربع سنوات، وبين 80 و 95 في المئة على مدى 10 إلى 15 عاماً، إلى أعمال عنف تذكر. فمقاربة البلقان لسحب قوات حفظ السلام قد تكون نموذجاً مناسباً للعراق: انسحاب طويل المدى وبطيء وتدريجي، ثم قصير وسريع ومفاجىء. إن المجازفة الحقيقية تكمن في الإتفاقية الأمنية بين بغداد وواشنطن، التي تنص على انسحاب كامل للقوات الأميركية، القتالية والداعمة، بحلول نهاية 2011. وهو ما يساوي سحب جميع قوات حفظ السلام من البوسنة عام 1998 أو من كوسوفو عام 2002، وكان ذلك رسالة جدية إلى المتقاتلين في البلقان لعدم تفجير الوضع مجدداً لأنهم سيكونون وحدهم. رسالة مماثلة إلى العراقيين في 2011 ستكون جدية أيضاً. طبعاً هناك فوارق عدة بين هذه النزاعات، لكن انطلاقاً مما جرى في البلقان، يمكن القول إن التروي بسحب القوات الأميركية من العراق قد يكون أفضل.

في الشأن نفسه، يشير موقع “إيه أو أل نيوز”، إلى أن الرئيس أوباما، أكد البدء بإنهاء التدخل العسكري الأميركي في العراق، لكن يبدو من غير المرجح أن يؤدي إنهاء العمليات القتالية رسمياً هذا الشهر وبدء عملية الفجر الجديد، إلى وضع حد للنقاش حول الجبهة الثانية التي أثارت الجدل بعد أفغانستان، عقب هجمات 11 أيلول/ سبتمبر. ويقول مراقبون إن ما تم تحقيقه، باستثناء إزالة نظام صدام حسين، لا يزال غير واضح، رغم الصورة المشرقة التي يرسمها المسؤولون الأميركيون. ثمة مخاوف من أن تملأ أعمال العنف الفراغ الذي سيخلفه رحيل القوات الأميركية، في ظل عدم تشكيل حكومة عراقية رغم مضي 5 أشهر على الانتخابات.

وتتطرق مؤسسة راند إلى الشأن العراقي أيضاً، متسائلة عما سيحمله المستقبل لمحافظة الأنبار. فرحيل القوات الأميركية- بما فيها المارينز- من الأنبار، سيترك فراغاً في مجال حفظ الأمن وممارسة السلطة في أنحاء العراق. وتضع راند خمسة سيناريوهات محتملة: 1- قتال سني من أجل البقاء، وهو السيناريو الأسوأ، بحيث يحرض تجدد أعمال العنف السنة ضد الحكومة المركزية التي يسيطر عليها الشيعة في بغداد، 2- كل قبيلة تعمل لنفسها، ويتضمن ذلك زيادة الانقسامات داخل الأنبار مع تلاشي التوافق بين القبائل والمذاهب والعائلات، 3- القبضة الحديدية، أي أن تبسط الحكومة نفوذها من بغداد، 4- حكومة مركزية ضعيفة في بغداد، بحيث تشجع قادة المحافظات على تولي مسؤوليات محلية أكبر، ما يؤدي إلى تحسين الأمن والخدمات، 5- مسار الاستقرار، وفي هذا السيناريو الأفضل من سواه، تشارك حكومة محافظة الأنبار السلطة مع الحكومة المركزية، إلى جانب العمل على المصالحة وإعادة البناء.

وفي سياق متصل، يشير معهد دراسة الحرب، إلى أن اندماج “أبناء العراق” في القوات الأمنية العراقية والخدمة المدنية، تقدم بشكل ثابت، مع تلقي العديد من المتطوعين تدريبات احترافية وحصولهم على وظائف حكومية. وتبقى الحكومة ملتزمة بالعملية بشكل كبير، كما يلاحظ من تخصيصها 300 مليون دولار أخيراً لأبناء العراق”. لكن عدم الثقة بين هؤلاء والحكومة العراقية، والشكاوى من تأخر سداد المستحقات، وعدم دفع المرتبات، واعتقال أعضاء الجماعة، كلها عوامل تعيق عملية الاندماج. إضافة إلى ذلك، يعتبر أبناء العراق هدفاً رئيسياً لتنظيم القاعدة وغيره من الجماعات المتطرفة في العراق، ما يجعلهم يشعرون بالتهديد المستمر، وبالتالي هم غير محميين بشكل كاف. “إن سخط ومرارة السنة في العراق، يشكل خطراً على استقرار البلد مستقبلاً. الولايات المتحدة ستستفيد من مراقبة العملية الإنتقالية عن كثب، وكذلك من المساعدة في إيجاد وظائف بديلة لأبناء العراق في الحكومة العراقية أو القطاع الخاص”.

×××

أفغانستان، باكستان والإرهاب

يعتبر مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والتحليل في أنقرة، أن الحوار مع طالبان وحده يمكن أن يضع حداً للحرب. ويرى أن المعركة ضد طالبان تصبح أكثر دموية وأقل احتمالاً للفوز. ويخشى كثير من الأفغان أن “يؤدي انسحاب سريع إلى انهيار حكومة كابول، وانفلات الخصومات بين دول جوار أفغانستان، واحتمال تجدد النزاع الإثني في البلاد أو اندلاع حرب أهلية شاملة. وتخشى دول الجوار عنف الطالبانيين الجدد في باكستان وجمهوريات آسيا الوسطى. إن مفتاح الانسحاب بكرامة يكمن في سرعة جهوزية الولايات المتحدة للانخراط في حوار مع طالبان- وهو أمر يضغط باتجاهه كل من كرزاي وباكستان. ويقول كرزاي إن التسوية التفاوضية وتقاسم السلطة وحدهما يمكنهما إنهاء الحرب والسماح بمغادرة القوات الأجنبية بدون فوضى وجلب السلام إلى المنطقة… الأميركيون ليسوا جاهزين بعد للحوار، على خلاف البريطانيين. نحن الآن في حاجة ماسة إلى استراتيجية سياسية تكون لها الأسبقية على الاستراتيجية العسكرية. فاستراتيجية عسكرية ذات عمق مسؤول في الحوار السياسي مع العدو، ستكون أكثر قابلية لكسب تأييد الأفغان ودول الجوار والمجتمع الدولي. وستسمح للقوات الأجنبية بالبقاء أكثر في حال الضرورة. والبديل هو فوضى أكثر انتشاراً واستفحالاً في المنطقة”.

ويتحدث مجلس السياسة الخارجية الأميركية عن الوضع في باكستان والحرب في أفغانستان والإرهاب. ويخلص إلى أن “القادة المدنيين والعسكريين في باكستان وقعوا في فخ أرقام الإقتراع والتعليقات العامة. لقد اعترف رئيس أركان الجيش الجنرال أشرف كياني بذلك في شباط/ فبراير الماضي، حين قال إن ‘الرأي العام، الدعم الإعلامي، وقدرة الجيش وعزمه أساسيون لحربنا’. وكون الجيش المؤسسة الأكثر شعبية في باكستان، يستغرب أن تثار مخاوف حول صورته، متقدمة على هواجس الأمن القومي، تحديداً حين يحتاج حشد الدعم الشعبي إلى ما هو أكثر بقليل من مجرد كشف طبيعة العدو. إن تردد باكستان في القيام بهذا الجهد، في محاولة خاطئة للاستعانة بالجماعات المتطرفة كورقة في السياسة الخارجية، كان الفشل الأكبر في مكافحة الإرهاب لتاريخه”.

في إطار متصل، يسلط مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والدولية الضوء على سياسة الهند تجاه أفغانستان. ويلفت إلى أنه ينبغي على الهند إعادة تقويم حساباتها الاستراتيجية هناك، في ضوء مواصلة الرئيس الأفغاني حميد كرزاي جهود المصالحة مع المتمردين، ومحاولات باكستان أن تقلب الكفة لصالحها. ويرى أن المؤشرات القصيرة المدى تشير إلى نفوذ باكستاني متزايد في أفغانستان. في حين تحاول الهند أن تعيد النظر في كيفية حماية حصتها الاستراتيجية في منع انتشار التطرف الإسلامي وتحسين الروابط الإقتصادية والسياسية مع أفغانستان وآسيا الوسطى. ويضيف المركز أن الهند “ستتطلع إلى وضع أهداف مشتركة في أفغانستان مع قوى خارجية، مثل روسيا وإيران. إن الإشكالية بين الهند والولايات المتحدة، هي اعتقاد الأخيرة أن باكستان تريد منع التوصل إلى نتائج مقبولة في حال عدم تلبية مصالحها الاستراتيجية. والسؤال هو، في ظل هذه الظروف، إلى أي حد ستكون باكستان مستعدة لاحترام الأهداف الاستراتيجية الأميركية أثناء حمايتها أهدافها الخاصة. الجواب دقيق بالنسبة لكل من واشنطن ودلهي”.

ويعتبر تقرير وزارة الخارجية الأميركية السنوي للعام 2009 عن الإرهاب في العالم، أن تنظيم القاعدة في باكستان يشكل التهديد الأكبر لأمن الولايات المتحدة في الداخل، وهو “الأكثر قدرة على التكيف والنهوض ورغبة في مهاجمة الولايات المتحدة ومصالحها في الخارج”. ويبقي التقرير إيران وسوريا والسودان وكوبا على لائحة الدول الراعية للإرهاب. ويفيد أن إيران “كانت ولاتزال في مقدمة الدول الراعية للارهاب، عبر دعمها حزب الله وحماس وجماعات الرفض الفلسطينية التي تعد وكيلاً لمصالحها في الشرق الأوسط”. ويضيف أن “الدعم المالي والتسليحي واللوجستي الذي تقدمه إيران للارهاب والجماعات المسلحة في الشرق الأوسط وآسيا الوسطى، يؤثر بشكل مباشر على الجهود الدولية لنشر السلام، ويهدد الاستقرار الاقتصادي في الخليج ويعرض جهود السلام في لبنان إلى الخطر ويقوض تنامي الديموقراطية”. ويشير إلى أن “سوريا تقدم أيضا الدعم المادي والسياسي لحزب الله وتسمح لإيران بإعادة تسليحه، وتوفر ملاذا آمنا ودعما سياسيا وماديا لعدد من المنظمات الفلسطينية الإرهابية ومنها حماس والجهاد والجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين- القيادة العامة”.

ويبقي التقرير حزب الله على لائحة “التنظيمات الإرهابية”، لكنه يصفه على أنه “كيان شرعي وحزب سياسي كبير، لا يزال ممثلاً في الحكومة والبرلمان في لبنان”. ويعتبر أن عام 2009 في لبنان، “تميّز بتكثيف الجهود الحكومية لتفكيك الخلايا الإرهابية قبل بدء نشاطها، حيث سجّل للقوات المسلحة اللبنانية، بشكل خاص، تمكنها من إلقاء القبض على إرهابيين فارين واحتواء العنف الطائفي”.

من جهة أخرى، يحذر التقرير من أن أوروبا تظل أرضا خصبة لتجنيد المتطرفين إذا ظلت جماعات المهاجرين تواجه مشكلات في الاندماج في المجتــمع الأوروبــي وتشعر بالعزلة بسبب السياسات الحكومية والخارجية والداخلية.

×××

تسريب “ويكيليكس”

يتحدث معهد بروكينغز عن تسريب موقع “ويكيليكس” الأخير أوراقاً سرية حول أفغانستان. ويلحظ أن “التبادل الإستخباري حساس حتماً، لكن إذا كانت هناك شكوك حول من يمكن أن يحفظ الأسرار، سيكون هناك ضغط لتضييق دائرة جامعي المعلومات. لقد أدى تعذيب المعتقلين والمعتقلات السرية وسلسلة الاعتداءات على الحريات المدنية عقب أحداث 11 أيلول/ سبتمبر، إلى ردة فعل شعبية متوقعة. الشعب الآن لا يثق بإدارة حكوماته ‘الحرب على الإرهاب’، ويريد تسليط الضوء على الجانب الاستخباري الذي يعتقد أنه خارج عن السيطرة. يمكن فهم ذلك في ضوء الانتهاكات الحاصلة، لكن ليس للأفراد أن يقرروا بأنفسهم أنهم يجب أن يكشفوا معلومات سرية”. ويطالب البنتاغون بحجب وإزالة المعلومات السرية وتسليم معظم الوثائق من المشرفين على الموقع.

بدوره، يقول مجلس العلاقات الخارجية إنه “في الولايات المتحدة، ستثير الإدعاءات المتعلقة بالتسريب ‘علامات استفهام جديدة لدى الرأي العام والإعلام الكونغرس الأميركي، حول مصداقية الشريك الباكستاني’”، وفق كبير الباحثين في المجلس بروس ريديل. لكن إدارة أوباما تفهم أن “هذه العلاقة حيوية حتماً ليس فقط لاستقرار أفغانستان وباكستان، إنما لاستقرار آسيا الجنوبية والوسطى بأسرها”.

وفي السياق نفسه، يلفت موقع سيكريسي نيوز، إلى السعي الجريء لإدراة أوباما حيال تسريب معلومات سرية، وتقدمه على جبهتين: بدء المترجم السابق في مكتب التحقيقات الفدرالية شاماي ليبوفيتز، بقضاء فترة حكم من عشرين شهراً في المؤسسة الإصلاحية الفدرالية في فرجينيا بعد اعترافه بتسريب معلومات؛ وتحديد 21 آذار/ مارس المقبل موعداً لبدء محاكمة المسؤول السابق في وكالة الأمن القومي، توماس درايك، الذي لم يعترف بالتهم الموجهة إليه، على أنه من سرب معلومات سرية إلى الصحافي.

×××

تركيا

في عدد حديث من مجلة نيوزويك، يتحدث محللون في معهد واشنطن لسياسات الشرق الأدنى حول الوضع في تركيا. ويقولون إن “الأتراك الليبراليين لا يزالوا يرفضون الاعتراف بفشلهم السياسي. يمكن للمرء أن يسمعهم يقولون- بسخافة- إن الأوروبيين والأميركيين وضعوا حزب العدالة والتنمية في السلطة. إن على الأتراك من غير الإسلاميين، العودة إلى الساحة السياسية لكسب المعركة في انتخابات 2011. في غضون ذلك، يجب على الغرب دعم الديموقراطية، عبر ضمان انتخابات حرة ونزيهة والحفاظ على مستوى اللعبة السياسية. إما أن يتحد الليبراليون الآن، أو أن تعود الساعة إلى عام 1948”.

×××

الإسلام في أميركا

يشير مركز السياسة الأمنية إلى “تحول في حرب الأفكار. رئيس مجلس النواب السابق نوت غينغريتش، حمل بقوة وبشكل مباشر على الشريعة، النظام التوتاليتاري الديني- السياسي- العسكري للإسلام التسلطي، الذي يسعى أتباعه إلى تطبيقه في العالم. وردّت عليه النخبة ذات الحساسية الثقافية، التي تعذر الإسلاميين بمن فيهم أنصار الجهاد وتحديداً الأخوان المسلمون حين يتهمون غينغريتش بـ ‘تقريع الملسمين’. في الحقيقة، ليس تقريعاُ لكل المسلمين، أن تعتبر عقيدة شاملة يعتنقها بعضهم، بأنها تشكل تهديداً لحرياتنا وحكومتنا وطريقة عيشنا. وقد اعتبر غينغريتش أن بناء مسجد كلفته 100 مليون دولار قرب المقر السابق لمركز التجارة العالمية الذي استهدف في هجمات 11 أيلول/ سبتمبر، ‘سيصبح بالنسبة للاسلاميين المتشددين رمزاً للنصر ويشجع تحديهم لحضارتنا’… ولسوء الحظ، إن المشكلة ليست في موقع المسجد، إنما في أشخاص كالإمام المصري فيصل عبد الرؤوف الذي يسعى إلى تطبيق أجندة الأخوان ‘لتدمير الحضارة الغربية من الداخل’. من قلة المسؤولية ألا تتخذ إجراءات حيال، أولا عبر وقف بناء المسجد، ثم عبر ضمان بقاء الأميركيين بلا حكم الشريعة”.

×××

تحليل سياسي عن الداخل الأميركي

الرعاية الصحية والإنتخابات

يمكن ملاحظة عدم شعبية أوباما في ولاية ميزوري، حيث صوت 71 في المئة لإلغاء جزء من برنامجه للرعاية الصحية، مقابل رفض 29 في المئة.

خرج أقل من مليون ناخب، من أصل أكثر من 4 ملايين ناخب مسجلين في الولاية، للتصويت في يوم بلغت فيه درجات الحرارة 100 درجة على مقياس فهرنهايت. وأيد “الإقتراح سي” 667 ألفاً و680 ناخب، مقابل رفض 271 ألفاً ومئة وناخب، وفق نتائج غير رسمية.

كان ذلك أول تصويت على مستوى ولاية، حول خطة الحكومة الفدرالية للعام 2010 لإصلاح برنامج الرعاية الصحية، علماً أن مبادرات مماثلة للتصويت مقررة في ولايات أخرى في أنحاء البلاد.

يفوق مناهضو الخطة مؤيديها بـ 4 مقابل واحد. وقد أنفقت جمعية مستشفيات ميزوري، التي تمثل أكثر من 150 مستشفى في أنحاء الولاية، أكثر من 400 ألف دولار أميركي لإرسال بريد إلى المنازل في كافة أنحاء الولاية. أوضحت فيه كيفية تأثير الخطة على المستشفيات، مدعية أن العاملين في قطاع الرعاية الصحية سيتقاضون أموالاً أقل من السابق من الحكومة الفدرالية.

يحاول الحزب الجمهوري في ميزوري، اعتبار “الإقتراح سي” قضية أساسية في الانتخابات النصفية المقبلة في تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر المقبل. فبعد الإشادة بنتيجة الإقتراع، لفت الحزب الجمهوري إلى أن روبين كارناهان، المرشح الديموقراطي إلى مجلس الشيوخ عن مقعد السيناتور كيت بوند، عارض هذا الإقتراح. “سيطرة الحكومة الفدرالية على نظام الرعاية الصحية ستكون قضية حاسمة في الحملة الانتخابية لمجلس الشيوخ الأميركي”، قال ديفيد كول رئيس الحزب الجمهوري في ميزوري، متابعاً أن عدداً كبيراً من سكان الولاية، بمن فيهم أعضاء في الحزب الديموقراطي في الجمعية العمومية في ميزوري، أيدوا الإقتراع.

سيواجه كارناهان المرشح الجمهوري النائب روي بلانت، في انتخابات تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر. حالياً، هو غير متقدم في الإستطلاعات. ويتوقع أن ينطبق ذلك أيضاً على مقاطعات ميزوري التسع، حيث يتنافس الديموقراطيون والجمهوريون.

الأميركيون المتعاملون مع القاعدة

رفع الاتحاد الأميركي للحريات المدنية ومركز الحقوق الدستورية، دعوى ضد وزارة الخزانة، التي قالت إنهما بحاجة إلى ترخيص للدفاع عن أنور العوكلي، الذي اعتبر إرهابياً لتأييده تنظيم القاعدة. وبعد رفع الدعوى، قالت وزارة الخزانة إنها ستمنحهما ترخيصاً. في غضون ذلك، قدم النائب دينيس كوسينيتش وعدد من النواب، اقتراحاً الأسبوع الماضي “لمنع إعدام المواطنين الأميركيين خارج نطاق القضاء”. حيث تنص المادة الرابعة عشرة من الدستور الأميركي على أنه “لا يمكن حرمان أي مواطن أميركي، بغض النظر عن الموقع، من الحياة، الحرية، الملكية، دون اتباع الإجراءات القانونية الواجبة”. فيما قال روبرت غيبس المتحدث باسم البيت الأبيض، إن استهداف العوكلي لم يتم دون إجراءات قانونية. وأضاف: “هناك عملية لا يمكنني التحدث عنها”.

×××

ملف مراكز الأبحاث:

المجلس الأطلسي

المجلس الأطلسي هو مؤسسة أبحاث ومجموعة سياسة عامة، مقرها واشنطن دي.سي.، ومهمتها “تعزيز قيادة أميركية بنّاءة وانخراط في الشؤون الدولية، بالإستناد إلى الدور المحوري للأطل

August 6th, 2010, 10:53 am

 

Shami said:

Elie,and how the iranian and israelis would impose the modus vivendi between them on the people of the region who are mostly not khomanistic nor zionists ?

August 6th, 2010, 12:22 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Shami,

It is impossible to predict accurately the course of future developments step by step.

Generally, as I said in 47, the occupation of Iraq has set in motion, events that make it difficult to predict how lifting the lid on Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic tensions could lead to anything but to Iranian domination over southern Iraq, to Shiite emboldenment everywhere, and to endless long-Term Shiite/Sunni conflicts until such time as the Sunni leaders in the region would either accept Iran’s hegemony or succeed in stopping the march of Shiism.

Please note that, on the long-term, should the Sunni Arab leaders fail to stop the march of Shiism, then they’ll have to contend with Iran’s hegemony over, for example, oil politics, security alliances, economic issues, granting the Shiites in Arab countries their equal rights as citizens etc. In the interim, there will be a great deal of confrontations if Sunni rulers refuse to grant their Shiite citizens equal rights, especially after U.S. forces leave Iraq. The Shiite minorities in Arab countries will open the door to Tehran’s interference in these countries’ affairs, not so much out of Iranian mullah’s love of their Arab Shiite brethren but to attain Iran’s regional strategic objectives.

Elie

August 6th, 2010, 1:30 pm

 

Shami said:

Elie,but Iran itself is a country of minorities more a very big Lebanon than a big Syria and do you believe that the theocratic regime is loved by the Iranian people themselves ?I think that you are mixing the regimes with the people ,the people are eternal fact ,the political regimes are temporal and changing.
Do you believe that the shia minorities will antagonize us for the sake of the khomainistic regime ?
The puppets of the the iranian faqih will make the shias considered as traitors if their aim is to preserve the iranian regime interests above ours.
Now ,they are using the slogans that sound well in the ears of the arab and islamic masses precisely for the reason that without these slogans hezbollah would lack any kind of legitimization.This is also the case of the alawite regime that is recycling the propaganda that sound well in the ears of the arab masses.

August 6th, 2010, 2:15 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Shami,

You said: “Iran itself is a country of minorities”

That is true. Nonetheless, the theocratic revolution is 31 years old and observers’ opinion is that the regime is solid.

You said: “Do you believe that the theocratic regime is loved by the Iranian people themselves?”

Judging by the scenes of opposition to the last presidential election the answer is no. Further, it is fair to say that a proportion of the opposition was not only against president Ahmadinejad but also against the theocratic regime itself. But, as was said in the previous answer experts’ opinion is that the regime is not under serious threat today.

You said: Do you believe that the shia minorities will antagonize us for the sake of the khomainistic regime?”

The answer is yes, I do, as long as the third class treatment of Arab Shiites continues. As long as Shiites in Arab lands are suppressed, oppressed, maltreated, and marginalized with no hope of improvement they’ll respond to the call of a charismatic Shiite leader to rise against their oppressors. Shiite history is full of tragedy and rebellion against injustice. Such a leader will accept help from any source, including Iran; indeed, especially Iran.

It is the injustice, the cruelty, the exploitation, the humiliation that Arab Sunnis inflict upon their Shiite brethren that lies behind President Mubarak serious charge that the Shiites in Arab states were more loyal to Iran than to their own countries. If only the Egyptian president explained why!

Elie

August 6th, 2010, 4:07 pm

 

Shami said:

Elie ,but here we are far from an Iranian hegemony.
An Iranian hegemony is not possible in my opinion even over the Shias of Iraq.During the Iranian Iraqi war for example ,the shias of Iraq did not betray their country.
As for the Shias from the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf ,they enjoy a better quality of life than the Shias in Iran .I dont think that there are many countries in the world that are more oppressive than the regime of the Ayatollahs.The so called shia struggle against tyranny is an hypocrisy and the shia regime in Iran is not less oppressive than the Arab regimes.In Kuwait ,Emirates and Bahrain they enjoy a respectable level of freedom.
According to your logic ,the arab christians ,who are as numerous than the arab shias ,must also antagonize their environment.

August 6th, 2010, 5:56 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

What might Mr. Bush have done differently? It is difficult to speculate. One thing is for certain, however, and that is the Iraq report card is bleak.

Elie,

Thanks for answering my questions. As they say, hindsight is 20/20!

I was hoping for some answers from someone who may be interested in fixing “the mess”. Although most of the posters here prefer to glorify “the mess”, I think you would be the best person to offer an alternative.

I don’t think the Iranian regime and the Israeli government will be able to “live and let live”. You seem to have a lot of quotes from years gone by (e.g. Khalizad, etc), and so if we quote from the Iranian regime, the word “WAR” comes to my mind in stark hues.

Regards,

AP

August 6th, 2010, 6:02 pm

 

Averroes said:

Elie,

What an entangled mess of forces and influences the Middle East is, eh? Dogma is so abundant and reason so scarce. Why this region has to continue to boil with bloddy conflicts is bewildering. The amount and complication of conflicts in this region is incredible. Even within the same family, it is very common that you get vastly different dogmas and extremely heated debates, if not more severe.

Democracy will not produce anything useful unless we have religious reform and then political reform. Religious reform has to come first, because people are still mesmerized by the sheikh quoting Qur’an and Hadith and can be led to do anything, including committing horrible crimes. This captivating influence of what clergy says must be immunized against, and this, if planned right, can take place in one generation.

Kemalists in Turkey used brute force to change Turkey. I don’t think that we should imitate that experiment. Coercion will get us no where.

How, would you say, could a country like Syria attempt to make this shift? What are the major steps to be taken?

(I know that an answer to this question could take a full book, but please try to fit it one Letter-sized page 🙂 )

August 6th, 2010, 6:06 pm

 

Husam said:

Alex @48 said:

“Many more American billionaires are joining the Gates-Buffett charity pledge to give away at least 95% of their wealth to charity. Really impressive from these “decadent American capitalists” … giving over 95% of their wealth to charity! Meanwhile our egocentric Syrian (and Arab) businessmen are too busy competing with each other…”

And Alex’s friend @ 51 reported:

“….hierarchy of the clan and therefor (of course among other reasons) the Arabs’ nostalgia for “Beik”,” Basha”, “Agha….In that sense only massive donations or the establishment of major charitable foundations can account for the continuation of their names …But we will get there… hopefully before the Oil era ends”

It seems your friend and many of us are unaware of the reality of what the foundations he so much fathoms are really doing (see below). Emulation of the west is not always as good as it seems.

Alex, I much prefer the Arab taking care of his family as Norman stated and building their future (as in Haykal Media) than Gates/Rockerfeller/Buffet disguised as philanthropist when they are in reality profiteering polluters reported in Los Angles Times, involved in Eugenics, investing $26 Million in homosexual pornography, and other mind blowing admitted population control programs.

Whistleblower, Cynthia, who was an immunologist with the Belinda & Gates Foundation gives her testimony as an insider. I just wish she would have submitted the 100 or so documents to wikileaks.

Side note: If every Muslim (give 2.5% of his Zakat, many times referred to as the forgotten pilar), hunger would not exist in all of the Arab world. The solutions were given 1500 years ago, only if we would listen.

Averroes, quickly (I am vacation), what makes you think that all Syrians are in agreement with your notion of Religious Reform? Would you say that more than 10-15% are secularist?

August 6th, 2010, 7:35 pm

 

Roland said:

Elie,

I think we shouldn’t overrate the sectarian solidarity between the Arab Shiites of Iraq and the Iranians. It’s a factor, to be sure, but there are limits. Iraqi patriotism, and even pan-Arab nationalism, are also still factors in Iraqi politics, even if currently reeling from the American conquest and civil war.

As for the possibility of Iranian hegemony, that’s very far-fetched. Iran has neither the military capability nor the economic base to pursue such ambitions, even if they do establish a modest nuclear arsenal. Their power-projection capability probably won’t even extend for long into Iraq, let alone elsewhere.

e.g. If there were ever a future clash between the Iraqis and the Iranians, given the Iraqis’ abundant recent combat experience against the most powerful army in the world, there would be a very bad outlook indeed for the hapless Iranians, if they were ever stupid enough to presume to physically intervene in Iraqi affairs.

Today, when Iranian “advisors” go to Lebanon, they go to learn, not to teach. The pupils are now the masters. The Hezbollah has much more recent, immediate and direct experience of fighting a contemporary Western-style army than does anybody in Iran.

As for the Saudis and Gulf states, they have all the means necessary to look after themselves, even without American garrisons.

Finally. if the Saudis made their own limited investment in nuclear deterrence, that would for once and all put paid to the whole silly notion of an Iranian “hegemony.”

Now what the Arabs will eventually do about the already full-grown American hegemony, who knows?

But they’re not alone–the entire world faces THAT little problem. Right now the universal tendency, not just among Arabs, is to hope that someday or another, without having to take any action or any risks, some sort of mysterious economic or moral decline will somehow eventually obligate the Americans to adopt a more modest approach to world affairs. In the meantime we all anxiously watch each coronation of a new emperor, praying that they choose wisely.

August 6th, 2010, 9:38 pm

 

Alex said:

Husam,

Regardless how they invest the foundation’s money, Gates and Buffet gave over 60 billions to charity and they already started to spend billions from that fund on charity.

Let our Arab Prince A and King B do the same and then we’ll compare.

Today, A wonderful man passed away. British historian Tony Judt:

Here is his final interview.

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/35949/tony-judt-on-the-flotilla-j-street-and-%E2%80%98linkage%E2%80%99/

August 7th, 2010, 2:51 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Shami,

You said in in 69: “An Iranian hegemony is not possible in my opinion even over the Shias of Iraq”.

You might be right. That conclusion is personal, though. While it is true religious or sectarian kinship and shared painful memories can go only a part of the way towards allegiance, it is reasonable to think that Iranian politicians are not so naive as to take for granted Iraqi Shiite loyalty, or the loyalty of any Arab and non-Arab Shiite for that matter.

As I said in 47: Strengthening Tehran’s grip on Baghdad are the personal rivalries that exist among Iraq’s strongest Shiite leaders. In their turf conflicts, these men are compelled to seek assistance from Tehran. It is inconceivable that they would turn to Iraq’s Sunni neighbors for support. Iran is the natural habitat for these men. Under such conditions, divide and rule is a powerful weapon in the hand of Iran to keep Iraq’s Shiite politicians virtual surrogates and Tehran their ultimate arbiter.

Additionally, there is a huge infrastructure of religious and personal attachments that bind southern Iraq and Iran together. There are the holy shrines in Najaf, Karbala, Kazimain, and Samarra. In the cemeteries of Najaf and Karbala, many of the most illustrious clerics and other men of religion are buried. In Iran, the eighth Imam is buried in Mashhad, and Fatima, the sister of the eighth Imam, is buried in Qumm.

These shrines are the focal points of pilgrimage for millions annually. Many pilgrims never return home. They remain near the holy shrines to live and die, establishing over the long sweep of history that colorful tapestry of Shiite ethnicities that exists in southern Iraq today, fusing through marriage, trade, language, and cultural bonds Arab and Persian into an inseparable mix.

From the famous shrines and seminaries of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq, and Mashhad and Qumm in Iran, the most illustrious Shiite scholars teach. It is safe to say that every important non-Iraqi Shiite religious personality spent years in Najaf or Karbala meditating and studying. During the years of persecution under Saddam Hussein, many Shiite ulama fled from Najaf and Karbala to the seminaries of Qumm, Mashhad, and other Iranian centers of religious learning.

Some of the most prominent Shiite ulama families in Najaf (such as Sahibuljawahir, Ashshaykh Radi, Bahrululoom, Al-Jawahiri, and Tabatabai Al-Hakeem) and Karbala (such as Al-Hujja Al-Haeri, Tabatabai Al-Haeri, Tabatabai Burujurdi, and Shahrastan) trace their genealogical roots to long lines of intermarriages with illustrious Iranian families in Burjurid, Isfahan, Kirmanshah, and Tehran.

Also, since a Shiite chooses the ayatollah whom he or she would like to follow, grand ayatollahs typically have followings in several countries. Iraq’s ayatollahs have followings not only in Iraq but also in Iran and other countries. Likewise, Iran’s ayatollahs have followings not only in Iran but also in Iraq and other countries. To administer the affairs of his followers, an ayatollah appoints personal representatives wherever his followers happen to live.

Iran’s connection to Muslim Iraq is as old as Islam. Hitti wrote that Arab Islam was influenced and changed by the Persians, and that the caliphs adopted Persian titles, wines, wives and mistresses, songs, ideas, and thoughts.

With such old and tight religious and family ties, it would be reasonable to expect a Shiite ruled Iraq to look to Iran for support. Personal and political differences might surface from time to time, but those differences would be more in the nature of “lover’s quarrels,” “summer clouds,” than the deep ideological and political enmity that characterized relations between Iran and Iraq under Saddam Hussein and earlier Sunni rulers.

What about the often-repeated notion of the “historical ethnic enmity” between Arabs and Persians? The answer is that this notion is rather exaggerated. Please remember that not only Iraqi Shiites fought Iran under Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) but also the Iraqi Shiite Badr Brigade fought on the side of Tehran against Iraq in that war.

For centuries, the conflict was not between the masses of Arabs and Persians. The history of the Abbasid caliphate (750-1258) in Baghdad was a history of conflict between Turkish and Persian generals over who would dominate the Arab caliph’s palace. Later, following the Ottoman conquest of most of the Arab world in 1517 (Iraq in 1534), the conflict became one between Istanbul’s Sunni sultans and Iran’s Shiite Safavids (1501-1732). Finally, after the destruction of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the conflict had been between Baghdad’s successive Sunni rulers and the Shah of Iran and later, the ayatollahs.

You said: “As for the Shias from the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf ,they enjoy a better quality of life than the Shias in Iran.”

Please keep affluence within the context of the indignation and discrimination Shiites endure in Arab lands as described in 56 above. Man’s and woman’s dignity are paramount.

You said: “According to your logic ,the arab christians ,who are as numerous than the arab shias ,must also antagonize their environment”.

If any religious or ethnic minority anywhere is maltreated by the ruling majority, then the minority has the inalienable right to take action to restore their dignity and equality with the majority.

Elie

August 7th, 2010, 4:09 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

AP,

Thanks. You said: “I was hoping for some answers from someone who may be interested in fixing “the mess”. Although most of the posters here prefer to glorify “the mess”, I think you would be the best person to offer an alternative.”

As I said in 63: I am trying to be an objective analyst putting the current situation in the region in its historical perspective and with that looking into a crystal ball, which I hope is not too cloudy, to see how things might shape up in the future.

My crystal balls tells me that the occupation of Iraq has set in motion events that make it difficult to predict how lifting the lid on Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic tensions could lead to anything but to Iranian domination over southern Iraq, to Shiite emboldenment everywhere, and to endless long-Term Shiite/Sunni conflicts until such time as the Sunni leaders in the region would either accept Iran’s hegemony or succeed in stopping the march of Shiism.

This reading assumes that: 1) Iran’s influence over the Iraqi government is serious (pls. see 75), and 2) the ayatollah’s regime will remain in power. If the theocratic regime is changed, then the situation would totally and completely change with it.

You said: “I don’t think the Iranian regime and the Israeli government will be able to “live and let live”.

You might be right. Such a position is personal, though. I believe that a live-and-let-live situation will develop because the loss arising from a confrontation could be tremendous to both Israel and Iran.

You said: “You seem to have a lot of quotes from years gone by (e.g. Khalizad, etc), and so if we quote from the Iranian regime, the word “WAR” comes to my mind in stark hues.”

Zalmay Khalilzad was one of the architects of the Bush project. His verdict on the project is more credible than coming from the project’s critics.

Here is even an earlier statement that time and events have proven its wisdom and validity:

Former president George Bush (Sr.) and Brent Scowcroft wrote on why the first Bush administration decided against occupying Iraq in 1991:

“Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different—and perhaps barren—outcome.”

In March 1991, when he was defense secretary, Dick Cheney toed his superiors’ line. He said on ABC-TV, in answer to a question as to why US forces did not go to Baghdad to remove Saddam Hussein from power:

“I think for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire. Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shi’ite government, a Kurdish government? Would it be secular, along the lines of the Baath party? Would it be fundamentalist Islamic? I do not think the United States wants to have US military forces accept casualties and accept responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. It makes no sense at all.”

That the word “WAR” comes to your mind in stark hues is the result of today’s politics. Things are apt to change as the region goes forward.

Elie

August 7th, 2010, 5:56 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

AP,

Sorry for not completing my response in 76. I had to run.

May I add that the difference between the projects of the two Bush presidencies in Iraq is that 1991 Mr. Bush senior’s objective was to remove Saddam Hussein forces from Kuwait whereas Mr. Bush Junior’s objective in 2003 was to remove not only Saddam’s regime from power but also the regimes in Tehran and Damascus.

In classifying Tehran as a member of the “Axis of Evil” in his January 2002 State of the Union Address, President G. W. Bush encapsulated his administration’s plan for Iran. The United States also placed Syria under sanctions on May 11, 2004.

To President G. W. Bush war planners, the Iraq project must have only been the first part of a grander Pax Americana regional architecture for a New Middle East encompassing regime changes in Baghdad, Damascus, and Tehran.

The failure of Mr. Bush’s grand project is what transformed Iran into a regional powerhouse.

Elie

August 7th, 2010, 8:48 am

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

To: ROLAND @ #75.

A studied global overview of the present in situ.

The realities in the “crossroad” of the globe are:

1. Israel still not only occupies but invests in infrastructures
on occupied Palestinian territory.

2. Thousands of Palestinians still live in camps in Lebanon.

3. Thousands of Jews from all parts of the world settle yearly in
Israel and occupied territories.

4. Of all the states in the region Israel still has 100% support
from the US.

5. The Arab states for a variety of reasons do not seem to agree
that given #4 above their claims and rights are rightfully
within the purview of the UN.

6. Israel’s military still occupies the Golan Height and violates
Lebanese air space at will. (with nary a criticism from the US
or UN)

7. Arab/Muslim nations are regularly sanctioned as punishment.

8. Over 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children are
“imprisoned” in a gulag like local.

9. Israel’s successive governments have publicly proclaimed their
rights to build settlements for Jewish emigrants.

10. 60 years after their creation Israelis and Palestinians it may be said live in different worlds. Leaving one to ask
why such a disparity must await a solely US decision?

August 7th, 2010, 10:06 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

To AVERROES,

Nice hearing from you. You said it so elegantly:

“Democracy will not produce anything useful unless we have religious reform and then political reform. Religious reform has to come first, because people are still mesmerized by the sheikh quoting Qur’an and Hadith and can be led to do anything, including committing horrible crimes. This captivating influence of what clergy says must be immunized against, and this, if planned right, can take place in one generation.”

I agree with you 100%. The policy implications of your last sentence can be monumental; namely, ushering Syria into the modern age.

Your question is direct to the point: “How, would you say, could a country like Syria attempt to make this shift?”,

In answer, the target should focus on reducing the hold of the ulama over the faithful through reducing the demand for the ulama’s services and; thus, their numbers.

The Syrian government should muster the courage to act decisively on two fronts. The first is to promulgate a secular modern personal status law that would apply to all citizens equally regardless of religion or sect.

The government should not fear the reaction of Syria’s Islamists. Their case is weak to defend. Their strength should not be exaggerated.

The great majority of Syria’s women, 50% of the population, will support manumitting them from the maltreatment they endure under the current seventh century Shari’a based law. Indeed, how can Women oppose granting them rights equal to those of Muslim men?!

Further, among Syria’s enlightened men, there must be a proportion, possibly a sizable proportion, who would be enthusiastic in their support to end the humiliation of their daughters and sisters and mothers and wives under the existing law.

While it should be expected that the country’s Islamists will run wild in opposition to the new law government authority will prevail, the way it prevails on all other occasions. In time, the Islamists will calm down and the country will start reaping the social and economic benefits resulting from removing the most regressive and repressive of laws.

The second act that the government should take is to stop religious education, all religions, in schools. Religion ought to taught in the home the way social courtesies and table manners are taught.

A non-religious family law combined with no religious education in schools should cut down the demand for the ulama’s services considerably and gradually reduce their numbers. In time, with focus on the sciences, mathematics, and philosophy in school curricula a new generation of rational thinkers will evolve who would reject the ulama’s dogmatic teaching such as the belief in predestination, evil eye, angels, and djinn.

Elie

August 7th, 2010, 10:16 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Ellie said
For centuries, the conflict was not between the masses of Arabs and Persians
The conflict btween Arab and persia is for ever, in the six century BC Persia fought and occupied Damascus , They were kicked out in 64 BC several battles between Arab and persia followed for over 100 year,Zee Qar battle was a decisive one won by Arab Later after Islam, Arab conquered easily Persia.
The Iraq Iran War was supported by most Arab countries except Syria.The Arab feel closer to Turkey than Iran,a lot of Shiite in Iraq resent Iran,Both Saudia Arabia and Syria,would like to see Iraq one country ,Arabic,without Iran hegenomy.once US leaves Iraq Syria influence in Iraq will increase.Iraq needs Syria for economic and political reason,Iraq needs Syria to build its army,Syria needs Iraq too,part of Iran(Alhamra region) belongs to Iraq,Iran is a friend nowaday, and should continue,the alliance between Turkey,Iran and Arab will be the future power,that will shape the Middle East,that is when we will regain the occupied Palastine.
BTW,those who do not believe in Freedom and Democracy they do not deserve freedom ,nor democracy.

August 7th, 2010, 10:45 am

 

Shami said:

Elie,it’s not new thing,under the ottomans ,almost all the ayatollahs in Najaf were from Iran ,the shrines that you see in Iraq were rebuilt by the iranian qajari kings with ottoman approval ,under Saddam too,the most important ayatollahs remained iranians ,Khoei and Sistani.As for the family ties , marriages between sunnis and shias are common in Iraq ,iranian-iraqi mariages are not ,they mostly concern the iraqis that are sons of iranian clerics established in iraq during the late ottoman era.

August 7th, 2010, 10:46 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

ROLAND,

You said: “We shouldn’t overrate the sectarian solidarity between the Arab Shiites of Iraq and the Iranians”.

In 75 I explained why I consider Iran’s hold on Iraq is more than transitory and light.

You are right: “Iraqi patriotism, and even pan-Arab nationalism, are also still factors in Iraqi politics”. However, one should remember that the Iraqis who control powerful Shiite militias (Hakeem and Sadr) are on the side of their benefactors in Tehran and that they cannot escape Iran’s control even if they want to. In their turf disagreements, rivalries, and wars, these men along with other politicians who took refuge in Iran to escape Saddam’s regime have little alternative but to seek assistance from Tehran. Divide and rule is a powerful weapon in the hand of Iran to keep Iraq’s Shiite politicians virtual surrogates and Tehran their ultimate arbiter.

“Iran has neither the military capability nor the economic base to pursue such ambitions”.

While what you stated is true, Iran need not dispatch troops to rescue Arab Shiites from Arab Sunnis. Military action would be inconceivable here. In 59 and 63, I outlined the difficult situation of the Shiite communities in the region–Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudia’s Eastern Province, Yaman. In each of these countries, a local resistance group led by a charismatic leader could emerge with Tehran’s help.

You said: “hope that someday or another, without having to take any action or any risks, some sort of mysterious economic or moral decline will somehow eventually obligate the Americans to adopt a more modest approach to world affairs”.

Such a scenario might develop, or might not. I suggest that no one holds their breath on this one.

Elie

August 7th, 2010, 11:01 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Roland said:

Today, when Iranian “advisors” go to Lebanon, they go to learn, not to teach. The pupils are now the masters. The Hezbollah has much more recent, immediate and direct experience of fighting a contemporary Western-style army than does anybody in Iran.

Roland,

I’m not convinced there is much for the Iranians to learn from Hezbollah. I think they’re just there to supply weapons and to teach the “pupils” how to use them.

The Iranians and their friends have learned plenty from the Iraqi and Afghan theatres where western armies have no time and civilian casualty limits to hamper their mission.

Elie,

Thanks for the history lesson. I was hoping, however, to get your opinion on solutions.

August 7th, 2010, 11:56 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

MAJIDKHALDOUN,

You are correct re. the pre-Islamic era. I was focusing on the Islamic era, which veered relations into a different direction as influenced by Islam.

Shami,
What you stated is exactly why I believe the Iran?Iraq Shiite combination is difficult to break.

AP,
History + today’s facts = a slightly clearer crystal ball, I should hope.

Elie

August 7th, 2010, 12:25 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

This might be of interest to a few commentators.

7 August 2010 Last updated at 10:10 ET

Muslim group Minhaj ul-Quran runs ‘anti-terrorism’ camp
By Dominic Casciani BBC News home affairs correspondent.

Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri says he feels it is his duty to “save” young Muslims from extremism

A Muslim group has opened what it calls the UK’s first summer camp against terrorism.

The three-day event in Coventry is expected to see more than 1,000 young Muslims at sessions teaching religious arguments to use against extremists.

August 7th, 2010, 12:25 pm

 

Averroes said:

Elie,

Thank you for your answer, sir. You’ve touched a key point here: “the target should focus on reducing the hold of the ulama over the faithful through reducing the demand for the ulama’s services and; thus, their numbers.”

Reducing the demand for clergy. That is key! Teaching people to think for themselves and not hand their destiny to someone else.

I’m wondering, however, if depriving students from religious instruction at schools might lead to unwanted outcome. Could that cause parents to panic and rush to find private religious halaqas that end up increasing the demand for clergy? Could stopping religious instruction cause the government to lose and important avenue of influence and observation, and just volunteer it to someone else. You know that hokoumat Khadem Al-Haramain Al-Shareefain will gladly step in to build religious centers (can be under benign names). We may end up not gaining, but losing.

The spiritual aspect of Islam fulfills a real need in people. Muslims love their religion, but the problem is that politician have used that love throughout history to attach add-ons to the religions that served their purpose. Most people now can’t tell the difference, and I think this is one major area that we need to work on. In other words, reform, not eradication.

It is my deep belief, as a Muslim, that the Qur’an has great concepts and ideas that are currently buried under layers of ruler-introduced ailments.

We should teach that the Qur’an holds one responsible for their action. That some of the Suras we are projecting at others, we should maybe project at ourselves and examine our own actions. We should teach clerks to deliver any message as it is their own view and not the ultimate truth, and teach students to view instructions with a critical eye, and not be mesmerized by rhetoric. The Qur’an is full of verses that encourage free thinking and not blindly following the forefathers, and we can teach pupils to apply this concept to their own behaviors.

Pre-destination is easy to solve as well. We can’t call an event destiny until it has actually manifested itself (took place). Before that, we don’t know, and the world is built with causality and law. In fact, the concept of destiny is a positive one, an encouragement for us not to dwell on the past because it’s gone and we can’t change it. Unfortunately, it is not understood that way, and too many people use it as an excuse for inaction.

There are several Muslim scholars that have done great work there, and I mention Ustaz Jawdat Saeed in Syria as but one of those. These scholars can and should be encouraged to launch a major reform movement.

Banning and suppressing will only cause people to become defensive and go underground, where ill ideas develop even further out of sight.

August 7th, 2010, 12:26 pm

 

Alex said:

Elie and Averroes,

I will try to say something, since the two of you are discussing practical aspects.

I think that Syria should ask the Custodian of the two holy mosques to help in undoing what his Wahabi money and lunacy did to Syria the past decade or two.

He should provide money to help Syria engage the best communication professionals who will conduct opinion polls (privately) and design the most efficient and least risky communication strategy to help undo that Wahabi influence.

They would design questionnaires asking conservative Syrians how they will react if the government announced a number of potential measures or laws….

The process should not be left to informal unstructured decision making, although a number of panels of experts can be relied on to help decision makers, in addition to the results of the private scientific polling of a sample that represents the population.

August 7th, 2010, 12:52 pm

 

Alex said:

Watch our good friend Qunfuz, or Robin Yassin Kassab, recommending his favorite five books about the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

And help him in the discussion there if you can.

Anna Blundy Interviews Robin Yassin-Kassab from Jack Patterson on Vimeo.

August 7th, 2010, 1:08 pm

 

Alex said:

And this the BBC’s Lina Sinjab who is reporting on new business opportunities in Syria. She interviewed Abdul Salam Haykal, publisher of Forward Magazine

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10903899

August 7th, 2010, 1:28 pm

 

Alex said:

And one last quote from a 2003 piece by the late Tony Judt:

“The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes suggested—that it is a European “enclave” in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a “Jewish state”—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.”

I want “Almasri” and others who are not fond of “Jews” in general, to know about this Jew who descended from a line of Lithuanian rabbis.

August 7th, 2010, 1:34 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Unibrows for Peace

Alex,

Thanks for posting Confuse’s video. I never knew who he was. Now I do.

After seeing a few of his posts over the years, it is no surprise that in his video, he places all the blame on the Zionists and never refers to the many instances of violence and massacres by the Arabs against Jews. Yes, you can always spot an anti-Zionist: Arab terrorism is always left out of the discussion.

And too bad Anna Blundy didn’t have a opposing point-of-view. I guess that would have messed up Confuse’s perfectly innaccurate anti-Israel rant.

It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law.

Alex,

I don’t know what this person is talking about. It is the ME as a whole that “hasn’t moved on”. Israel is modern, liberal, innovative, and economically successful. Perhaps you’re spending too much time listening to Confuse.

August 7th, 2010, 1:57 pm

 

Averroes said:

Alex,

AP really represents a large sector of the Israeli population, it seems. Totally incapable of understanding very clear and very obvious facts about the roots and the gravity of the conflict, expecting the totally unsustainable status-quot to last forever, and reverting to a pathetic name calling “Unibrows” to counter arguments.

Mr. Kassab is not calling for violence, is not calling for any Jews to be thrown in the sea, is calling for democracy, equal rights for people within a One State solution, and AP “does not know what this person is talking about”. Well, playing stupid will not change anything. The status-quot is not sustainable and sooner or later Israelis are going to have to sober up to that fact.

August 7th, 2010, 3:53 pm

 

Shami said:

Alex,i think that you should begin to criticize the ruler of the people and the society before reaching the wrong culprit.
Most of syrians ignore what Wahhabi means.
There is a phobia of some minorities in Syria because of the evolution of the syrian society towards islamic conservatism ,they feel bad,so they keep repeating this term without good reason.

August 7th, 2010, 5:54 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Averroes said:

Mr. Kassab is not calling for violence, is not calling for any Jews to be thrown in the sea, is calling for democracy, equal rights for people within a One State solution, and AP “does not know what this person is talking about”.

Averroes,

Please don’t put words in my mouth. I just quoted Mr. Kassab’s own words, which were:

It [Israel] has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law.

And yes, Mr. Kussab doesn’t know what he’s talking about. What country in the ME leads in “individual rights”? Which ME country leads in 21st century innovation? “A world that has moved on”? Please….a major portion of the Arab ME is still living in the Middle Ages.

August 7th, 2010, 6:28 pm

 

Alex said:

Shami,

Yes, fear of ulra conservatism everywhere .. Islamic in Syria and Zionist Christian in the US … they are all good foundations for violence and lack of tolerance.

And we are not repeating the term “wahabism” without reason … wahabism played the major role in managing and financing the process. Similarly Likud played a major role (directly or indirectly) in empowering christian Zionists in the US.

Akbar,

A general rule … if you can not criticize an opinion, try harder to not comment at all. Otherwise you end up producing a cheap shot like you did above.

By the way, the quote you are complaining about (if you clicked on the link) came from Tony Judt not Robin

I hope you agree that Tony Judt was qualified enough to have an opinion that one should take a bit more seriously.

August 7th, 2010, 6:29 pm

 

Shami said:

Alex ,this is only true in your imagination,the most influent salafi scholar in Saudi Arabia and in the world ,is a damascene of albanian origin,we influence them.
Salafism or call it Wahhabism is more present among the middle class, new bourgeoisie and educated young people than in the poor class were the people adhere to Sufism.

August 7th, 2010, 7:46 pm

 

Norman said:

Averroes,

I agree with you as religion should be taught in schools as that is how i learned religion and that will make it easier to prevent teaching radicalism but teach what all religions say and that is to do to others what you like them to do to you ,

August 7th, 2010, 8:30 pm

 

Shami said:

Norman ,in school or in the mosque ,here is not the problem ,when the political opportunities are totally closed ,people become fearful of social change because they are no more masters of their own destiny.The result is what we have today in Syria ,after the suppression of the civil society and its replacement by an unproductive and filthy dictatorship ,the people had no other options than to become withdrawn and suspicious of everything.

August 7th, 2010, 9:30 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

From Kibbutz Member to Disillusionment: A Professor’s Saga

Alex,

Whoever I quoted in my Post #94, I criticized their opinion and I stated my reasons. Like I said, you can always spot an anti-Zionist: they tend to leave out Arab and Palestinian violence as if it were never an issue.

But if you disagree with me, I’m willing to discuss it with you.

Alex,

I went to Wikipedia and found a few interesting things about Mr. Judt:

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

In 2003, in an article for the New York Review of Books, Judt argued that Israel was on its way to becoming a “belligerently intolerant, faith-driven ethno state.”

I disagree. Israel is a rather tolerant, religiously pluralistic, democratic state. Iran? Saudi Arabia? Egypt?, well that’s another story…

According to The New York Sun, “the appearance at the Polish consulate was canceled after the Polish government decided that Mr. Judt’s views critical of Israel were not consistent with Poland’s friendly relations with the Jewish state.”[39]

Obviously, Qunfuz’s favorite boogeyman, the neocon-AIPAC-Likud triangle, is more powerful than the sovereign, Jew-free state of Poland. Or, maybe, Poland just doesn’t feel comfortable with Israel-bashers. Who knows really?

He asked “[does] the Israel Lobby affect our foreign policy choices? Of course — that is one of its goals. […] But does pressure to support Israel distort American decisions? That’s a matter of judgment.” He summed up his assessment of Mearsheimer and Walt’s paper by asserting that “this essay, by two ‘realist’ political scientists with no interest whatsoever in the Palestinians, is a straw in the wind.” He predicted that “it will not be self-evident to future generations of Americans why the imperial might and international reputation of the United States are so closely aligned with one small, controversial Mediterranean client state.”

I can agree with Mr. Judt on this comment.

August 7th, 2010, 11:00 pm

 

Shai said:

Akbar,

On occasion, you do pose food for thought. But more often than not, you repeat the same stuff (that’s why they call you “hasbara”-boy). Israel is tolerant, pluralistic, democratic, etc.

But I want to ask specifically about the non-Jewish part that is under Israeli control. Let’s not talk about Tel-Aviv or even Haifa, where you feel comfortable making these claims (as do I, by the way). Let’s talk about the West Bank.

Do you mean that Israel is “tolerant”, because it understands the angry mob at every checkpoint? Is it “tolerant”, by giving Palestinians enough warning time before enacting curfew (normally before and during Jewish holidays)?

Do you mean that Israel is “pluralistic”, because it continuously adds Jews into this territory, ever since 1967, so that no one can claim it “isn’t pluralistic”?

And finally, do you mean that Israel is “democratic”, because it gives the Palestinians the right to earn money? Or the right to breathe? Or the right to determine what goods enter or leave their cities and towns? But not always the right to travel, or the right to leave their home, or the right to cross a border? Is Israel “democratic” because it gives the Palestinians the right to vote? Is a Palestinian Christian or Muslim equal to a Jew?

You see, you can’t pick and choose parts of Israel that you feel comfortable discussing, and parts that you don’t. You could also claim South Africa under P. W. Botha was “tolerant, pluralistic, and democratic”. Amongst its White population, sure, maybe it was. Every white citizen was equal in South Africa. The blacks, not so much…

I’m not even talking about Arab-Israelis (that argument we’ve already had before), I’m now talking only about the West Bank. If Israel controls this territory, if it settles this territory, if it considers it “Israel until otherwise”, then it needs to treat it just like it does Gush Dan (Central part of Israel). If Israel allows itself to settle 500,000 Jews in the West Bank, and it annexes the Golan with barely 3% of that population, then it’s time we annex the West Bank as well, call it Israel, and consider and treat all its residents as Israeli. Only when that happens, can you call us “tolerant, pluralistic, and democratic”.

August 8th, 2010, 2:01 am

 

Shai said:

Akbar,

Btw, that was a nasty cheap-blow, your unibrow comment about Qunfuz. While we don’t yet have a picture of your bronzed upper-torso with blonde hair and blue eyes, you could possibly have found it offensive if some counter-argument appeared with the title “Long Nose of Democracy”.

Perhaps Qunfuz is correct – maybe we Jews tend to internalize certain things said about us, and project them unto others. That’s certainly been my reaction, when I read what you wrote.

August 8th, 2010, 2:17 am

 

Shai said:

It’s as if another “anti-Zionist Israeli”, Gideon Levy, read our words: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/missing-the-forest-1.306647

August 8th, 2010, 2:42 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

AVERROES,

Thanks. You raise important and valid arguments.

You said: “Depriving students from religious instruction at schools might lead to unwanted outcome. Could that cause parents to panic and rush to find private religious halaqas that end up increasing the demand for clergy?

My answer is: Not if today’s classes on religion will be replaced by new classes on ethics and/or comparative religious thought. Such a shift could replace the divide, which the men and women of God today tend to accentuate and perpetuate, by the common good that exist in all religions.

A Sunni child, for example, will not be taught that he/she is superior to a Shiite, Christian, Ismaili, Durzi, or Jewish classmate or that only Wahhabis inherit paradise. Instead, he/she will be taught that members of all human kind are equal to one another.

Tuition on ethics and comparative religious thought strengthens the bond that should exist among citizens rather than separate them based on debilitating religious fervor.

That there might be a proportion of orthodox families who would want extra tuition for their children in classic religion and dogma is no reason to not pursue the shift. The general good that’ll accrue to the whole society from such a shift will outweigh the negatives of orthodox families’ behavior.

While it is difficult and presumptuous to suggest a way forward, suffice it say, however, that the shift might be wise and pragmatic to be effected in stages starting with the elementary schooling level, followed by the middle level and later by the high school level.

You said: “Could stopping religious instruction cause the government to lose and important avenue of influence and observation, and just volunteer it to someone else”?

The answer is: Not if ethics and comparative religious thought replace current religion education in schools, mosques, churches, and the media. Allowing the sanctioned national discourse to change could start to bridge the divide that currently exist among Syria’s sectarian groups rather than maintain, even widen, the divide.

The current government sanctioned discourse, which makes a citizen superior to another, at least in virtue, is like a cancer destroying the whole body. Such education/ indoctrination leads to creating wars in the heads of many people.

The current situation runs in the face of a supposedly secular philosophy of the Baath Party. A national discourse based on ethics and comparative religious thought rather than religious dogma is long overdue.

“Volunteer it to someone else?” Not if the government has any authority.

SHAMI’s statement in 98 has merit: “when the political opportunities are totally closed ,people become fearful of social change”. While I do not mean to put words in SHAMI’s mouth, I think he means, and I stand to be corrected, that people (meaning Sunnis) turn to God and religious orthodoxy, in this case orthodox Sunnism.

Alex,

Thanks. A Good idea. It ought to be followed regardless of source of funding. Syria should be able to afford underwriting the cost, I should think.

Elie

August 8th, 2010, 5:55 am

 

David said:

Readers may be interested in some relevant developments in the Australian state of New South Wales. Until recently, the public school system allowed religious Ministers to enter schools to give ‘Special Religious Education’ classes, for about one hour per week. Students not attending religious instruction (about 80% of total) had to ‘wait outside’ ie no alternative classes in ethics, values or general religious education were provided.

This situation has changed recently, following the introduction of a trial scheme (at 10 primary schools) for a non-religious ethics class. Established religions have protested vigorously against this move, and apparently with good reason, since the ethics classes proved highly popular, and the numbers attending religious instruction shrank further. Results of the trial are currently being evaluated. The initial response indicates fairly clearly that parents want ethical education for their children, but the majority do not want this education delivered as part of a religious message.

August 8th, 2010, 9:36 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Ellie is saying that goverment should ban teaching religion in School
And he said ” Not if the government has any authority”
First this wou;d limit the freedom of people.
second banning Religion teaching is done in USA,the result is a society that lack Morality,Drugs and Alcoholism are widespread among American kids and Adult ,Crimes are rampant there are a lot of rape.
Religions teach code of ethics and good principles.I suggest that schools in USA reintroduce religion teachings to kids by requiring a certificate from acountable religious or ethic leader that the kid spent 100 hour of teaching every year,being that the kids have attended Mosque ,church ,synogogue or places where they teach ethics.
Banning religions will take us back to thousands of years where people were like animals.those who hate religion they do not feel comfortable to adhere to ethics and good morality.the problem is in themself.

August 8th, 2010, 10:14 am

 

Shami said:

Elie ,it’s not about orthodoxy,all religions have central dogma.The englightened Caliph and companion Muawiya,the grand Qadi and philosopher Ibn Rushd or Averroes and before him the Zahiri wonderful thinker Ibn Hazm,Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Baja.The historian and sociologist Ibn Khaldun ,the physician Ibn Nafis and many other original thinkers.
More recently Abdelkader Al Jazaeri,Mohamad Abdo,Al Kawakibi,Mohamad Iqbal ,Malek Bennabi ,Abed Al Jabri….the sufis or salafis ,ashaaris or hanbalis and zahiris…Mahatir Mohamad and Erdogan….Ahmad Zuwail and Faruk Al Baz.
Are they not orthodox muslims?

August 8th, 2010, 2:17 pm

 

Norman said:

David,

it is clear that the parents want their kids to be better citizens and be able to get along with others and that is what behind pushing them to the ethics courses , considering religion as a way to better human being while the religious leaders think of religion as a goal and a way to increase the followers and the potential donation they will be getting , it is apparent that religion for the parents is a way while it is a goal for the religious leaders,

Majid ,

I agree with you about teaching religion at schools and might not be a bad idea to teach all religions at school to all the children so they can find out that they really call for the same thing if we can pass through the details ,

August 8th, 2010, 5:08 pm

 
 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman
I did not say to teach religion at school,I said the school requires a certificate ,from accredited religious leaders,or ethical institutions that the school kids attended 100 hour of teaching . this way there will not be discrimination.

August 8th, 2010, 8:27 pm

 

Husam said:

Elie:

You started with reform of ahadiths, moved to radiating Wahabism, and then riding of religion classes all within a 30 day. Nice work, won’t happen. Your agenda was clear to me from day one.

What about the Sryian majority that don’t want your secularist way of life, do they matter? Freedom to you is like a flip of coin: when it serves your views!

For those of you who said replace religion courses with courses in ethics, please be more specific: where do you derive your ethics from? Elie’s crystal ball, perhaps?

P.S. what is ethical in Damacus may not apply to a school in Deir El Zor and vice versa.

August 8th, 2010, 9:38 pm

 

Shami said:

A moderate secularism as it’s established in the USA ,Britain and most advanced countries in the world is good for us,Muslims.
But who brought our societies to such dramatic level of mediocrity?
Not Nasser ,Hafez Asad and alikes?

August 8th, 2010, 10:35 pm

 

David said:

Norman- yes, the differing objectives of parents and clergy are definitely a major consideration. The saying attributed to the Jesuits- ‘give me the child until the seventh year , and i will give you the man’ would not be applicable to Roman Catholicism alone. Recruitment-related considerations probably drive much of the religious opposition to ethics teaching in schools. However, given the continuing instances of children being molested by clergy, parents likely see more than just educational value in ethics classes taught by regular teaching staff.

Husam- people can be moral without being religious, in that they do not need to ascribe to religious beliefs in order to sustain carefully thought-out moral principles. Some claim that people would behave with no moral principles unless they are under the threat of eternal punishment, but this suggests a very bleak view of humanity’s capacity to look at their actions in a wider context. I’m not sure how you can say that the Syrian majority ‘don’t want your secularist way of life’- has this ever been tested?

August 9th, 2010, 9:01 am

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

israel has borders?

whatever israel sees israel considers to belong to israel: land, homes, air, water, vegetation, human organs.

foundations are not for charity. they are private banks to hide, preserve wealth.

charity does not use tax deductions – reducing one’s share of taxes and shifting taxes onto the general population of actual tax payers.

August 9th, 2010, 12:05 pm

 

Averroes said:

Shai,

Thank you for your posts above, responding to Akbar’s earlier entries. What percentage of the Jewish Israeli population, would you say, would resonate and identify with his views? And what percentage would identify with yours?

August 9th, 2010, 12:18 pm

 

Shai said:

Averroes,

It’s tough answering your question, because Akbar’s views in certain fields are very unrealistic (i.e. facts that the average Israeli would certainly disagree with), and certain parts of my views are rarely discussed in Israel (they’re rarely written about on Ha’aretz, our so-called “liberal paper”, so you can imagine they’re hardly brought up in normal discourse.)

But still, to try to give you some indication, I’ll say the following:

1. Akbar’s view that the Arabs are to blame for their miserable state (e.g. Gaza) is certainly shared by most Israelis (my guess 70%-80%).

2. His view that Arabs and Jews are equal in Israel is certainly unrealistic, and few here would genuinely agree (my guess 5%-10% max). Inside Israel, we know the truth about how Israeli Arabs are viewed as 2nd-rate citizens.

3. His view that Peace could be had, if only Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria, would “flip”, accept and recognize Israel, is also shared by the majority (probably 80%-90%, including most on the Left.)

4. His views about Syria (similar to AIG’s views) aren’t shared by most Israelis, because most Israelis haven’t discussed Syria in over a decade. Most do not know if the average Syrian makes $150 or $1500 a month, and which is farther north, Damascus or Aleppo.

5. My views about land-for-peace are probably shared by most Israelis (I would guess 50%-60%). I mean, that most Israelis understand land must be returned to achieve peace. But at the same time, probably 70% are against returning the Golan right now, before Syria “changes” (whatever that means, including in particular capitulates).

What is more crucial right now, is not how many Israelis agree with me or with Akbar, but rather that real discourse begin to form inside Israel, as it sort-of did in the late 1990’s. But for that to happen, we need not only courageous leadership in Jerusalem that pushes this, but also courageous leadership in Damascus and the Arab world, to help us Israelis do this. Like the old saying goes, you need to “help us help ourselves”. As strong as we are, I think we need your help…

August 9th, 2010, 1:38 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

To: Dr. Elhadj.

Came across the following on the BBC website and wondered if you were aware of it.

Muslim group Minhaj ul-Quran runs ‘anti-terrorism’ camp
By Dominic Casciani BBC News home affairs correspondent.

Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri says he feels it is his duty to “save” young Muslims from extremism

A Muslim group has opened what it calls the UK’s first summer camp against terrorism.

The three-day event in Coventry is expected to see more than 1,000 young Muslims at sessions teaching religious arguments to use against extremists.

August 9th, 2010, 2:42 pm

 

Alex said:

Husam,

You are right that Deir Ezzore’s region (as an example) might have its own local set of preferences and values, but Syrian students are not currently studying them through their religion classes… so, Deir Ezzore will not object to not including that special locally-flavored set of values within Syria’s ethics class.

Can you give us a few specific examples of “ethics” which are religion-neutral that you, or other Syrians (like those from Deir Ezzore) would object to?

I can think of one case which might be divisive … honor crimes. Some regions in Syria are strong believers in the ethical nature of these crimes. So what do you suggest in that case? … we teach our Syrian students only the values and ethics that no one can disagree with?

Let’s take another one … revenge. In Christianity and other esoteric religions, “turn the other cheek” is the right way to react to many offenses. In the Middle East today, you are not going to be respected if you do not retaliate. So do we teach “turn the other cheek” or “an eye for an eye”?, or do we teach about the four cardinal virtues (Iustitia, Fortitudo, Sapientia, Temperantia) which provide a conditional justification for retaliation … after you took your time to evaluate from a neutral perspective the degree to which the other person was justified in attacking you (in whatever way), and only to help that person learn a lesson that can help him/her not make the same mistake again …

etc …

August 9th, 2010, 4:07 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

GHAT AL BIRD,

Yes, the BBC reported the events rather well.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10900478

Dr. Qadri’s summer camp at Warwick University is a very positive and constructive step.

The 3-day meeting with its 1,000 young participants will concentrate on Dr. Dr Qadri’s 600-page theological study:

http://www.minhaj.org/images-db2/fatwa-eng.pdf

I hope Arab clerics will applaud the efforts of Dr. Qadri and hold similar camps in Arab cities, especially Saudi cities to join Dr. Qadri’s “spiritual war” against extremism and jihadism. Hopefully Arab ulama will not criticize Dr. Qadri’s fatwa because it is written in Urdu or because he is a Pakistani or because the fatwa has been delivered in “the context mainly of the recent spate of suicide atrocities carried out in Pakistan against a variety of civilian targets.”

The study demonstrates the peacefulness and the tolerance in Islam and calls for “the forbiddance of the indiscriminate killing of non-Muslims and torturing them”, and “the forbiddance of terrorism against the non-Muslims during war”. However, it does not tell jihadists what to do or how to deal with the intolerant and violent verses like 2:6, 2:120, 5:51, 5:60, 5:78, 9:5, 9:29.

Elie

August 9th, 2010, 5:07 pm

 

epppie said:

The discovery of many Israeli spies in Lebanon, in the communications sector particularly, means that the investigation is compromised, unless Israel is considered as a suspect.

August 9th, 2010, 7:11 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Shai continues the “most Israelis” BS

4. His views about Syria (similar to AIG’s views) aren’t shared by most Israelis, because most Israelis haven’t discussed Syria in over a decade. Most do not know if the average Syrian makes $150 or $1500 a month, and which is farther north, Damascus or Aleppo.

Shai,

I know you like to tell Arabs information they’d like to hear, but I think it would be in their best interest to know facts, not wishful thinking.

August 9th, 2010, 7:17 pm

 

Shai said:

Akbar,

Since the facts are so important to you, I find it funny you chose not to respond to 2.

As to 4, what ARE the facts regarding Israelis’ knowledge of Syria, dear Akbar? Do you have the faintest idea? Do your buddies in the “tolerant, pluralistic, and democratic” West Bank settlement of Efrat have any knowledge of Syria, besides “Axis of Evil” stuff they read on AIPAC brochures?

And after you answer those questions, I’m dying to ask you something:

1. Do you agree that the Golan is part of Israel (i.e. that the annexation of the Golan was legal)?

2. Why do you suppose Israel DIDN’T annex the West Bank, despite settling more than 40 times as many Jews as there are on the (annexed) Golan?

3. Do you think Israel should annex the West Bank?

I know… so many questions… so little time… 😉

August 9th, 2010, 7:38 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

“Most Israelis” NewZ

Shai,

Here’s some factual data. I think the forum would do a lot better if you presented this sort of data instead of your opinion presented at fact (aka “most Israelis”).

As far as Jews and Arabs being equal, I would say there is room for improvement (given the continued state of war against Israel). However, I would also say Israeli Arabs are treated better in Israel than in most other Arab states, so the focus on Israel is a bit disingenous.

1.) Yup.

2.) Because the Israeli government knows the Arabs aren’t interested in peace?

3.) No. I think the two sides should negotiate a peace treaty.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=179966ai,

August 9th, 2010, 7:55 pm

 

Alex said:

Epppie

Nasrallah presented enough material to prove the investigation is politicized … he did not “prove” Israel did it (far from it), but if the investigation refuses to investigate, especially after the 5 years of blaming Syria and now switching to Hezbollah, I think the whole thing is a pathetic joke … and I was sure anyway form day 1, but I was in the minority at the time.

August 9th, 2010, 8:26 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

A.P. clearly believe that Israel has the right to annex the Golan.I believe that Syria has the right of digging wells to irrigate the land east of Damascus Daraa road,even if this dry up Jordan river.

August 9th, 2010, 10:44 pm

 

Averroes said:

Shai,

Thanks for your reply. I cannot sell Peace, true just Peace while Israelis continue to behave the same way. When I look at Israeli policy, I see more of an Ap than a Shai. Gaza, Lebanon, Dubai, the annexation of the Golan, the killing of Peace activists and calling them terrorists, the brutal assassinations, the list goes on and on. I don’t see any Israeli political leader using your language or taking your positions, while most are pretty much copies of AP, with all the arrogance and belligerence that we’ve come to expect of him. What am I supposed to assume?

The APs of Israel are still hoping for an Arab surrender. It’s not going to happen, Shai. Even if there’s another war and Arabs are defeated as badly as 1967 (not too likely), we will still not surrender, and our children will carry the flag. Unless Israel undertakes the paradigm shift that it needs to take, and accept the concepts of one-man-one-vote, and a One State for all its citizens, the region will not have Peace.

August 9th, 2010, 11:49 pm

 

Shai said:

Dear Averroes,

You don’t need to “sell Peace”. You need to help us change our perception and our misperceptions, not of peace, but of you! This is the problem.

I don’t know of any people on this planet that don’t want peace, or believe in peace, or prefer peace. Nations that act in certain ways normally do so because they are led by a group (sometimes large) of self-interested leaders or politicians, who for one reason or another prefer to prolong conflict, rather than end it. In some places in our region, it is useless trying to “target the people” to change their minds, because they have no voice, and cannot change their leadership. But in Israel, especially in Israel, it can work. It is an opportunity for you, the Arab side, to use our so-called “democracy” to the fullest. Unlike KSA or Iran, if you want to address each and every citizen in Israel, you can. If Assad wants to speak to us directly, he can. And, as I’ve been suggesting for a long time now, I think he should.

While you feel very strongly about Israelis (clearly) not wanting Peace, because of how WE behave, I assure you that most Israelis feel exactly the same way, about YOU… They’re not saying on the street “death to Syria”, or “we’ll never recognize Syria”, but they are saying “Syria doesn’t want peace, look at what it does (Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas)…”

Now it doesn’t matter whether you understand the logic behind what Syria does, or that you feel Syria has no choice. An outsider might completely agree with you. But the problem is, that as long as Israelis don’t understand your rationale, they interpret your action as being anti-peace. You are “proving to them”, again and again, how you DON’T want peace.

I believe the Arab World has done a lot, especially since 2002, to make it clear to Israel that it wants peace, that it is ready to accept Israel and normalize relations with us, if certain things happen. For the 4th time, the Arab nations unanimously supported this draft, of 8 years ago. But in Israel, it landed on deaf ears. Why? Because Israelis don’t believe in Peace? No, because the emotional triggers weren’t there. Because it was a news-bit, and not a direct message by, for instance, President Assad. Because it was “reported on”, rather than “reported by” two Israeli journalists on the ground, in Damascus, or in Riyadh, or in Beirut.

If the Arabs are ready for Peace with Israel, then open up your doors to us, invite our leaders to come to your capitals, invite our journalists to come cover your nations for the first time ever, invite cultural exchanges of any level. Begin to chip away at our 60-year emotional blocks, and discover that beyond them, are thin rational blocks that can disappear in an instant. It’s all about the HOW, not the WHAT.

Now you could respond to this by saying “I really don’t think we Arabs have to ‘prove’ ourselves to you… It is you that are occupying our lands, withholding rights from our people, etc.”, and you would be right Averroes. But this isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about figuring out how to move ahead. How to change perceptions if need be. And how to muster strength, even in places where we feel we don’t have any left.

On a personal note, I’ve never felt comfortable belonging to “the majority”. This group, that all too often is considered the one “realistic”, normally contributes to advance (in any field) in an inversely-proportional fashion. It is the few, the minority, that see beyond. It is they, who come up with solutions, rather than regurgitate the same excuses, and repeat the same mantras.

So it is us, the few that are spending precious hours, days, months, and even years, to communicate and to learn, that should offer the solutions.

August 10th, 2010, 5:13 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

To Averroes/ Shai/ AP

It would be nice to see your recent comments (125, 126…) on onemideast.org!

Elie

August 10th, 2010, 9:47 am

 

norman said:

Shai,
Didn’t Abbas and the Palestinians in the West Bank do all the things you want , what did that get them , More settlements !,

August 10th, 2010, 10:52 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

The Palestinians is/are a very difficult issue, precisely because they’re not one unit. If Israel and the U.S. had recognized (as they should have) the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in January 2006, in the form of Hamas, today we would be somewhere else I believe. But at the moment, the Palestinian people are divided at least into four – PA-lead, Hamas-lead, Palestinian-Israelis, and Palestinians in the Diaspora. In the end, all four must be part of the solution. So it doesn’t do Israelis much good when they see Abu Mazen (de facto an Israeli and American puppet) smiling and talking about Peace, while Qassam missiles land atop Sderot in the South, or while Hamas in Damascus is calling for kidnapping West Bank settlers.

It would be very different, if Assad addressed Israelis directly, or the Saudi King, etc. But in general, you are correct. I do believe Abu Mazen cannot do more.

Elie,

🙂

August 10th, 2010, 11:40 am

 

norman said:

shai,
signs of good well can come from Israel too , like promising the Golan , that is if they really mean peace

August 10th, 2010, 12:14 pm

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

90. “The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes suggested—that it is a European “enclave” in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late.” tj

even though israel is an anachronism, judt could not say “israel has no right to exist”.

good jews are good only so far. those who are truly good, ie, have become human, have left judaism and have declared israel to have no rights to exist. not just old fashioned.

if he did, i apologize.

August 10th, 2010, 12:44 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

NORMAN @ 130.

Its basically the old “bait ans switch” game that Israelis have been playing for the past 60 years.

They are forever THE PEACE side its that the OTHER SIDES that are always bickering.

If Israel is really committed to PEACE. they would immediately sign a peace accord with Gaza separately and the West Bank separately according to the original UN Resolutions that created all these entities. This would allow the Palestenians work out
their own problems.

They then can negotiate with each other or start killing each other. As far as the Golan Height is concerned they can do what they preach as peace and just vacate the Golan with no conditions whatsoever or face the consequences at a future time when the Syrians decide to take it back by using the same methods Israel used to take it over in the first place.

Everyhting else is the same old bulls#,t.

August 10th, 2010, 12:54 pm

 

Shai said:

Ghat,

But I can say exactly the same about your side. You are forever “the peace side”, and Israel is always playing “bait and switch”.

If you are “really committed to peace”, you’d immediately stop supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran. You’d immediately recognize Israel, sign a peace accord with her, and THEN receive your land back. You won’t demand these things in advance.

Don’t you see how we’ll remain stuck like this forever? And only keep shedding blood until our children, or their children, will realize all we did was tie the Gordian Knot more and more by blaming the other side?

Norman wants Israel to prove her sincerity by stating, in advance and loud-and-clear, her readiness to withdraw from the Golan. I want Syria to prove her sincerity by stating, in advance and loud-and-clear, her readiness to stop supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran.

So how do we move forward Ghat? Do we come up with other options, or do we go to war?

August 10th, 2010, 4:51 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

Cute Shai but it does not wash. In a fight between a “weak” opponent and a “strong” opponent does not put conditions on the weak first or is it not more logical for the “strong” to make the first commitment.

Why is it hard for your people to accept the fact that it is Israel that is occupying Arab lands and imprisoning Arbs in gulags than the other way around.

Who is stopping the Isrealis from continually extending its territory by settlements and occupation of the territory of others.?

Do you rationally believe that you can push individuals into a corner and demand from them that they first accept your way of doing things before you do them? what is stopping you from doing the right thing? Hamas, Hezballah, the atomic weapons and missiles they have and threten you with?

That old Polish farmer may have put it in memorable words when he is quoted as saying, “a Jew will keep crying tears as he continues to hit a non-jew in the face repeatedly”.

Given this logic the end is quite predictable in time no matter how long it takes Israel as it is in 2010 will no longer exist. Which in other words means that Israel’s continued existance as it is now is in the hands of others for the most part.

August 10th, 2010, 5:29 pm

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Chris Hedges: It’s Israeli Officials Who Are Terrorists
Those who send tanks and fighter jets to bomb the concrete hovels in Gaza with families crouching, helpless, inside — they are the terrorists.

August 9, 2010

Chris Hedges made these remarks Thursday night in New York City at a fundraiser for sponsoring a U.S. boat to break the blockade of Gaza. More information can be found at http://www.ustogaza.org.

When I lived in Jerusalem I had a friend who confided in me that as a college student in the United States she attended events like these, wrote up reports and submitted them to the Israel consulate for money. It would be naive to assume this Israeli practice has ended. So, I want first tonight to address that person, or those persons, who may have come to this event for the purpose of reporting on it to the Israeli government.

I would like to remind them that it is they who hide in darkness. It is we who stand in the light. It is they who deceive. It is we who openly proclaim our compassion and demand justice for those who suffer in Gaza. We are not afraid to name our names. We are not afraid to name our beliefs. And we know something you perhaps sense with a kind of dread. As Martin Luther King said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and that arc is descending with a righteous fury that is thundering down upon the Israeli government.

You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you. We will keep working and praying, keep protesting and denouncing, keep pushing up against your navy and your army, with nothing but our bodies, until we prove that the force of morality and justice is greater than hate and violence. And then, when there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive … you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children even if you did not find it in your heart to bless the children of those you occupied. And maybe it is this forgiveness, maybe it is the final, insurmountable power of love, which unsettles you the most.

And so tonight, a night when some seek to name names and others seek to hide names, let me do some naming. Let me call things by their proper names. Let me cut through the jargon, the euphemisms we use to mask human suffering and war crimes. “Closures” mean heavily armed soldiers who ring Palestinian ghettos, deny those trapped inside food or basic amenities—including toys, razors, chocolate, fishing rods and musical instruments—and carry out a brutal policy of collective punishment, which is a crime under international law. “Disputed land” means land stolen from the Palestinians. “Clashes” mean, almost always, the killing or wounding of unarmed Palestinians, including children. “Jewish neighborhoods in the West Bank” mean fortress-like compounds that serve as military outposts in the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. “Targeted assassinations” mean extrajudicial murder. “Air strikes on militant bomb-making posts” mean the dropping of huge iron fragmentation bombs from fighter jets on densely crowded neighborhoods that always leaves scores of dead and wounded, whose only contact with a bomb was the one manufactured in the United States and given to the Israeli Air Force as part of our complicity in the occupation. “The peace process” means the cynical, one-way route to the crushing of the Palestinians as a people.

These are some names. There are others. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish in the late afternoon of Jan. 16, 2009, had a pair of Israeli tank shells rip through a bedroom in his Gaza apartment, killing three of his daughters—Bessan, Mayar and Aya—along with a niece, Noor.

“I have the right to feel angry,” says Abuelaish. “But I ask, ‘Is this the right way?’ So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate.”

“Whom to hate?” asks the 55-year-old gynecologist, who was born a Palestinian refugee and raised in poverty. “My Israeli friends? My Israeli colleagues? The Israeli babies I have delivered?”

The Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali wrote this in his poem

“Revenge”:

At times … I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
into
a narrow country.

And if he killed me,
I’d rest at last,

and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!

*

But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who’d put
his right hand over
the heart’s place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they’d set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.

*

Likewise … I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn’t bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.

Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbors he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school …
asking about him
and sending him regards.

*

But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbors or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I’d add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.

Instead I’d be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge.

And if these words are what it means to be a Muslim, and I believe it does, name me too a Muslim, a follower of the prophet, peace be upon him.

The boat to Gaza will be named “The Audacity of Hope.” But these are not Barack Obama’s words. These are the words of my friend the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. They are borrowed words. And Jerry Wright is not afraid to speak the truth, not afraid to tell us to stop confusing God with America. “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands [killed] in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

Or the words of Edward Said:

Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship.

For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits. Personally I have encountered them in one of the toughest of all contemporary issues, Palestine, where fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.

And some of the last words of Rachel Corrie to her parents:

I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: “This is the wide world and I’m coming to it.” I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside. When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.

And if this is what it means to be a Christian, and I believe it does, to speak in the voice of Jeremiah Wright, Edward Said or Rachel Corrie, to remember and take upon us the pain and injustice of others, then name me a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.

And what of the long line of Jewish prophets that run from Jeremiah, Isaiah and Amos to Hannah Arendt, who reminded the world when the state of Israel was founded that the injustice meted out to the Jews could not be rectified by an injustice meted out to the Palestinians, what of our own prophets, Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein, outcasts like all prophets, what of Uri Avnery or the Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, who writes in his poem “Rypin,” the Polish town his father escaped from during the Holocaust, these words:

These creatures in helmets and khakis,
I say to myself, aren’t Jews,
In the truest sense of the word. A Jew
Doesn’t dress himself up with weapons like jewelry,
Doesn’t believe in the barrel of a gun aimed at a target,
But in the thumb of the child who was shot at—
In the house through which he comes and goes,
Not in the charge that blows it apart.
The coarse soul and iron first
He scorns by nature.
He lifts his eyes not to the officer, or the soldier
With his finger on the trigger—but to justice,
And he cries out for compassion.
Therefore, he won’t steal land from its people
And will not starve them in camps.
The voice calling for expulsion
Is heard from the hoarse throat of the oppressor—
A sure sign that the Jew has entered a foreign country
And, like Umberto Saba, gone into hiding within his own city.
Because of voices like these, father
At age sixteen, with your family, you fled Rypin;
Now here Rypin is your son.

And if to be Jew means this, and I believe it does, name me a Jew. Name us all Muslims and Christians and Jews. Name us as human beings who believe that when one of us suffers all of us suffer, that we never have to ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us all, that the tears of the mother in Gaza are our tears, that the wails of the bloodied children in Al Shifa Hospital are the wails of our own children.

Let me close tonight with one last name. Let me name those who send these tanks and fighter jets to bomb the concrete hovels in Gaza with families crouching, helpless, inside, let me name those who deny children the right to a childhood and the sick a right to care, those who torture, those who carry out assassinations in hotel rooms in Dubai and on the streets of Gaza City, those who deny the hungry food, the oppressed justice and foul the truth with official propaganda and state lies. Let me call them, not by their honorific titles and positions of power, but by the name they have earned for themselves by draining the blood of the innocent into the sands of Gaza. Let me name them for who they are: terrorists.

August 10th, 2010, 5:35 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai,

1) Poll
2) Poll
3) Poll

: )

Then we can all find out what works and what does not.

August 10th, 2010, 6:44 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

ENJOY RAMADAN
I hope this Ramadan would be different,I hope all muslems enjoy it,it is a wonderfull month .

August 10th, 2010, 8:19 pm

 

Norman said:

Ghat ,

I agree with you , what they want is surrender and will see what kind of grumps we can give you if you behave , after all this time , they do not recognize that the real Arabs do not surrender , their motto is , (( What is mine is mine and what is yours we might share or i will keep to myself )),

Israel can not take one defeat so if the Crusades stayed for 200 years then left and all Europa was behind them , we still have time, What is the rush ,

August 10th, 2010, 9:25 pm

 

Norman said:

look at this ,

Liberal Islam and Joan of Arc in Syria
August 10, 2010, 9:53PM

Although the United States destroyed the most secular government in the Middle East with its genocidal invasion and occupation of Iraq, Syria still remains as a last lonely outpost of religious moderation among so many racist and theocratic rogue-nations like Israel and Iran, and while the recent French initiative to ban the burqa was denounced by liberal pundits from Weston-Under-Lizard to Honolulu, Syria quietly liberated hundreds of thousands of muslim women from the miserable mask-gag-muzzle-suffocation of the niqab.

Banned in Syrian schools and universities!

Syria has banned the niqab, the Islamic head scarf that covers the face and leaves an opening for the eyes, from its private and public universities in an effort to protect the country’s secular identity, a Foreign Ministry official said Monday. The ban does not affect the hijab, the head scarf that does not cover the face, which many Syrian women wear.
“Syria is adamant about its secularism,” says Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “If the next generation is going to be raised to embrace the strict Islamic values for which the niqab is the expression, it will undermine the project Syria is trying to build, of secularism and coexistence of religions. ”
And as revolutionary as this ban may appear to repulsive misogynists masquerading as “Islamic scholars,” it nevertheless recalls one of the most glorious episodes of emergent Syrian nationalism in the Twentieth Century.

In 1920, a 21-year old girl from Damascus defied tradition and took off her milaya (traditional, full-length veil) when volunteering to fight in the Syrian army against the invading French army. She paraded through the streets of Damascus unveiled, with a rifle strapped on her shoulder, creating shockwaves throughout conservative circles of the Syrian capital.
Moderates and seculars hailed her as the Syrian Joan of Arc while she defended her action saying that she was off to battle, defending her homeland from occupation – the noblest deed on Earth – and not unveiling to attract or seduce the opposite sex. The wives of the Prophet Mohammed, she reminded her critics, had participated in battle with him unveiled.

This was Naziq al-Abid, and her story didn’t end with a “wardrobe malfunction” in Damascus.

She fought at the infamous battle of Maysaloun on July 24, 1920, where the Syrian Army was crushed, and tried but failed to heal the wounds of General Yusuf al-Azma, the minister of war who was killed in combat. Faysal promoted her to the honorary rank of general in the Syrian Army. She was the first woman to attain such a title.

In 1921, she became President of the Syrian Red Cross and in 1922, founded her own organization, modeled on the international Red Cross, and called it the Red Crescent. In 1925-1927, she took up arms in the Syrian Revolt against the Mandate, living the life of an outlaw in the Ghutta orchards surrounding Damascus. In 1928, Abid was pardoned, returning to Syria to co-founded the Damascene Women Awakening Association.

August 10th, 2010, 10:39 pm

 

Jad said:

Happy Ramadan to all

OTW, Norman,
Thank you both for the beautifull articles you post.
The great Syrian woman story is so inspiring.
Naziq AlAdid, Thank you!
We need more women like her.

August 11th, 2010, 1:21 am

 

Shami said:

Thank you Jad

August 11th, 2010, 2:35 am

 

Shai said:

Dear Ghat and Norman,

You don’t have to like it, or agree with it, but in reality most Israelis feel that what you ask of them is, to “surrender”. I don’t agree with it, but fact is that most do think this way. They see giving back land as “surrendering” to terrorism, to violence, to whatever. They don’t see it as “doing what is right”, or demonstrating their aspirations to live in peace with their neighbors.

Ghat, do you honestly expect Israelis to view their action as that of a cruel occupier and jail warden? Can’t you see how most Israelis rationalize their action, just as you rationalize your resistance? No, I’m not saying the Arabs are occupying Israeli lands, nor that the situation is equal. To me, it is clearly not.

Do not feel that Israelis are unafraid or dismissive of those $10 rockets. You correctly ask “how can you feel threatened?”, and yet, most Israelis do! It is about psychology, not about facts. You can’t talk facts in this discussion. It is irrelevant, no matter how clear the facts are to you (or to me).

The reason 70% of Israelis changed their minds in 1977, and voted FOR returning the Sinai to Egypt, isn’t because they woke up one bright morning and realized it was them that occupied Egyptian land, and not the other way around. They didn’t suddenly recognize who was strong, and who was weak. What did happen, was that Saddat’s unexpected approach caused an emotional response, a much needed “break” in the rational and irrational spheres of emotions that determined up until that point what and how things Israel did, which brought about readiness and willingness to think clearly once again. And, soon thereafter, to do what’s right. To give back the Sinai.

There’s no reason Israel and Israelis can’t be there again. We’ve already shown that we also know how to give back territory that isn’t ours. We can and we will do so again, with the Golan, and with the West Bank.

I’m not asking you to capitulate, to give up on anything on your side. I’m not suggesting you dump Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. I’m not suggesting you come crawling to Israel, begging for Peace. Don’t confuse my call for open and more direct communication with surrender. I think you can achieve far more, without surrendering.

Btw, to make it perfectly clear, I have endless criticism towards my own government, and my own people. Don’t think I’m absolving them of any responsibility. I’m not. But in this forum, I’m talking to the “other side”, not to my own people. So I’m talking to you about what I think you could or should do. I believe you know my views quite well, about what Israel should do.

August 11th, 2010, 4:32 am

 

Norman said:

Shai,

Israel in the seventies had a moral compass , until the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 Israel never attacked civilians intentionally , they used to feel guilt when civilians die , after the peace treaty with Egypt , they do not care , they make excuses , what happened on the Turkish ship is clear , the old Israel would have felt guilt for the incidence , apologized and show regret as unfortunate deed took place because of the fear that young soldiers have in the time of stress and move on , instead Israel today showed no concern for the Turkish civilians and start making excuses , that is not the same Israel that used not to attack civilians in any of it’s wars ,
The current day Israel is arrogant with disregards to others ,

The long occupation and the intifada is probably doing something to the Israeli Psyche and making them paranoid , that is going to be hard to change

August 11th, 2010, 7:14 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

You don’t know how much I agree with you. But I can’t allow myself the luxury of giving up. And yes, I do allow myself the luxury (and chutzpah) of asking you to help us.

August 11th, 2010, 7:46 am

 

Norman said:

Shai,

I am glad that there are people like you who are working to make Israel a loved , not feared country , I hope that your side wins , I really do ,

August 11th, 2010, 7:54 am

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

SHAI AND FRIENDS.

Me and my friends want “real” peace. We also want to keep all the lands we have taken from the West Bank, the Golan Heights, our right to fly over your territory on a daily basis, as well aa our right to imprison millions of you for many a year and last but by no means “least” our right to punish you with all the military action of our “defense forces” to deny you any rights to defend yourselves and to for ever claim that our rights are in violate.

Can any one sane person come to any other conclusion than what the Polish farmer is quoted as saying about his jewish neighbor that he “continually cries as he aggressively beats his non jewish neighbor habitually”

Napoleon, Hitler and several others aspired to make themselves rulers over many a people. How they ended up is well noted in
history books.

August 11th, 2010, 7:56 am

 

Shai said:

Ghat,

I don’t quite follow what you’re saying. Are you suggesting I think this way? I hope you understand the difference between Israelis that are calling for your capitulation, and those who are not.

Also, I hope I misunderstood you, and that you’re not suggesting Jews have an innate problem. Most of the Jews in America, for instance, are far more liberal than the average Israeli today. I hope you view the problem as one with Israel, and not with Jews.

August 11th, 2010, 8:32 am

 

Nour said:

Norman,

I don’t understand how you can say what you said in 143. “Israel” has always been a criminal, terrorist state since its very inception. It was founded by gangs of thugs that went around butchering and massacring civilians in order to clear the area so they can build a purely Jewish state. Go tell the residents of Sa’sa’, Tantoura, Lifta, Deir Yassin, etc. that “Israel” had a “moral compass”. Also tell the people of Kfar Qibya who saw 60 of their villagers massacred in 1953. What about the thousands of civilians killed and the hundreds of thousands of refugees created in 1967. Also remember what they did to the Golan and South Lebanon. Why don’t we remind the residents of Houla in South Lebanon how “moral” “Israel” was when 80 of their civilians were brutally slaughtered by Jewish terrorists.

As for your foaming praise of Shai, I’ll remind all that “Israel” will never be a “loved” country, because it is a criminal entity by its very nature. And I can assure you that its days are numbered. It is just sad to see there are those among our people who are so quick to fall for deceptions and lies only because they feel struggle is too difficult. As Antoun Saadeh once said, “woe to the surrenderers who refuse struggle, and thus refuse freedom, and are thereby granted slavery, which they rightly deserve.”

August 11th, 2010, 11:26 am

 

Shai said:

Nour,

You make me laugh. You call us all criminals and murderers, and yet you say nothing about the same in the Arab world. Not only do you say nothing, but you continued to carry on perfect diplomatic and economic relations with regimes that killed no less than Israel ever has. Where was your conscience in Saddam’s Iraq? Or in Sudan? Where’s your conscience when it comes to vast human rights abuse throughout the region?

Keep your moral lectures inside your quotes, unless you’re ready to do away with your own hypocrisy as well.

August 11th, 2010, 11:46 am

 

Nour said:

Shai,

You are now peddling the same propaganda that AP and the likes spew on here. There are human rights issues, as well as other social problems, in every nation, which are internal issues that such nations must deal with. Who said I never said anything about Saddam or other dictators responsible for oppressing their own people? This is pure nonsense. Yet, this is not the same as the nature of the state of “Israel”. The fact that Sudan may have a dictator does not delegitimize Sudan as a natural entity. It merely underscores the need for the people of Sudan to establish a better system, that is more representative of their interests. This is not the case with “Israel,” which is a purely artificial entity whose very existence is based on the murder and ethnic cleansing of an entire other people. It is a racist, cancerous entity by its very nature, as it is founded on the idea that Jews have an exclusive right to this land which they must conquer and cleanse of all indigenous inhabitants. As long as you do not recognize that this land belongs to its indigenous people and that only THEY have a right to determine its destiny puts you in the same category as AP in my book, all your attempts at making the Jewish state of “Israel” more palatable to us notwithstanding.

August 11th, 2010, 1:52 pm

 

Jihad said:

Nour,

Norman seems to have lost his own compass if not something else too! He should at least read Walid Khalidi’s From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948 and All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948

August 11th, 2010, 2:54 pm

 

Shai said:

Nour,

I know of no chemotherapy to your “cancerous” problem of Israel. If you cannot accept the concept of an Israel in this region, then of course we have nothing to talk about. But don’t expect anyone in my country, liberal peacenik or conservative anti-peacenik (I understand you see us as the same) to reach your unrealistic conclusions about what should happen next. Israel is already a fact. Go explain to your leaders why you think they’re wrong. Because, it seems, they’ve already accepted this fact much more than you have.

In four Arab Summits, since 2002, twenty-six Arab nations unanimously declared their readiness to accept Israel, to normalize relations with Israel, if Israel would withdraw to the 1967 lines, and find an acceptable solution to the refugees and E. Jerusalem. None of those 26 nations mentioned “cancerous entity”. What is it they don’t see or understand, that you do, Nour?

August 11th, 2010, 2:55 pm

 

Nour said:

Jihad,

I agree.

Shai,

Arab leaders do not represent our nation or express our national character. The Syrian nation has taken its stand, and it’s only a matter of time before every inch of our people’s land is returned to its rightful owners.

August 11th, 2010, 3:11 pm

 

Shai said:

Nour,

“Arab leaders do not represent our nation”

Do you mean they don’t represent Syria? Funny, President Assad was one of those 26 leaders. What I try to tell my people, is that Syria specifically (unlike most of the other Arab nations), has stated in almost every way possible its readiness to accept Israel. And you know what’s even more puzzling? That your view isn’t even shared by Iran, Hezbollah, or Hamas! President Assad himself said on a recent interview that despite knowing Syria’s stance on peace with Israel, none of them rejected it.

Since I recall that you believe in a Greater Syria, which includes every last inch of Palestine, I am not surprised you referred to it as “our people’s land”.

I agree with you on only one thing, it seems. That Israel must accept that it has taken land that isn’t hers, and that it must give it back. We differ, of course, on how much land. Even if I agreed with you, that it should be 100% of the land, it is simply not a realistic possibility. Do you see 5.8 million Jews starting to board flights out of Ben-Gurion Airport? At 300 passengers per flight, that’s over 19,000 flights!

Jokes aside, I really do think you’re being unrealistic.

August 11th, 2010, 3:38 pm

 

Nour said:

First, I’m not here to convince you of how realistic I am. Second, it didn’t seem like the flight of millions of people mattered to Zionist Jews when they uprooted and ethnically cleansed the Palestinians. Third, the interest of the nation is represented by those who express the national spirit and who carry the light of the renaissance, and not by any particular political party or ruling regime.

August 11th, 2010, 4:14 pm

 

Averroes said:

Shai,

Thanks for your reply. Sorry I could not reply earlier.

Facts can change, Shai, and new facts can replace old facts. What we cannot accept is the inherit racism that is Zionism. By definition, Palestinians are “foreign” in the country of their roots. This is racism and we cannot accept it. We also will not beg for peace.

If Israelis change their Zionist dogma, and adopt a One State for all its citizens, then we can truly begin to forget the past, and put hand in hand and work together for a new, very bright future. I know you won’t like this resemblance, but to most Arabs, asking them to make peace with Zionism seems very similar to asking Jews making peace with Nazism. Nazism had to be defeated first, and then countries of the world were able to make peace again with the German people and truly turn the page.

Palestinians who were terrorized into leaving their homeland have every right to Return to their homeland. Bashar Al-Asad (and the other Arab leaders) placed the Right-of-Return as one of the conditions for Peace in their initiative, so when that initiative is mentioned, one should keep that in mind.

I’m sorry, Shai, there is just no way Arabs are going to surrender their rights. If you want Peace, the way is clear, fair, and obvious. One State, and no one gets thrown in the Sea, and we all live as equals. If you don’t want to pay the price, then we will not have Peace. If it takes 200 years? So be it. The non relenting Israeli belligerence will guarantee that the issue remains fresh for a very long time.

August 11th, 2010, 4:25 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

Averroes well said, concise and prophetic.

This game of one day they’re Israelis and not Zionists and/or Jews but not Zionists has run its course.

Again well put simply and direct.

August 11th, 2010, 5:46 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman,I am shocked, all my life and I saw Israel commiting crime after crime,including killing kids, steeling lands behaving arrogant, what happen to you ?
Nour I am glad you are on Syria comment.
Israel is the cause of most Evil in the ME.

August 11th, 2010, 8:37 pm

 

Norman said:

Majid,

I must be much older than you are as Israel in 67 and 73 wars did not intentionally kill civilians , they started punishing civilians in the eighties and thereafter , and when a country intentionally harm others not in self defence and not feel guilty about it then that country has lost it’s morals ,

I can see from the exchange above why the Israelis do not trust us , they see what we write and want and expect to be deported as apparently we do not see any right for them to be in the Mideast , let me surprise you all , they have that right , they left when they were evicted by the Romans and in their diaspora they kept their religion that kept them united and kept their tribe probably more pure than any of us who live in the West , and as i like and believe that my kids have the right to return to Syria in the future and be equal so do they ,what they do not have the right to is to evict the Palestinians who have stayed there all these years ,

Averroes,

About having one state for all , that is beautiful but does not solve the problem that the Jews had through history of nations considering them foreign and treating them with discrimination , Israel for them is the refuge that they need and the world need to tell them when they complain about discrimination to go to it is their country to solve the problem of no country for the Jews ,

Shai ,
The way Israel is behaving is producing more radicals than making friends , the worse Israel treat the Palestinians and i mean all Palestinians the more support for arms and resistance will be , i do not see how Israel is becoming safer with the way they treat the Palestinians and the Lebanese and the Syrians , interfering in Lebanon killing and starving the Palestinians everyday ,

Shai , the longer the conflict continue the more of people like Nour Jihad and majid who do not want any peace with Israel ,you will see ,

It is time to take your chances with the likes of me and others who would rather sharing the loaf of bread than letting it rot ,

do I think that Israel will see the light in time , I doubt it as i see no visionary leaders in your side ,

1967 borders with some modification , settling the Palestinians , including my mother where they are and a massive economic and educational assistant to the palestinians and all the countries in the Mideast with easy immigrations to the US , Canada , and Australia ,no interference of Israel in others affair is the best that we can hope for ,

August 11th, 2010, 9:42 pm

 

Nour said:

Norman,

Do you really need us to list all massacres committed by “Israel” prior to the 1980’s? I am sure you know better, and I am therefore surprised you would state such a clear myth.

As for Jewish fears of being unaccepted in other countries, this is nonsense. All nations in the world had issues with civil and human rights affecting a multiplicity of peoples and groups. To make this issue so uniquely Jewish is ludicrous. Moreover, none of these peoples today would be deemed to have a right to take someone else’s land and create a country of their own on it. In addition, what is the fear that Jews have today, whether in Europe or the US? They are treated as equal citizens and afforded all rights and duties under the law. So what is the purpose then of having a Jewish state? The fact is that the idea of the Jewish state has nothing to do with Jewish suffering worldwide, but is deeply rooted in Jewish ideology, regardless of the situation of Jews in other countries.

Finally, your readin of history does not match reality. First, the original Hebrews entered this land as foreigners and soon became invaders, as they attempted, at that time, to displace the indigenous inhabitants, and create a state exclusively for themselves. The Jews were never the first, the original, or the exclusive inhabitants of this land. In fact, hey first entered this land more than 1200 years after the Canaanites had built a civilization on it. Jerusalem itself was built over a thousand years before the first Jews ever saw it. They therefore certainly do not have an exclusive right to the land. Second, the majority of Jews today are not descended from the original Hebrews, but are later converts. And third, to claim that Jews have a right to their own state on our land because a Jewish minority lived there thousands of years ago is so absurd that it would be similar to claiming that Jews would have an exclusive right to New York in a thousand years from now because there are currently Jews living there.

August 12th, 2010, 3:03 am

 

Jad/2 said:

“..they started punishing civilians in the eighties and thereafter”

http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/IS3202_pp084-120_Slater.pdf

Astonishingly, in a 1978 response to Israeli criticism of recent attacks in Lebanon, Gen. Mordechai Gur, then chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and later a leading Labor Party politician,
openly acknowledged what can only be described as Israeli state terrorism: “I’ve been in the army thirty years. Do you think I don’t know what we’ve been doing all those years? What did we do the entire length of the Suez Canal? Amillion and a half refugees. . . .

Since when has the population of South Lebanon been so sacred? They know very well what the terrorists were doing. . . . I
had four villages in South Lebanon bombed . . . [as, he says, was done in Jordan].” The Israeli interviewer then comments, “You maintain that the civilian population should be punished?” Gur
responds, “And how . . . I have never doubted it. . . . For thirty years . . . we have been ªghting against a population that lives in villages and towns.” Interview with Gur in Al Hamishar, May 10,
1978. Several days after the Gur statements, Zeev Schiff, for many years the leading Haaretz military correspondent, commented, “In South Lebanon we struck the civilian population consciously,
because they deserved it. . . . The importance of Gur’s remarks is the admission that the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously . . . even when Israeli settlements had not been struck.” Schiff, Haaretz, May 15, 1978.

August 12th, 2010, 5:22 am

 

Shai said:

Norman,

I agree with everything you wrote. And I thank you for demonstrating empathy (understanding) even, and especially, for your bitter enemy. Few people are capable of this, and it is indeed people like you that can held bring an end to our conflict. It isn’t people like Nour.

You are correct that Israel is showing no sign of heading in the right direction. We are continuing to dismiss allegations against us, to behave arrogantly and criminally. With each day that passes, it seems this only increases. But in a way, we actually ARE headed in the right direction. In the direction of a solution.

Both you and I know that a solution will either happen “nicely”, or be forced upon us. In either case, the direction Israel is headed will bring about a forced solution. As to the Palestinian territories, with each new Jewish home built on their territory, we are one more home closer to a single binational state, a one-state solution. As to the Golan, with every moment that passes, we are nearing a new regional war (not limited just to Lebanon or Gaza), the aftermath of which will undoubtedly bring about a forced solution upon Israel.

The question is really about price – how much blood must continue to spill in the interim period. And about courage – will courageous leaders be found fast enough, who will spare us all of this terrible price we are bound to pay should an all-out regional war take place.

There are cases in modern history, where catastrophes were avoided, precisely because of the ability of certain leaders to empathize (not sympathize) with their enemies! They hated one another no less than the Arabs hate Israel or vice versa. A good example is John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962. They were a hair’s length away from all-out nuclear war.

August 12th, 2010, 5:33 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Averroes in 156 wisely said: “adopt a One State for all its citizens”,

Shai in 162 equally wisely said: “with each new Jewish home built on their territory, we are one more home closer to a single binational state, a one-state solution”.

I may add that the settlements could become instruments of integration between Palestinians and Jews, not segregation; a mixture of Jews among Arabs would be as difficult to unscramble as removing the Palestinian Israelis from Israel.

The more settlements there are the better. Eventually, the demographic realities will evolve the single state solution. The course of nature shall prevail–it is inevitable.

Arabs and Jews better be nice towards each other. They’ll be living together for a thousand years to come!

Elie

August 12th, 2010, 10:25 am

 

5 dancing shlomos said:

israel-usa>>>hariri>>>>syria

south korea-usa>>>cheonan>>>>no korea

and

ye shall know the guilty by their flapping tongues and pointing fingers.

#159, 162, 163. dementia, duplicity, dumb.

August 12th, 2010, 12:41 pm

 

jad/2 said:

Shai: “(If the Arabs are ready for Peace with Israel, then open up your doors to us, invite our leaders to come to your capitals, invite our journalists to come cover your nations for the first time ever, invite cultural exchanges of any level.)”

1- Do you have a historical precedent showing that the strongest made concessions when the weak is nice to him ?

2- This has already been tried. In the 1990s, Israel has benefited from unprecedented normalization. And for what? An even greater colonization of Palestinian territories recognized by international law. (See, http://www.israelpolicyforum.org/commentary/where-israel-going)

3- In your presentation of things about the (real) fears of Israeli citizens the crucial responsibility of the Israeli leadership is not addressed. See Henry Siegman http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/opinion/02iht-edsiegman.html?_r=2&hpw :

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message that the whole world is against Israel and that Israelis are at risk of another Holocaust — a fear he invoked repeatedly during his address in September at the United Nations General Assembly in order to discredit Judge Richard Goldstone’s Gaza fact-finding report — is unfortunately still a more comforting message for too many Israelis.”

4- The fact that “too many Israelis” are very satisfied with the status quo is also not addressed: Beautiful houses at unbeatable prices in the colonized territories for example…

5- Sorry, but Israel’s “Pathology” is also very real matter.
http://www.truth-out.org/1114097

August 12th, 2010, 12:54 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

Interesting as comments by almost all on SC on how
to resolve this or that issue or position might be
about the Israeli/Palestinian question it is in the end
resolved by those directly involved.

The issue that I for one believe is paramount especially
if the intent is to resolve the dilemma by opting for
a so-called “one State” as a priori, the Israelis must be
forced to withdraw all their military from all occupied
territories absent any conditions period.

All Palestinians driven out of their homes/lands as well as
properties and living in adjoining nations such as Lebanon must
be repatriated. Once that is accomplished then the Palestinians
in their own legal state [including Gaza, the West Bank and adjacent occupied areas] may vote on whether to join the UN created
Israeli state. Voters in the UN Israeli created state may also
vote on whether to co-join the Palestinian state.

Not withstanding my semi-legal biases I would be remiss not to
mention that my personal views are just that personal.

August 12th, 2010, 4:05 pm

 

Husam said:

Alex, I am sorry for the late response.

As I said in my comment @ 72 about the Philanthropy initiative you are so fond of, none other than Zionist Rockerfeller and Belinda Gates Foundation are masquerading as torch bearers to doing great work across the globe when they are in fact heavily involved (admitted) mass inoculation with vaccines to control the world population. Did you bother looking at the evidence I presented you?

Alex, what are you suggesting… that Ibn Talal Al Saud should get involved in such despicable acts, or start investing in Homosexual porn? And then we would compare who gave away more? I would prefer a rich looser give none of his money than give it away to harm people. I don’t understand your point @ 74. You are trying to show that Prince A and B are blowing their money away, but how do you know that Prince A & B did not donate hundreds of millions for good cause? And what about the flashy plane the prince flies in (I think he is an idiot BTW), doesn’t Gates have several private planes? You can Google donations Ibn Talal and you will find many large donations which are known. (Again, I still think he is an idiot).

Besides, many Muslims will tell you that there is a better spiritual reward to donate money while staying anonymous. So just because some rich dude doesn’t publicize giving away millions doesn’t mean that he did not.

Alex, I strongly suggest you look a tad deeper and scratch the surface over what the media throws at us in order to understand the true intention and goals of those Zionist & Neo-Cons. The reality doesn’t get uglier than that.

August 12th, 2010, 8:38 pm

 

Husam said:

My two cents regarding the last 50 or so threads, it rather real simple: so long as the Arabs are divided and so long as our lives are controlled by our Zionist masters while they are running the world’s finances and affairs, there will never ever be peace in the M.E. or elsewhere.

About Jews in America being softer than Israelis, it is true to some extent. But in the end of the day, most hold a special bond to Israel. Interestingly Sarkozy’s son married a Jewish girl (wedding bash was in Israel) and Clinton’s daughter married a Jewish boy. Congrats! And even more interesting, none died in a tunnel car crash while running away from the paparazzi.

Cheers

August 12th, 2010, 8:50 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Someone is watching too much CSI: MIAMI

August 13th, 2010, 8:10 am

 

Husam said:

Someone needs to come out of the closet and stop sticking his head in the toilet bowl!

August 13th, 2010, 8:41 am

 

EHSANI2 said:

The two cents which were self-attached to comment 167-168 are not worth even that.

“Zionist Rockerfeller and Belinda Gates Foundation are masquerading as torch bearers to doing great work across the globe when they are in fact heavily involved (admitted) mass inoculation with vaccines to control the world population.”

The latest news from Saudi Arabia is that the population of that country has jumped by 20% since 2005 to 27 million. At this rate, the country’s population will be 100 million in only 34 years from now (4% a year).

Let us fight those population controllers who are preventing God’s work.

“Alex, I strongly suggest you look a tad deeper and scratch the surface over what the media throws at us in order to understand the true intention and goals of those Zionist & Neo-Cons. The reality doesn’t get uglier than that.”

What nonsense. Some believe that they have the intellectual ability to “look a tad deeper” than others. This is what watching too much CSI: MIAMI can do to young minds

August 13th, 2010, 9:47 am

 

Husam said:

Ehsani2 is implying that it is okay to control population by sectretly injecting fertility inhibitors on mankind especially “all” Saudis be radiated or at least their popluation controlled due to their birth rate. Wow, big achievement. Perhaps he wouldn’t mind injecting his family or himself with this not knowing what the side effects are. No mention of India or China’s population… or perhaps Ehansi2 thinks that the Carbon Monixide we exhale is killing the planet.

Ehsani2, I don’t know why Jad comes to rescue such a racist person as yourself. What does CSI: Miami has to do with Bill Gates investing in Homosexual Porn as reported by the LA Times?

Please explain this to our “young minds”.

Ehsani2, one more thing. I think you are a loser for promising not to attack people’s character for no reason and doing exactly that. Alex doesn’t need speech writers and can answer for himself. So do yourself a favour and just ignore me.

I am glad you came out of the closet, no just pull your head out of the toilet and find something interesting to write about.

August 13th, 2010, 1:41 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

I never promised a thing. Plus, I am not attacking characters. I am, however, pointing out childish-conspiracy-obsessed young minds. As for referring to me as racist, the statement speaks for itself and it is best to leave it at that.

August 13th, 2010, 2:24 pm

 

Husam said:

Ehsani2-3-4,

Why do you care to point out “childish-conspiracy-obsessed young minds”? Don’t you think people on SC are old enough to judge for themselves what is credible and what is not. Alex, already told you that he doesn’t believe the official story of 9/11, so to you, he becomes a conspiracy nut?

It seems my comments are worth more than 2 cents because you always seem to be spending so much time responding to them. In my view, pointing out any certain group of people, in this case Saudi Arabians, (aka fellow human beings) and saying we have a problem with all of its citizens because look, they are growing in numbers, is a racist remark by any standard.

As much as I think Israel is occupied land, I would not wish that its citizens (jews or non) be vaccinated to limit their growth. Your true colors came out, but your head is again is still in the toilet.

August 13th, 2010, 3:53 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

الحقوق السورية تنتقد قرار نقل المنقبات ” Aljazeera.net

August 13th, 2010, 4:13 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

EHSANI2,

You said: “The latest news from Saudi Arabia is that the population of that country has jumped by 20% since 2005 to 27 million. At this rate, the country’s population will be 100 million in only 34 years from now (4% a year)”.

You raise a critical issue with far reaching policy implications. To put the effect of your statement in perspective in a country like Saudia, the Arab world in general, two facts may be helpful. The first is this: “In global terms, the Arab countries account for about 5 per cent of world population; this share has approximately doubled over the past 50 years (AHDR, 2002, p.35).

The second is that worldwide: “The poorest fifth of countries have on average 6.5 birth per woman, while the richest fifth of countries have on average 1.7 birth per woman” (William Easterly, The Elusive Quest for Growth, The MIT Press, p.95).

Given Saudi lack of GDP diversification and heavy reliance on oil revenues to import a high proportion of life’s necessities and almost all luxuries, high population growth rates can be a curse. As for Arab non oil producing countries, some 90% of the population of the Arab world, high population growth rates may be described as a double curse.

To defend current high rates of population growth in Saudia and Arab countries and to oppose birth control is asking for more poverty, illiteracy, and disease. Only naive uncaring people would do that.

It is interesting that the Catholic Church and orthodox ulama agree on banning birth control. Orthodox ulama’s objection to contraception is not based upon an explicit Quranic prohibition; rather, on an interpretation of: “Do not kill your children for fear of poverty” (17:31, 6:151). Different interpretation takes the position that poverty might not be the reason for not wanting to have children and that the ayats could be referring to infanticide, not contraception.

It should be noted that while the Catholic Church and orthodox ulama agree on banning contraception there is a significant difference between the two. Catholic rules are not the law in Christian countries while Sharia is the law in Arab countries.

It follows, EHSANI2, that to reduce poverty, illiteracy, and disease in Arab societies family law must become secular. Let’s start by calling for a secular personal status law in Syria, shall we?

Elie

August 14th, 2010, 12:42 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Elie
It may be that some/many people listen to the rigid Ulama regarding birth control. But in this case, It is not the law, birth control pills are available over the counter in KSA. In the US a woman still needs a prescription for that. It becomes a law when it becomes prohibited by the government, who seem not to take a position on the issue.

Birth control problem in the Arab world has much more tribal/ignorance and lack of sex education roots than religious roots. The rigid interpretation is not even accepted by some orthodox scholars. However, abortion is a different issue, and it is more debated even among moderate scholars since there is tendency in Islam to define the notion of when the soul enters the body of the fetus. This is one of the reasons the generally conservative Muslim community in the US is not part of the anti abortion movement. But chose only to enter the debate regarding late term abortion, and took a more moderate position on that, by accepting abortion when the life of the mother is at risk, which is counter to the strict interpretation of may evangelists.

The generally accepted view is that until conception, there is no soul,thus nearly all forms of intervention before conception, except surgical ones are OK. Again, ignorance, and this case, of their own religion and of their rights even in highly patriarchal societies, leaves many women prey to the worst types of fatwas.

Both birth control and abortion are strictly prohibited if the reason is vanity, but Birth control allows economic status to affect the decision (inability to support more children) but not in the case of abortion.

Off course, I do not want to enter the debate about soul and body, but family planning in muslim societies may in fact be more possible than not. It is again an issue of education, education, and education.

August 14th, 2010, 3:59 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Dear Ehsani
I beg to differ. These are not childish conspiracy theories, they are in fact sustained campaigns of misinformation that were initiated by fanatic catholic zealots, and joined by evangelical crazies, and that have led to the death of countless children due to the effects of these vicious, unfounded campaigns of misinformation on critical immunization programs coordinated by UN agencies such as WHO and UNICEF in countries that contribute more than 90% of the 550,000 newborn and infant death/year due to Tetanus.

You are correct in replying strongly, and it is our duties as informed citizen not to let these campaigns propagate falsehoods and misinformation. We should all be repulsed by any attempt to use SC as a place to pass along these murderous campaign disguised, unknowingly or intentionally as criticism of people, who can be criticized for many other things.

One can criticize Warren Buffet for his investments in the groups that led to the artificial grain crisis few years back, also resulting and famine while grain supplies were ample. One can criticize Gill Gates for his pricing policies that are keeping the price of productivity software too high for many college kids, especially in developing countries. But to smear their efforts to reduce infant and children mortalities by linking these efforts to the lies about sterilization, and therefore contribute to the campaign to murder more children by making their mothers refuse vaccination, is not only childish, but borderline unethical and I would say, Un-Islamic for those who profess strong Islamic belief.

يا ايها الذين امنوا ان جائكم فاسق بنبئ فتبينوا ان تصيبوا قوماً بجهالة فتصبحوا على ما فعلتم نادمبن

Here is an Abstract, which is all what I can post from a scientific journal i have access to, without violating copyrights, regarding this specific accusation. If you have access to ISI or web of science, you should be able to get the full article. Any student in NA or Europe should also be able to get it from their university electronic library access.

Damage to Immunisation Programmes from Misinformation on Contraceptive Vaccines

Julie Milstien, P David Griffin and J-W Lee

Reproductive Health Matters, Vol. 3, No. 6, Nov. 1995

Abstract
Tetanus is responsible for 550,000 neonatal deaths globally each year. Tetanus toxoid vaccines are provided through the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund for national immunisation programmes to prevent infant deaths from tetanus. The vaccines are manufactured and controlled under strict standards. Rumours have circulated recently in Mexico, Tanzania, Nicaragua and the Philippines that WHO and UNICEF are using women as guinea-pigs to test a contraceptive vaccine given to them under the guise of tetanus toxoid vaccine. These rumours, apparently initiated by so-called ‘pro-life’ groups, are completely untrue. The vaccines do not contain contraceptive vaccines or any other substance which interferes with fertility or pregnancy and their labelling accurately describes their actual contents. The false claims made by these groups have had an adverse impact on immunisation programmes in all four countries.

August 14th, 2010, 5:31 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

OFF THE WALL,

Thanks for the reply. It is always a pleasure.

You are correct: “It may be that some/many people listen to the rigid Ulama regarding birth control”. This, indeed, is the heart of the problem.

It is a fact that orthodox ulama have a strong hold on the populace and that that hold has been on the rise in recent years. In 2005, for example, while a conference involving 40 Islamic scholars from 21 countries supported population planning, the conferees avoided recommending contraceptives for fear of reprisals from the more conservative ulama.

Population growth in Arab societies continues at very high rates. By 2020, the Arab population is expected to be between 410 million and 460 million. Listening to orthodox ulama is going to exacerbate an already serious situation.

That: “In the US a woman still needs a prescription” is not intended as a hindrance to obtaining birth control devices. Rather, it is a way to prescribing the right type of contraception.

I agree with your solution: “It is again an issue of education, education, and education.”

A secular personal status law would be a step in the right direction, I believe, to reduce the hold of orthodox ulama over their followers and free them from obtrusive control.

Elie

August 14th, 2010, 6:29 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Dear Elie
Thanks once more. Off course, the need for prescription in the US is to guarantee the health of the woman not to restrict the drug, I should have pointed that out and you are absolutely correct in pointing it.

Fully agree on what you wrote. Did you hear about the Royal Decree limiting public Fatwas? it came out a couple of days ago. I have mixed feeling about it, but It is probably a step in the right direction and it should result in regulating some of the outlandish TV fatwas coming out from KSA.

August 14th, 2010, 6:35 am

 

Norman said:

What is wrong by having more people , The US abandoned Taiwan for the sake of China’s market and might abandon Israel for the sake of the Arab market , that is if we know how to play that , we should also recognize that frighten Israel more the Iranian nuclear bomb is the Palestinian Demographic one , our young economies need young people who are in touch and savvy with the world ,

So , the more the better ,

August 14th, 2010, 8:59 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

OFF THE WALL,

Thanks again.

Yes, I have read about the Royal Decree. You are correct. It certainly is a step in the right direction, at last.

The problem of uncontrolled fatawi today is not limited to Saudia. It is also the religious TV shows in Arabic that numb the senses, similar to those farcical Sunday Evangelical comedies in the US and Europe.

Recently, I watched such a show. A purported a’alim was imparting his religious advice and voodoo medicine to what appeared to be pathetic helpless callers from around the Arab world. The cleric must be famous, given the number of questioners. I was in shock at the nonsense this professional shyster uttered, the insincerity apparent in his face and demeanor, at his cynical smile… He invoked the Quran and the Hadith constantly. I do not remember the name of the channel because I was traveling and watched the show by chance at a hotel.

Will the King’s order apply to such crooks? I hope so; But, most probably not. Are there more such trivia on TV. I was told, plenty.

Solution? You put aptly: ““It is again an issue of education, education, and education.” I might add, and I know you would agree, the right kind of education.

Elie

August 14th, 2010, 9:12 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Firing into Israel is an “Israeli Plot” NewZ

Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari said Saturday that “the conflict with Israel will always exist” and stressed that the Lebanese Army’s tough response to recent Israeli actions proves that “Israeli plots against Lebanon have failed completely.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3936054,00.html

August 14th, 2010, 11:00 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Shai,

Why are people risking their lives coming to the “Zionist Project”? Don’t they know Israel is a racist state?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10240699

August 14th, 2010, 11:55 am

 

Shai said:

Akbar,

Nice try. Surely you’re not suggesting that the way to test whether Alabama was a racist state in the 50’s and 60’s would be to check the net influx of blacks. If more blacks entered the state than left it, Alabama (according to your logic) could not be a racist state. Right? Wrong!

First, the African refugees that are risking their lives to reach Israel are probably running to ANY country that is close enough that DOESN’T shoot them upon arrival. They’ve probably heard through rumors that Israel also doesn’t kick them out (although surely it will eventually, as it is about to do with a couple hundred illegal immigrant children, as I’m sure you’ve heard). So to escape the horrors of their homeland today, they’re willing to risk reaching Israel. I strongly doubt they’re Googling “Israel, racism, society”, or have any real notion of Jewish view of non-Jewish Israelis, in particular the Arab ones.

But this has been your argument, as it was AIG’s, for a long time now. You’re saying “Are Arabs in Israel worse off than other states in the region?”, and since in some cases they’re better off economically (certainly not socially), you’re suggesting the claim Israel is a racist society is meaningless. And as I responded to that ridiculous claim in the past, I said that’s like suggesting that since blacks in Alabama have always been better off (economically) than blacks in Africa, then Alabama can’t be a racist state. See the pattern here?

During my years in the States, I had a black friend whose mother was from Liberia, and they had lived there for a while (his father had a job there). They moved back to the States, hoping to achieve an even better life for themselves. But although living in the Midwest, their children did experience enough racist behavior, that their parents decided after just two years to move back to Liberia! When I asked my friend why, he said “At least we know there we’ll be treated as equals…”

So yes, a Mr. Ahmed in Haifa is probably making more than a Mr. Ahmed in Aleppo. But which one feels more equal in his society? Which one feels as a 2nd rate citizen, that is looked down upon by the “White majority”? We’re not talking about Democracy now, we’re talking about Racism.

August 14th, 2010, 2:34 pm

 

Husam said:

Norman:

You see, some SC commentators believe some races are better than others. And while they know fully well the Royal Family in SA is a farce over its people, racism still runs in their veins. They would like to impose their ideological views on others – basically it is backward to have 4-5 children while the west has an average of 1.5. And the more people, the more the earth can be sustainable (hence hungry people, mind you I haven’t met one hungry Saudi). Why don’t we let people be? You don’t hear Arabs telling the Americans or the Swedes how to live or how many children to have. While some would like to view population growth as a curse, other may view it as their personal choice and struggle.

Norman, China the world’s lagest population was frowned upon only decades ago, but look at the power house it is enjoying now (the next century belongs to them).

August 14th, 2010, 3:09 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

One has to be really careful using China’s example, while ignoring that China has had a harsh one child policy that continues to be controversial even to family planning advocates, yes, including some SC commentators:

The Chinese government estimates that it had three to four hundred million fewer people in 2008 with the one-child policy, than it would have had otherwise.Chinese authorities thus consider the policy as a great success in helping to implement China’s current economic growth. The reduction in the fertility rate and thus population growth has reduced the severity of problems that come with overpopulation, like epidemics, slums, overwhelmed social services (such as health, education, law enforcement), and strain on the ecosystem from abuse of fertile land and production of high volumes of waste. Even with the one-child policy in place, however, “China still has one million more births than deaths every five weeks.

(Wikipedia)

August 14th, 2010, 3:21 pm

 

Husam said:

Elie,

“It follows, EHSANI2, that to reduce poverty, illiteracy, and disease in Arab societies family law must become secular. Let’s start by calling for a secular personal status law in Syria, shall we?”

That was a low blow. Contraceptives are available in Syria as far back as my grand mother. Nothing in Sharia law that dictates how many kids one should have. Sharia family law is not the culprit to illiteracy, poverty,… nice try though.

Thank you for coming to rescue your beloved Ehsani2, he seems to always be drowning himself.

OFW:

Elie knew that contraceptives are available in KSA and Syria. He will try and grab anything that fit his BAN-SHARIA rhetoric. I agree that family planning is rarely discussed in our culture and we tend to leave to-whatever! Parents need to be more involved in sex education (which is a taboo till this day unfortunately) to their teenage children. Thank you for clarifying the issue.

August 14th, 2010, 3:28 pm

 

Husam said:

OTW:

China has just started to reap the rewards, and they will put their house in order in the coming decade. They implemented the one-child policy due to absence of any kind of family education in rural areas for a century. In most parts of China, many did not even know what a contraceptive was! But perhaps Elie can blame Sharia Law in China 🙂

August 14th, 2010, 3:40 pm

 

Husam said:

Off the Wall:

With all due respect, anything coming out of the UN is big joke to me. I know I am not alone and more voices are coming out. The UN and all its sister organizations are nothing but a big circus. I think you will find it hard to differ. We tend to forget the realities and who really founded the UN and who owns it.

The science of medicine today is owned and supported by Big-Pharma.

As for the WHO, here is just one example regarding H1N1 vaccinations you will not find on your nightly news report:

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) CITED
FOR PANDEMIC FRAUD: JOURNALISTS MURDERED
AND DEFAMED BY DRUG INDUSTRY CONSPIRACY

London–Drug industry officials are being indicted for conspiring against people worldwide in the fraudulent WHO promoted swine flu campain of 2009. But the conspiracy, in which a third of the officials on the emergency committee are now criminally implicated for conflicting financial interests and promoting the false fright to sell and deploy billions of dollars in risky vaccinations, extends worldwide. In US, one journalist has been murdered and two others’ lives are threatened.

The first journalists to bring the “PharmaWHO” fraud to light, Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz, and Jane Burgermeister, are both in serious jeopardy from BigPhama reprisals. Horowitz has been falsely framed in the recent murder of Britain’s leading
financial whistleblower, Edward Harle; while Burgermeister is fighting against attacks by Austrian government officials instigated by BigPharma operatives.

The companies and officials now indicted for the swine flu vaccination fraud, are the ones Jane and I fingered from the beginning of BigPharma’s corrupt campaign,” Dr. Horowitz, the Editor-in-Chief of Medical Veritas journal, said.”Pharma-bosses’ hit squads are now assassinating journalist/whistleblowers, and have agent provocateurs attacking Burgermeister and me hideously on the Internet and in person.

Fulford, previously with Forbes magazine, is widely known for being personal friends with David Rockefeller. It is common knowledge that David Rockefeller exercises extensive influence over the WHO and pharmaceutical industry–BigPharma–now proven to have defrauded the public to sell billions of dollars in risky, possibly deadly, H1N1 vaccines.

OFW, H1N1 vaccines side effects can take a generation to show up!

August 14th, 2010, 4:04 pm

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Husam
I will not argue or advocate chinese style policy, even with claims of its success, its biggest victims were girls.

I was afflicted with H1N1 last year, and without the vaccine every one in my family and at work would have been afflicted. But a combination of Tamiflu and vaccines, which they took immediately after I was diagnosed saved them from going through the life-threatening flue, especially the young ones.

As for the UN, I do differ, and it is not hard at all to differ with you on this issue. I trust the UN based on personal experience, i know quite few of its staff, and even some rather senior officials in some of its sub-organizations. You are writing based on what you read in selective set of web-sites some of which simply parrot hearsay and conspiracy theories. I am writing based on what I know, intimately and first hand. I may have problems with the security council arrangement, and to some extent with the world bank, although that is changing, but for all other UN sub-organizations, WMO, WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF, FAO, and others, they are fully intergovernmental, and they are doing a great deal of excellent work everywhere. Including in Pakistan, a muslim country suffering a calamity as we sit and debate at the same time UN staff are putting themselves at risk helping in every aspect of this disaster and responding quite well to the needs of the Pakistani people, while we debate conspiracies.

August 14th, 2010, 5:13 pm

 

Norman said:

OTW, Husam ,

Isn’t the Arab world bigger and richer in land and natural resources than china , We still have a long way to go to be 1 Billion , the EU and Japan are in decline according to Rubini who wrote (( Crises Economics ))because of decrease birth rate and longevity of their citizens , and lack of Immigrants ,

August 14th, 2010, 7:33 pm

 

Husam said:

OTW:

We are not debating conspiracies; there are more deaths from the common cold than from H1N1, isn’t this so? There were many, many doctors who themselves refused to take the shot. I am glad you got over it, but I am not sure you wouldn’t have without it. There is nothing wrong with what you did to protect yourself at the onset, but to say that the whole world should take the shot, in my opinion, is a falacy.

Many don’t know that the H1N1 is a deja-vu from the 70’s. This is history repeating itself. Paul Flyn, Vice Chairman, Council of Europe Health Authority said in news report H1N1 ‘false pandemic’ biggest pharma fraud of the century…that ‘the world has been subjected to a stunt, for the own greedy interests of the pharmaceutical companies’. He feels that this has caused mass panic and the stocking up of a vast quantities of needless vaccines. It is now believed that the drug companies have deliberately mislead Governments to the seriousness of Swine flu, to make them stock pile vaccines, this has caused them to buy billions of dollars worth of vaccines from pharmaceutical companies including Baxter, Glaxo Smith Kline and Sanofi Pasteur.

About the UN, I too have family doing great work under the UN umbrella, and I am sure there are some great causes. But the big picture for me remains corrupted. Hunger can be tackled in less than 365 days if we had a legitimate FAO organization.

The results are not as bright as you paint them. The scandals such as rape, murder, oil-for-food, to name a few are inherent in the very structure of the U.N. It could be said that the U.N. itself is the scandal. OTW, I know you see the UN (save for the security council) as an idealistic organization, but the reality is far from that. What about the scandal ridden multi-billion procurement system? Have you heard of this?

OTW, shouldn’t we tell the public (including SC commentators) to think twice before donating their hard earned money to UNIICEF? What about UNICEF’s involvement with child pornography (1000 pictures seized in their basement office) as reported in the New York Times. Or the misappropriation (skimming) of donation monies? UNICEF has not changed since the Reagan administration pulled the plug on funding them. Just after the devastating earthquake in Kashmir (2005) UNICEF committed to build 70 healthcare facilities and 500 schools in all quake hit areas. Last time I read (2009), not a single school or facility has been built.

About the vaccines, it is not theory and it is not rumour, as you seem to indicate, it is found in UN Doc E/ICEF/SR 404 (1970). UNICEF was embroiled several times with inducing abortifacients in its Polio vaccines in Nigeria and Philippines. OFW, I think you will find UNICEF – Guilty as Charged (short booklet) Written by Winifride Prestwich http://www.lifesitenews.com/waronfamily/unicef/unicef.pdf
interesting to read with footnotes.

August 14th, 2010, 11:30 pm

 

Averroes said:

I have another theory with regards to the population growth in Saudi Arabia in particular: there is nothing to inhibit it. In other words it is because the population can afford it.

For the last few decades, it has been the norm in Saudi that whenever a man is reasonably well off, he would take a second wife or more, and have a dozen or more children. Anyone who has lived there must have seen the signature scene of GMC suburbans with what looks like two dozen women and kids inside them. Life’s easy, medical care prevents major disease, and thus the population multiplies. Rapidly.

This is not unique to Muslim cultures. Whenever societies get a break (a period of peace and resource abundance) the population exhibits growth spurs; just look at the baby boomers in North America.

In Saudi Arabia in particular, it is particularly worrisome, because the growth is not sustainable with the country’s natural resources. When the oil riches begin to dry out, unless the population has made quantum leaps in productivity by then (a few more decades), we could be looking at a ticking time bomb.

If the Saudis maintain the current general character of low productivity, incompetence, and extreme dependence on foreign labor, we can expect major (historical) social unrest in the Arabian peninsula come that time. It has every potential of spilling, violently, into neighboring countries, mostly Syria and Iraq.

It would not be the first time either. The Arabian peninsula has produced a number of massive migration waves earlier in history.

All hope is not lost, though. I do see an increasing number of highly educated and aware individuals emerging from Arabia, and I do hope that they will have a good leadership to carry them forward.

August 15th, 2010, 2:10 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

NORMAN

In 181 you asked: “What is wrong by having more people”?

The answer is as follows:

With less than $2,000 in average annual per capita GDP and with low and declining water resources, rapid population growth in Arab lands is a curse–famine could affect certain parts in the not too distant future.

The situation is particularly serious in the large and heavily populated non-oil producing countries. These, will sooner or later have neither the water to grow the food they need nor the exports to earn the foreign currencies to import the food they require. The rich oil producers will enjoy a period of reprieve, until world demand for oil dwindle and financial reserves vanish.

I’ll briefly touch upon recent food and water issues in Saudia, Syria, and Egypt.

Saudia

Between 1980 and 1999, 300 billion m3 of water, the equivalent to six years flow of the Nile River into Egypt was used to produce wheat, cereals, and vegetables–15 billion m3 per annum, which is equivalent to the volume of water that Syria and Iraq receive from the Euphrates. Two-thirds of this water was non-renewable. If the extraction does not stop, the non-renewable aquifers will become depleted–sooner than later, I might add.

Food independence is impossible in Saudia. A population of 28 million requires about 28 billion m3 of water annually to grow its food needs. However, Saudia extracts 15 billion m3, or 54 percent. The irrigated lands from non-renewable sources will eventually be abandoned and the investment written off.

Already, in early 2008, the Saudi government declared that purchases of wheat from local farmers would be reduced by 12.5 percent annually, with the aim of relying entirely on imports by 2016.

Saudi Arabia’s desert agriculture confirms that money and water can make even a desert bloom until either the money runs out or the water is depleted.

Syria

Here too food independence is impossible. Syria’s population of about 20 million requires about 20 billion m3 of water annually to grow its food needs. Syria can provide only 15 billion m3 from irrigation and rain combined. The gap will get bigger as Syria’s population grows.

Coupled with Syria’s narrow GDP diversification and dearth in foreign currency sources from exports, food imports would become increasingly difficult to afford.

Since 1988, Syria invested billion of dollars in irrigation projects. I estimate that Land reclamation cost has been very high–$25,700 per hectare. At such cost, it would be impossible to make a reasonable rate of return on the investment, if any at all.

Over-extraction of groundwater has deteriorated Syria’s environment seriously, leading to negative balances in five out the country’s seven basins. Water cut-offs for hours every day are common in many cities, including Damascus.

Reliance on capricious rainfall was not reduced. In 1989, wheat production was 1 million tons; in 1995, it jumped to 4.2 million tons; in 1999, it dropped to 2.7 million tons; and in 2007, it increased to 4.5 million tons. In 2008 it dropped to 2.5 million tons.

Syria would be better off to invest its scarce resources in export industries in order to generate sufficient foreign currencies to buy food in the future instead of continuing to invest in white elephant irrigation schemes.

Egypt

Failure to export low-water using goods and to cut population growth rates substantially will transforms the Nile River into sources of conflict, even war. By contrast, in an economy that is rich, well diversified, and abundant in foreign currency earnings water scarcity should be of little consequence.

Like Saudi Arabia and Syria, food independence is impossible in Egypt. With a population of 82 million, Egypt needs some 82 billion m3 of water to grow the food it needs. Egypt’s annual water volume from the Nile is 55 billion m3. The difference of 27 billion m3 is imported in the form of foodstuffs, quietly.

Like other Arab governments, Egypt does not talk about importing a sizable proportion of its food needs.

With a per capita income of $1,560 in 2007 (at official rates), Egypt is poor. It is desperately dependent on irrigation water. It cannot easily generate the foreign currencies to import additional foodstuffs. Over the past 50 years, Egypt’s population has more than tripled to 82 million. By 2050, Egypt’s population is expected to reach 160 million people.

The Nile is a matter of life and death in Egypt. Egypt’s national security is exposed to the irrigation actions of its upstream riparians. Egypt has threatened its upstream riparians with war if the Nile waters were to decline as a result of irrigation projects in the countries that provides the Nile with water to feed their hungry population.

Ethiopia provides around 55 billion m3 of the Nile’s annual flow, or around two thirds of the flow to Sudan and Egypt. Ethiopia has 200,000 irrigated hectares out of a potential 3.7 million hectares of irrigable land. With a population nearly the size of Egypt, Ethiopia will need to develop a large portion of this land for agricultural use. If Ethiopia irrigates only 500,000 hectares, for example, the flow of the Nile to Sudan and Egypt will drop by 6.25 billion m3 per annum, exacerbating Egypt’s difficulties.

I hope that the above is helpful.

Elie

August 15th, 2010, 4:47 am

 

Off the Wall said:

Husam
you forgot to mention that the halting of vaccination orders issued by the Philippine supreme court were rescinded by the same court. Your sources fail to mention that, I am sure intentionally.

Oil for food scandal was exposed by UN insiders.

Sexual abuse scandals by tow staffers was also exposed by insiders

Furthermore, much of the abuse occurred when the UN listened to the neocon’s pressure and started contracting some of he work previously done by its highly competent staff to contracting companies not much different from Blackwater. This disease is being treated.

The animosity against UNICEF by fundamentalists of every religion and by those holding on to stone age traditions, is well known as the organization manages to expose the catastrophes these fundamentalists bring to children around them, especially with respect to young girls. Sold and bought in marriages, or used in prostitution ring. It is UNICEF that deals with and tries to remedy the destruction these fanatics bring to the lives of their own children. It is obvious why they and those pumping them up would very vocal against UNICEF and other organizations. The article you posted to is but a rant against all forms of family planning, which is very much needed in the areas where UNICEF operates because of the dire poverty brought on by corruption, poverty, oppression, and their mother, religious fundamentalism and father, tribalism.

UNICEF can use donations, but the largest part of their operational budget, as an intergovernmental organization, comes from member states fees. While the monetary contributions of member states are not equal, their vote on how the money is spent is equal with one state, one vote. Off course states can band and form voting blocks like any parliament, and some state resort to pressure and deals to support certain program, but at the end member states vote their own interest in all governing bodies. The only UN body that has permanent membership and veto vote is the security council, and there are many many calls to change this situation and it will change.

Unlike fundamentalists, I do not believe that god will provide for every human being, and history shows that god, no matter what religion you believe in, has not provided for the well fare of people. I have not seen a heavenly flock of angels flying into flood areas in Pakistan bringing much needed relief or god providing Arial satellite photos to the Pakistani disaster management agencies of flooded areas to tell them where to send soldiers to rescue people. But I have seen the UN doing that. UNICEF will have their hands full working post disaster areas, so will its sister organizations trying to rebuild schools, ensure that children, usually the most vulnerable in any society, do not die of hunger, disease and that they do have an opportunity to recover their lives.

I am not an idealist, and the UN is not an idealistic organization, I have seen first hand the politics of the UN and it is politics like any other.

I have one question, did you sleep last night?

Well i know first hand, that very few UN staffers in Pakistan slept last night and the night before, and before…… They and their colleagues in Pakistani army, civil service, and relief agencies are heroes no matter what the politicians do. And I will not sit silent while you accuse them and spread lies about them and their service. Just watch your TV and you will see how difficult their situation is. So instead of cursing them, LEND THEM A HAND

August 15th, 2010, 6:05 am

 

Norman said:

Elie,

How about desalinating projects , wouldn’t that solve the problem of water ,

August 15th, 2010, 6:07 am

 

Norman said:

OTW,

The problem with the UN and it’s agencies is that they are hostages to donor countries , it would be better to make it a real world agency by funding it directly from the people with a 1% sale tax worldwide ,

August 15th, 2010, 6:20 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Husam
First, I must also mention that not only UN IGOs are doing the good work, there is a plethora of NGOs such as save the children, International Medical Corps, Doctors without Border, and many others who are doing heroic work all over the world.

Second,
By the way, did you investigate why these facilities were not built? have you heard of a group called Taliban that is killing and murdering people? or have you heard of the nationalists and tribalists blowing up their countrymen who happen to be from other regions and tribes? How about accusation of corruption inside the country….

UNICEF and WHO can not commit to building anything, UNICEF can resolve to build schools and then it becomes the responsibility of Member States to provide funds for that program, including the wealthy Muslim Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries….. and their Princes who are buying soccer teams all over the world and lavishing unheard off contracts on soccer players. It is also the responsibility of people like you who are asking us not to donate when member states fail to deliver on the commitment they made through UN organizations.

Bare in mind that those attacking the UN are also the same groups attacking the validity of climate change, think of the increasing numbers of weather related disasters in the past few years, and then consider how much stress is many donor countries are under in terms of constantly providing for these disaster relief efforts, while their own budget is being stretched thin by the current economic depression and off course by the criminal wars of Bush and his neocons.

Finally,
It is also not true that the UN did not provide. In every single refugee camp, WHO had a medical tent. The health care cluster had 45 mobile teams on top of that going through the area, despite of the unrest, and delivering much needed health care. These clusters included both IGOs (UN) and NGOs staff.

August 15th, 2010, 6:35 am

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Norman
what a wonderful idea. But when it was even proposed at intellectual level, the same right wingers who spread conspiracy theories about the UN cried, Illuminati and world government.

Husam
Reagan did not pull the plug on UNICEF but withdrew from UNESCO because of UNESCO’s resolution equating Zionism with Racism. It was AIPAC’s handywork. His reduced funding to UNICEF/WHO/UNFP aimed to cut family planning programs. A strategy partially reversed during Bush 1 and Clinton and re-used during Bush II born again crusade against family planning.

Also, one of the major difficulties UN organizations suffer in areas with strict religious and traditional norms is the refusal of men to let their women (sisters, mothers, daughters and wives) be treated by male doctors and medics. It is hard to find female doctors and medics at the needed level….. Go figure, again women are victims of fundamentalism once more even in natural disasters.

WHO and IMC have trained many Pakistani women in the earthquake disaster area to provide some basic services, especially in neonatal care and care of pregnant women and recent mothers.

August 15th, 2010, 6:53 am

 

Norman said:

OTW ,

I like to have a world federation that resemble the system in the US where countries have the same rights as states and two houses where each country will have the same number of senators while the representative are proportional to the population , the federation government will deal with world problems , where countries solve dispute in international court ,not through wars ,

August 15th, 2010, 7:12 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

OFF THE WALL,

What a passionate, humane, and truthful account you have provided. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to correct cheap propaganda circulated around by the forces of darkness.

Like you, I have not seen “a heavenly flock of angels flying into flood areas in Pakistan bringing much needed relief or god providing Arial satellite photos to the Pakistani disaster management agencies of flooded areas to tell them where to send soldiers to rescue people”.

The people of Pakistan have certainly not felt God’s power, care, love, and compassion warning them, let alone sending His/Her brigades of angels of mercy, of the impending disaster either.

Norman,

You asked: “How about desalinating projects, wouldn’t that solve the problem of water”?

In answer, two facts need to be made clear. The first is that an individual requires one cubic meter of drinking water per annum, between 50 m3 and 100 m3 for domestic uses, and about 1,000 m3 for food.

The second fact is that foodstuffs are an encapsulation of water. Food is virtual water. Generally, 1,000 tons of water (1,000 m3) are needed to produce a ton of wheat. 16,000 m3 of water is needed to produce a ton of red meat. A ton of rice requires 3,400 m3 of water to grow; a slice of bread, 40 liters (kilograms); a cup of tea, 30 liters; an apple, 70 liters; and a glass of beer, 75 liters. It follows that the composition of one’s diet determines the volume of water embedded in the food consumed. The more meat in a diet, especially red meat, the more water an individual consumes.

At the national level, over 90 per cent of a country’s overall water use is dedicated to feeding its people.

It should, therefore, be clear that while desalination water is suitable to meet an individual’s drinking and household needs (between 50 m3 and 100 m3 per annum) it is effectively impossible to use desalination water to grow wheat and livestock to feed even a tiny country (1,000 m3 per annum per individual). The volumes of desalinated water would be enormous.

The average annual per hectare water use for all crops in Saudia, for example, is estimated at some 15,000 m3 and in Syria at about 12,000 m3. Figures may vary depending on the source of the data.

Given that Saudia’s annual desalination water volume is around one billion m3, such a volume would meet the food needs of only one million Saudis of 27 million people, or so. Said differently, if Saudia’s one billion m3 of desalinated water is to be used in agriculture, it would irrigate some 67,000 hectares only of one million hectares of irrigated surface, or so.

Further, the cost of desalinated water for use in agriculture would be prohibitive. Today, a m3 of desalinated water cost about $0.5 to produce. To this, the cost of pipelining the water should be added. I estimate that the overall cost of Saudi pipeline transmission of desalinated water is about US$1.30/ m3. Thus, to spend $27,000 [($0.5 + $1.3) x 15,000 m3] in order to irrigate a hectare of Saudi land (of all crops) would be unthinkable.

Elie

August 15th, 2010, 10:01 am

 

Norman said:

Elie,

So the friendship that Syria nurturing with Turkey is essential as that is where the water will come from ,

August 15th, 2010, 10:30 am

 

Husam said:

OFW, you misunderstood my points. I admitted that many, many works of volunteers and organization are doing great work. I still think it is a controlled circus.

You think I am a fundamentalist for thinking that God did, does, and will provide food for everyone. Anything and anybody that doesn’t fit your profile becomes a fundamentalist. Why can’t anybody who has different views on SC and someone who sees things differently be able to express himself without being bombarded with labels like fundamentalist, Islamist, Ulemma worshipper, etc? Or is it only me because I am Muslim who is not secularist?

Perhaps there is unspoken words of understanding on SC that tires any views that don’t fit the secularist ideology, who is not an athiest, or is viewed as a devout Muslim becomes a “fundamentalist” (wrongfully labelled mind you). I am starting to go back a few years and read some of the threads (as far back as 97), I can see a pattern.

OTW, if that is okay with you, I believe that God did provide for all mankind, and there is plenty of food to feed 100 Billion people – only if the blood, the control, the money, the greed and the theft would stop. Just think of what we spend on military industrial complex in every country alone and you will have your answer. What about BIG-Pharma? I am saddened that an intellectual (yes, I think you are an intellectual) such as yourself fails to see the big picture and understand why things are the way they are; instead of blaming the angels, blame the devils. Sorry, I know you don’t believe in devils spiritually, I meant people.

As for the Saudis, they need to understand the huge problem they will face and they must make choices individually to prepare for their future as Averroes beautifully showed and not by mass sterilization like you, Ehsani2 and Elie are advocating. Do you think that people will accept a vaccine, for say polio, when they know it has fertility inhibitors? My point is: stop cheating people.

Lastly, lets say instead of the Zionist-father of the UN, Rockerfeller, Wahabi Al Saud was instrumental in the foundation of the UN, what would your vision of the UN be? Let me guess: Wahabi Indoctrination of the Youth – At Large!

August 15th, 2010, 11:13 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Obama supports the legality if Building mosque near ground zero in N.Y.City. He recognizes that under american law All are equal,and ISLAM, the great and wonderful religion, is equal to other religions,infact Islam is spreading in USA faster than any other religion, every month in Denver we have several Christians convert to Islam,they found that the so called seven century idea is much better than the pre religion ideas that was present 5000 years ago,which someone advocate, Ideas when man was like animals,Religion is a great invention.those who do not believe in God they have frequent depression,however religion is personal thing,should not be forced on other,freedom comes before religion.

August 15th, 2010, 11:23 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Nice try. Surely you’re not suggesting that the way to test whether Alabama was a racist state in the 50’s and 60’s would be to check the net influx of blacks.

Shai,

No, but if you want to bring in other countries into the discussion, that’s OK by me. During the 50’s and 60’s, LOTS of foreigners were BEGGING to immigrate to the racist US. This is because the potential for opportunity far out-weighed whatever racism was found in the US.

Although Israel never had issues with poll taxes, and less so with segregation, Israel has always had to deal with hostile Arab enemies still at war with Israel.

Blacks never claimed the US to be theirs, never surrounded the US with enemy countries that didn’t recognize their existence, and never tried to attack the US.

Compare all you want, racism in Israel has never been as bad as it was in the US and or as bad as it is today in most Arab and Muslim countries.

Israel’s open-door policy to black jews is just another example that counters the anti-zionist charge against Israel of racism.

http://www.meforum.org/370/can-arabs-buy-land-in-israel

If more blacks entered the state than left it, Alabama (according to your logic) could not be a racist state. Right? Wrong!

US racism against blacks was against black American citizens, who were in the US for generations!

First, the African refugees that are risking their lives to reach Israel are probably running to ANY country that is close enough that DOESN’T shoot them upon arrival.

And who is shooting these African refugees Shai? Cat got your tongue? 4 more unarmed African refugees were killed by the Egyptian army. Any word from Turkey? The UN?

The fact of matter is, there’s one standard for Israel, and another standard for Arabs and Muslims.

They’ve probably heard through rumors that Israel also doesn’t kick them out (although surely it will eventually, as it is about to do with a couple hundred illegal immigrant children, as I’m sure you’ve heard).

Like the US, Israel has an illegal immigrant problem because too many people are infiltrating the borders, illegally, and becoming a burden to the two societies.

You’re saying “Are Arabs in Israel worse off than other states in the region?”, and since in some cases they’re better off economically (certainly not socially), you’re suggesting the claim Israel is a racist society is meaningless.

Please don’t put words in my mouth. Racism is never “meaningless”. But it does become meaningless when the finger is only pointed towards Israel. It that case is it no longer an issue of racism, because if it doesn’t work both ways, it become an issue of anti-zionism. So if you can’t criticize the Egyptian government of racism for killing unarmed African refugees but can only criticize Israel for killing Turkish thugs beating Israeli soldiers, then, as I said, the charge of racism becomes moot.

And as I responded to that ridiculous claim in the past, I said that’s like suggesting that since blacks in Alabama have always been better off (economically) than blacks in Africa, then Alabama can’t be a racist state. See the pattern here?

I have never discounted American racism or apologized for it. Every country is guilty of racism to varying degrees. If one is only willing to discuss Israeli racism, they should be prepared to discuss racism in their home country as well. IMHO, Israel has improved over the years and still has room for improvement. What’s the excuse in Arab and Muslim countries?

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/28859

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/odd-numbers/2007/07/26/the-most-racist-country-in-the-western-world/

http://www.thegrio.com/opinion/clean-your-plate-if-it.php

So yes, a Mr. Ahmed in Haifa is probably making more than a Mr. Ahmed in Aleppo. But which one feels more equal in his society? Which one feels as a 2nd rate citizen, that is looked down upon by the “White majority”? We’re not talking about Democracy now, we’re talking about Racism.

Shai,

Mr. Ahmed may have experienced racism in Israel just as I have experienced anti-semitism here in the US. I guess the bottom line is, every person has to determine if they should stay or emmigrate. Whereas your friend emmigrated back to Liberia, I contend that most Arabs stay in Israel just like I stay here in the US. That speaks for something. The only Arabs leaving in great numbers are Palestinian Christians in the Palestinian territories. Does anyone here discuss this? Why not?

Anyway, I do not rule out the possibility that the Israeli population will one day be a majority Arab state. If and when that occurs, I suppose Israel will become a “bi-national” state where Arab and Moslem symbols will be just as important as Jewish ones.

August 15th, 2010, 11:39 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

NORMAN,

You are correct. However, one should not exaggerate Turkey’s ability to allow more Euphrates water pass to Syria and Iraq on a sustained basis, even if the Turkish government wishes to.

Turkey’s phased construction of the giant GAP project in Southeastern Turkey since the mid 1960s and its future expansion plans have rendered the volume of Euphrates River’s flow into Syria and Iraq a function of GAP’s own irrigation needs.

The GAP project involves the construction of 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric power plants on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and their tributaries. It is planned to irrigate over 1.7 million hectares of land and generate over 7,500 MW of installed electricity capacity.

GAP has caused a substantial decrease in the river’s flow into Syria and Iraq. The Euphrates River has an average flow of 1,050 m3 per second, or 33 billion m3 per annum.

On July 17, 1987, a protocol for the distribution of the Euphrates water, seen by Syria as temporary, was signed between Syria and Turkey to release a total flow of 500 m3 per second to Syria and Iraq, or 15.8 billion m3 per annum, or 47.9% of the pre-GAP volume.

On April 17, 1989 Syria and Iraq signed a memorandum, which became effective on April 17, 1990, whereby Syria committed to give 58% of all incoming waters from Turkey to Iraq.

GAP enhanced Turkey’s ability to alter the flow of the Euphrates River into Syria and Iraq; thus, giving the Turkish government a newly found leverage over her two neighbors.

Despite the good relations between Syria and Turkey in recent years, it is yet to be seen if Turkey would raise the 500 m3 per second limit. Needless to say that Syria and Iraq are desperate to receive more water.

August 15th, 2010, 12:16 pm

 

Averroes said:

I remember reading this statement a long time ago, and it goes to this effect: Population control will take place. The question is do we as a species rise to the challenge and carry it out in a conscious manner that prevents loss of life, or do we leave the exercise to Nature to do it through droughts and famine. Either way, there are limits to what an environment can support and there is no fooling that.

August 15th, 2010, 1:14 pm

 

Norman said:

Elie,

Doesn’t Turkey have more rivers in the eastern part of the country that can be channelled to Syria ,

Averroes ,

If that happens , people will immigrate and be like us , better usage of water could help , even if controlling birth is needed it has to be through education not a mandate from the top , people have to do it for their own reasons ,

August 15th, 2010, 1:47 pm

 

Norman said:

look at the risk of war ,

Projection: It’s The Neocons and Likudniks Who Are Suicidal

By M.J. Rosenberg – August 15, 2010, 10:56AM
The internet has been burning up with responses to Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic cover story on the likelihood that either Israel or the United States will preempt development of an Iranian nuclear bomb by attacking its atomic sites.

Goldberg does not flat-out endorse bombing Iran. Rather, after numerous conversations and briefings with US and Israeli officials, he concludes that there is at least a 50-50 chance that bombs will fly in a year or so.

Goldberg himself does not take a position on whether bombing is warranted or justified. But, given the way he frames the article and his personal closeness, to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – who speaks in apocalyptic terms of the existential danger a nuclear Iran poses to Israel – it is clear that Goldberg sees no alternative to preventing an Iranian nuke, by whatever means necessary. And that includes war.

Strangely, however, the article itself makes clear that the ramifications of a military attack could be dire. Here is the Goldberg scenario:

When the Israelis begin to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the formerly secret enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center Esfahan and possibly even the Bushehr reactor along with the other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program, a short while after they depart en masse from their bases across Israel – regardless of whether they succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warheads and missile plants or whether they fail miserably to even make a dent in Iran’s nuclear program – they stand a good chance of changing the Middle east forever; of sparking lethal reprisals and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; and inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysm highs; launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks, as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way; of accelerating Israel’s conversion from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted person into a leper among nations.

That is some worst-case scenario — it basically concedes that Israel and Jews everywhere might pay the ultimate price — especially given that not one of the possibilities Goldberg enumerates is improbable. Read it aloud to anyone and they will assume that it is written by someone who has ruled out the war option. Given all this, why would Israel or the United States even consider risking this set of horrors?

Simple. Because, according to the “Bomb Iran” crowd, a nuclear-armed Iran, would almost surely attack Israel thereby destroying the Jewish homeland once and for all. If one accepts this premise, the hawks have little choice but to, at the very least, consider the bombing option. The attack could be dubbed “Operation Never Again.”

Except the premise itself is wrong, nonsensical even. That is because the one gigantic factor that the hawks a d neocons ignore is that Iran, even if it wants to destroy Israel, can only do so at the price of losing Iran itself. Iran does not yet have a single nuclear weapons. Israel has some 200, including sea based missiles that would give Israel the second-strike capacity that would destroy Iran even after Israel itself is gone.

But, the neocons say they believe that the Iranians are just crazy enough to give up their civilization – and all their people – in exchange for the joy of taking out Israel. No matter that nations don’t act that way. (It is hard to imagine that even Hitler would have initiated the Final Solution if he knew that the price was losing Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich). No matter that Iran under the mullahs has not only avoided taking anything close to suicidal actions but has been a cautious and almost conservative international actor. No matter that the world manages to exist with nuclear weapons in the hands of such truly irrational actors as the North Korean regime and, to a lesser extent, Pakistan’s.

No, the Mad Bombers would have one believe that Iran is unique – given its religion and all that –and is hence crazy enough to trade its own existence to end the existence of some other nation.

This is garbage, pure and simple, and one has to be duplicitious or irrational to believe it.

So what are Israel and the neocons here really afraid of? The answer is obvious.

So long as Israel is the only nuclear armed power in the Middle East, it can do whatever it likes whenever it likes. When it decides to attack Lebanon or Syria, no other power is in any serious position to object. When it blockades Gaza, year after year, no one can tell Israel to stop. When it attacks a relief ship in international waters, no one can do anything to make it cease and desist. Should it up and annex the West Bank without providing its people any democratic rights, the world would stand helpless knowing that the United States Congress, in hock to the lobby, would back Israel 100%.

A nuclear Iran changes the equation, not because Iran would use its bomb but because Israel suddenly will have to take into account that the Arabs have a powerful ally, a very powerful ally. An ally that could not simply be ignored.

That is the reason Israel is so vehement about an Iranian bomb, not because Iran would use it but because, just like Israel, it would have the ultimate “don’t f–k with us” tool.
The whole Iran nuclear issue is about Israel retaining exclusive control of that tool. Regional hegemony. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The United States should do everything it can (short of the use of force) to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons but it will not succeed unless and until it can provide Iran with something that makes Iranians feel that they are not condemned by us and the Israelis to second class status.

That means we should take the military option off the table and begin the process of full unconditional negotiations with Iran that would address all the issues between the two countries — the nuclear issue, support for terrorism, threats against Israel and our nonstop efforts to destabilize and overthrow the Iranian regime. (It should be overthrown but by the Iranians, not us. Considering our history with Iran since overthrowing Mossadegh, we are the last people with any right to get involved in Iran’s domestic affairs).

The Bomb Iran nuts won’t consider negotiations (unless they end in the outcome they insist upon: Israeli hegemony) because, for them, Goldberg’s worst case scenario (dead Israelis, dead Iranians, dead Americans, dead Arabs, etc) isn’t that terrible. They can live with all that to preserve Israeli hegemony.

Basically, it is they who would sacrifice Israel, and thousands of Americans too, to preserve Israel’s ability to do whatever it wants, wherever it wants, whenever it wants. And if Israel disappears in the process, well….Better a dead Israeli superpower than a secure, living, thriving safe haven for Jews living within its internationally recognized borders (the ’67 lines) but one without the ability to dominate its neighbors.

Bottom line: the mad bomber neocons actually hold the worldview they ascribe to the Iranians. It is not the mullahs who are suicidal. It is them. It’s called projection.

0diggsdigg PERMALINK | RECOMMEND RECOMMEND (3)

August 15th, 2010, 2:10 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

All you need is an excel spreadsheet:

Start with 27 million Saudi citizens in 2010 and compound by 4% a year. Here is what happens:

2020: 40 million
2040: 87 million
2060: 192 million
2080: 420 million
2100: 921 million
2110 (100 years from now): 1.3 Billion. Yes…1.3 Billion

The official number in Syria is 2.6%. Even if you accept that (I think it’s higher):

2020: 30 million
2040: 50 million
2060: 83 million
2080: 139 million
2100: 232 million
2110 (100 years from now): 300 million

If Syria’s number was just 1% higher at 3.6% (still slightly lower than Saudi):

2020: 32 million
2040: 66 million
2060: 135 million
2080: 273 million
2100: 555 million
2110 (100 years from now): 790 million

This is the power of compounding. Just one extra 1% population growth can add up to an incremental 490 million Syrians in 100 years from now.

Those that ask what the big deal is better ask government officials. Just imagine the bread subsidies, electric and energy needs of such numbers. Unless Saudi does something about its numbers, they will have to provide for the multiple needs of 1.3 billion citizens in mere 100 years from now. Those that want to put their heads in the sand and ignore the political, economic and social implications of such a possibility can do that all they want. The math does not lie and will overwhelm the collective efforts of all governments in the region. By my back of the envelope calculation, Syria’s bread subsidy alone costs the government $1.6 billion today (population at 23 million). Just think of what lies ahead if those future population numbers come true. No one is calling for stupid mass sterilization. Immediate awareness program and family planning education must be adopted by all regional governments. Will this happen? No. Religious leaders will fight this secular and zionist plot and government officials are too weak and ignorant to take on this issue head on for fear of antagonizing the former group. What you get is the status quo:

Never stare at the above spread sheet and keep kicking the can down the road.

August 15th, 2010, 2:12 pm

 

Averroes said:

Ehsani,

The compounding mathematical formulae are but instantaneous snapshots. I don’t think we can assume that the rate will stand for a 100 years.

Having said that, I do not mean to take away from your point. On the contrary, there is no question that major strategic planning needs to be done in the countries of the ME.

August 15th, 2010, 2:25 pm

 

Norman said:

Shai,

this for you , and explain why being in Gaza is still better than being a refugee,

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=68852

August 15th, 2010, 2:39 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Averroes,

One would hope that the current trends do not continue. The numbers above show what will happen if they do. I detect no urgency on behalf of government policy makers. Let us hope that I am wrong.

August 15th, 2010, 2:51 pm

 

Shai said:

Akbar,

I’m not going to respond in your style, it is much too exhaustive, but two sentences in particular stood out:

“But it does become meaningless when the finger is only pointed towards Israel.”

“Compare all you want, racism in Israel has never been as bad as it was in the US and or as bad as it is today in most Arab and Muslim countries.”

I never understood why racism in America should make me feel easier with racism in Israel? Why?!? It’s wrong there, and it’s wrong here. I can’t fight it there (in the U.S.), but I can and must fight it here. And why on earth would you consider harsh criticism of Israeli society (for having too much racism) as something “anti-zionist”? What the hell does one have to do with the other???

Are you again doing this “unpatriotic” parroting? FOX-mantras got to you? “You’re either with us, or against us…”

In fact, I claim that the BIGGEST anti-Zionists, are precisely the ones that allow Israel to do everything it does, WITHOUT harshly criticizing us when we should be criticized!

August 15th, 2010, 3:11 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

MAJIDKHALDOUN,

This N.Y. mosque’s address should be changed to Macca, Madina, Riyadh, Braidah Aneiza, and the rest of the Wahhabi hot bed towns and villages of the Qaseem region.

Norman,

GAP involves the construction of dams, electricity, and irrigation projects on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and their tributaries. Today, Syria is in serious water trouble, with the reality of what was coming known to Syria’s planner since 1962.

EHSANI2,

Your numbers graphically paint the grim picture awaiting Arab countries. AVERROES is right: “There are limits to what an environment can support and there is no fooling that”.

Famines always occurred to balance demand for resources with supply, especially in arid regions. Please note that in 1961, Saudia’s population was 4.2 millions.

I say again that population growth in the Arab world is a curse.

Elie

August 15th, 2010, 3:24 pm

 

Husam said:

What makes you all think that the dynamics in the Middle East will stay the same? Perhaps our numbers will grow to several hundred million and we will be the next super power. And then, we will wage war in all corners of the world, call the shots, and steal the bounty of everyone else.

But of course, Ehansi2’s pre-school mathematical formula doesn’t consider that the Arabs will every come out of the abyss. It fits very well the fox news (and Elie’s) notion that the majority of Muslims are and will always be fundamentally-dumb-down sheep who listen to fatwas on TV and then go line up for food stamps.

August 15th, 2010, 3:28 pm

 

Shai said:

Norman,

Thank you for the Palestinian’s story. It was both sad and very powerful. We in Israel sometimes forget, that our youth too were ready to sacrifice everything to bring about our independence. And there’s no reason to think the Palestinians are any different. They are fighting for their freedom, just as any other humans would.

August 15th, 2010, 3:29 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

If the starting number of 4.2 million in 1961 is accurate, then Saudi’s population growth has been at exactly 4% since. Indeed, 4.2 million compounded by 4% yields 28.7 million in 2010. This is almost exactly what the current number reportedly is. Let us hope that the next 40 years will witness a drop in this frightening trend. Had you told someone that 4.2 million in 1961 will become 27 million by 2010, few would have believed you.

No one is claiming that these number will stay the same. It is showing what will happen IF they stay the same. The next super power is not going to be born due to numbers. It will be born based on education, technological achievements, science, military superiority and the economy. People without the above will result in a society with falling standards of living and failing states not super powers. This is not an anti muslim comment you fool. This is a fact and covers all nations, races or religions. You sound more childish every other second. Cut it out

August 15th, 2010, 3:32 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

Ehsani
Your numbers are low, since they do not include the migrants to SA from Yemen, which would collapse much sooner than 100 years.

Husam
Obviously you never heard of something called carrying capacity.

Here is a quote for you

While it might be attractive for us to give you a definitive number for the carrying capacity of Earth, it simply isn’t possible. For example, if you used the “immortal tiger” model which has humans still working as hunter-gatherers, only 100 million humans could be supported by the Earth. However, if you assumed that every possible square kilometer of Earth’s arable land was farmed to maximum efficiency and we all crammed together in huge cities, we could have support as many as 30 billion people – 5 times as many as are living now – or more. This is known as the “ant farm” model.

August 15th, 2010, 4:02 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

EHSANI,

My figure is from FAO Statistics. Pleased that the numbers worked out fine.

Husam,

You said: “But of course, Ehansi2’s pre-school mathematical formula doesn’t consider that the Arabs will every come out of the abyss. It fits very well the fox news (and Elie’s) notion that the majority of Muslims are and will always be fundamentally-dumb-down sheep who listen to fatwas on TV and then go line up for food stamps”.

In response: Unless the present way of life is changed, then, yes, the majority of Muslims will always be fundamentally-dumb-down sheep who listen to fatwas on TV and then go line up for food stamps. To be realistic, I do not believe there will be much food stamps left by then, unless US charities come to the rescue!

Said differently: Unless the present Shari’a based laws and way of life are replaced by modern secular laws that would reduce the demand for ulama’s services drastically then, yes, the majority of Muslims will always be fundamentally-dumb-down sheep who listen to fatwas on TV.

And, Husam, please don’t use vulgarities like telling EHSANI2 in 172: “just pull your head out of the toilet” and in 174 “your head is again is still in the toilet”. Such language is not a good reflection on a pious religious gentleman who preaches the right path.

Elie

August 15th, 2010, 4:13 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

OFF THE WALL,

I was going to mention Yemen earlier but since you did, here are the numbers with the reported current 5.5% compounded rate:

Warning: Even a UN paper back in 2005 warned that Yemen’s numbers and those of some African nations look too crazy for them to turn into reality and that “something” must/will happen to slow this trend.

2020: 51 million
2040: 149 million
2060: 436 million
2080: 1.27 Billion
2100: 3.71 Billion
2110 (100 years from now): 6.3 Billion.

A mere 1.5% incremental growth over that of Saudi will make Yemen’s population explode to truly ridiculous levels. Many will argue that this is not possible. But, even if Yemen succeeds at reducing its population growth by a full 1.5%, it will cruise at the current Saudi pace towards collapse or may be a true world super power if someone’s predictions come true.

August 15th, 2010, 4:38 pm

 

Husam said:

Ehsani2:

You are the fool (and the peas too) who cuts in and out of debates only when there is support from others who come to pull your head out of the toilet. You disrespected me from the beginning and continued to do so. So it is fair game.

You responded to my comment about Zionist-Rockerfeller and Gates Foundation and bridge it to Saudi Arabia population out of the blue. There are many countries with a growing trend in population, and? What was the relevancy? My point was people need to know what you are injecting them with and that there are serious issues with such philanthropist organizations. Why are you guys worried about the Wahabis, you all so despise, starving themselves….please just answer this one question for me?

Elie:

I was being sarcastic but you are so adamant about your views that you actually think that 95% of Muslims actually sit and watch fatwas out of Saudi Arabia. You distort the reality, unfortunately. I think you if we had a poll asking about your famous breast fatwa, 99.9% of Muslims wouldn’t know what you are talking about. The other 00.1 would be you and a few others. But of course, you would like us to think differently…look who is coming to get us 🙂

Oh yes, we will be waiting for the US food stamps in 50 years while they can’t even keep up with feeding their own in 2010 mind you we should factor in the theft from other nations. America is the saviour, Please! Good work Elie! The US has deeper problems than you dare admit. And um Elie, um why don’t you tell your friend Ehasani2 to watch his foul mouth from the onset as well, or is this forum another stern gang?

And kindly don’t lecture me about “pious religion gentlemen who preach…” I don’t preach or claim to preach anything. I think it is rather profoundly low for you to invoke your knowledge (lack thereof) in Islam and state what attributes a good Muslim has or hasn’t. Lastly you are not the moderator, the judge, or the executioner.

August 15th, 2010, 6:18 pm

 

Husam said:

OTW, actually driving back home, I was thinking what about the capacity of earth and all the vast lands, etc,… you actually read my mind! Thank you for the post.

However, I believe that nothing last forever, I believe in the end times, and the day of judgment. I know you have different views, and that is fine.

I just don’t understand while they despise Wahabis they worry for their well being.

Do you respect the views of Elie calling the Mosque to change its address? Of course he already blamed Wahabis for the NY mosque. Poor soul.

August 15th, 2010, 6:32 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

“I was thinking what about the capacity of earth and all the vast lands, etc”…LOL

The Saudi population story was over the news last week. It was reported on by a number of major news organizations and I had shared it with a number of my fiends. I took the liberty of mentioning it on this forum too. Did I do that to attack Saudis or the religion? How idiotic is this statement? When did I attack Islam or Wahhabis? Show me where I did that you fool. I think that Elie is an intellect and extremely well read person. Does it make me an Islam hater? Your mind is so twisted that you only see the world from your narrow religious prism.

August 15th, 2010, 7:22 pm

 

Norman said:

Most people tend to have more children out of personal condition and not related to their concern about how many the country can afford , they decide depending on whether they can afford it themselves , I am one of two brothers and i can tell you it is hard to carry the parents with two children only , we have to remember that we in Syria take care of our parents and the government does not provide for them like in the US ,

What Syria can do is use incentives and economic factors to decrease child birth and that can be done by removing the incentive to having more children as they did in the seventies and to lift subsidies for the essentials and support only the poor directly , it has to be out of people’s choice somehow ,and the understanding that they can not afford a good life for their children if they have many of them ,

Elie,

I meant the western side of Turkey not the eastern part ,

August 15th, 2010, 7:38 pm

 

Husam said:

“…major news organizations and I had shared it with a number of my fiends”…LOL

Who are your friends? Racist Elie, who believes NY Mosques should move to Mecca.

Why don’t you answer my question on why you care about Wahabis overpopulating and starving themselves?

August 15th, 2010, 7:48 pm

 

Norman said:

Elie ,

In the US we have a freedom of religion and yes that might not be the case in KSA or Egypt , but in the US everybody has the same right to build a house of worship , and any discrimination is considered unconstitutional and I am glad that President Obama set the record strait about the right of Muslims to build on their private property and so should everybody as it might be a mosque this time but it could be a Jewish Temple or an orthodox church next time , That is what made the US a refuge for all they ran from persecution of minority religion in the EU ,

August 15th, 2010, 7:51 pm

 

Husam said:

Norman:

Some people can’t help it, racism runs in their viens. Half a dozen wrote to me stating that Elie is not anti-Islam and that he is not a Muslim hater, including himself.

Everybody rediculed Almasri for calling him a bigot. But look at him now he is indeed a BIGOT and a HALF. I can’t help but view Elie on the same type of spectrum as AP, spreading falsehoods. The mistake was giving him the plateform to launch his ugly agenda. I am guessing he was tortured in S.A. and it must have left an ugly mark that he can’t rid of.

Watch now, Ehsani2 et al call for my removal from SC.

August 15th, 2010, 8:40 pm

 

Norman said:

Husam ,
It is not helpful to call people names , you just have to put your thoughts forward , As you know , i am christian and i believe that building a house of worship is protected by the American constitution and the Jewish Mayer of NY agrees with me and you and President Obama , and that is what makes the US a great nation ,

As to what Elie said about moving the Mosque to SA , it could be from his experience in KSA where having any house of worship besides mosques is prohibited , but the US is not KSA or Israel or any other country , the US is established as a refuge to the Christian minorities who were prosecuted in Europe ,

August 15th, 2010, 9:10 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Ellie
your comment 216, it sound that you are mad ,angry and start making comment out of frustration, please remember it is private property owned by the muslems who live in N.Y., what do you want? for the people to leave N.Y. !

Ehsani
I hope that the muslem population in USA multiply more than 4%, I expect that the Muslems in USA will be 30 million by 2050>I always say that American Muslems will change American policy since we are democratic country.and we will be more that american zionist.All what we need is patience.

August 15th, 2010, 9:29 pm

 

Husam said:

Norman:

Thank you, I understand. Norman, you must understand that those who are civilized and communicate in a respectable way (Alex, OTW, JAD, yourself, etc..) will never have anyone call them names because they themselves refrain from this type of insults.

Norman, from my perspective it is not about one Mosque in N.Y. It is about the persona. I was called all kinds of names for questioning Elie’s motives, showing his distortions regarding Islam, and his hatred toward Muslims in general. I am the one who laminated that he had it rough in S.A. but that shouldn’t permit him to go all out and assail Muslims and their places of worship. Imagine if we started saying lets move synonogues from NY to Tel Aviv because we despise Zionism. It’s utter nonsense.

That was what Almasri was desperately trying to show: you can’t believe a troubled soul when his essays and thoughts are infested with bigotry, and draws his conclusions from experiences in S.A.

August 15th, 2010, 10:05 pm

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Husam
Thinking about something does not mean you understand it. And you do not seem to understand the meaning of carrying capacity because your next sentence about the end of the world falls in the domain of the most selfish statements I heard about the environment unless you know by divine prophecy when the end of the world is. Have you ever contemplated the meaning of

اعمل ليومك كأنك تعيش ابداً واعمل لاخرتك كأنك تموت غداً

and tried to project it from the person to the society. obviously not, otherwise you would not have written what you wrote about believing that nothing lasts forever. It is strange that a secularist finds more inspiration and guidance in the religion you proclaim to protect without even knowing it deep enough. But you know, that has been going on through out my life.

Congratulation on discovering the big picture. You think you are the only one to know about big pharma, or the military industrial complex. The only reason you do not see these things being debated on SC is because we have done so long time ago and we did not need conspiracy theories to explain them of their devastating impacts on the world.

Finally, before going and preaching to poor countries to stop accepting immunization, do ask your parents what vaccines did you receive as a child? It is more likely than not you have received all necessary vaccines to prevent neonatal and early childhood diseases, and now that you have lived past childhood, you do not care if the children in Africa or Philippine do as long as that serves your conspiracy theories and your demonetization of organizations and groups you know little about, how selfish is that?

August 15th, 2010, 10:13 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

“Why don’t you answer my question on why you care about Wahabis overpopulating and starving themselves?”

I care because everyone in our region should care. When did I mention the word wahabi you idiot? You are now the arbiter of what I can talk about on this forum? Get off this space and don’t show up here again you fool. You are making fun of my friends? That email was sent to Alex and Dr. Landis among others. Happy? Do you approve?

What a total waste you are. I am done with you and will stop all communication with children like you again. I dropped my level way too low already and broke my rule from day one and paid the price. Never again. Every word you write is pure rubbish. You don’t even know what the OFF THE WALL is talking about.

August 15th, 2010, 10:25 pm

 

Shai said:

Norman,

I read that Jeffrey Goldberg article (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/09/the-point-of-no-return/8186). The topic indeed stirred quite a debate.

I completely agree with Rosenberg’s assertion that the supporters of bombing Iran are the irrational ones, but for slightly different reasons than he comes up with:

a. Bombing Iran will not stop their nuclear program.
b. The crisis that will likely develop could be extremely costly in lives and on the world’s economies, for years to come.
c. The main assumption that a nuclear Iran poses an existential threat to Israel is incorrect. Those who claim it never bothered to ask a single scientist what a nuclear bomb is, and how much damage it can cause. To “destroy Israel” would take far more than 1, or 3, or even 10 nuclear bombs.
d. The argument that Iran’s Mullahs are “irrational” (or suicidal), and therefore the first thing they’d do once they get a hand on a nuke is drop it on Tel-Aviv, is idiotic. Is this what the Islamic Revolution worked so hard to achieve? Will Iran achieve its greatness in the region by destroying itself?

Here’s my response to Goldberg:

“The writer of this article simply has some very basic factual errors, which inevitably lead him to make dangerous and wrong assumptions about Iran.

To start with, he claims that “In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting—forever, as it turned out—Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions”, but if you look at UNSCOM’s findings in Iraq (see UNSCOM in Wikipedia), you’ll find that “Between 1991 and 1995, UN inspectors uncovered a massive program to develop biological and nuclear weapons.” Iraq isn’t the only nation whose nuclear aspirations could not be stopped, despite the clear intentions and watchful eye of The West. The same happened with Russia, China, NorthKorea, India, Pakistan, and Libya. If Iran is intent on achieving nuclear capabilities, no Israeli, American, or Martian strike could stop them.

But the real question isn’t whether it is possible to stop Iran (it isn’t), nor whether “delaying its program by 3 to 5 years” is enough (that’s doubtful as well). The real question, which the writer fails to even bring up, is whether a nuclear Iran is truly an “existential threat” either to Israel, or the Jewish People. It is assumed, and stated dramatically enough, that this is a no-brainer. Of course Iran with 3 or 5 or 10 nukes, can and may well “destroy Israel”. In reality, fortunately enough for Israel, physicists and nuclear engineers will disagree with this claim.

A nuclear bomb dropped at just the right location in the heart of Tel-Aviv, at just the right time of day (rush-hour traffic, let’s say), might kill a few thousand people. Tel-Aviv, unlike Hiroshima or Nagasaki, is a modern city, built out of concrete, not paper! Should the Iranian bomb be far stronger, perhaps ten thousand would die. But not hundreds of thousands, and certainly not millions. Israel will not cease to exist, nor to function, should ten, or twenty, or even fifty thousand of its citizens die. Not as a result of a nuclear attack, nor of a result of a horrific all-out regional war. Israel would continue to exist, as would the Jewish People. To claim otherwise is, at best, sheer ignorance or, at worst, baseless paranoia.

The other real question is, how likely is Iran to even use its nukes if it should ever achieve such military capability. What is the likelihood that Iran will use its first 3 or 5 or 10 nukes over Israeli cities? To answer that question, let us look at the only instance in history where nukes were used against another nation. It was, of course, in 1945 when the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs over Japan. But let us ask the following question: Would the United States have still bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had it known that Japan maintained its own huge stockpile of nuclear weapons (perhaps measured in the hundreds)? The answer suddenly becomes obvious, doesn’t it? Of course it would not have bombed Japan, for fear of unimaginable response and retribution. So why should it be different with Iran? Would the Iranian leadership, religious Mullahs or not, that obviously want to stay in power and see their nation achieve greatness in the region, take a chance at being destroyed?

There are already examples out there, of nations that fear and hate one another no less than Iran and Israel do, where nuclear detente has actually proven itself quite well. Best case, of course, is India and Pakistan. Their conflict isn’t over the Palestinian people, it is over territory shared by both, fought over with bitter consequences, and much blood and tears. And yet both nations know that they can destroy one another with a click of a button. Both nations have nuclear capability. And both nations have chosen (not jointly), to fight one another with bullets, not with atoms.

Iran’s nuclear aspirations are meant more as a security tool, designed to protect Iran from others (both in the Middle East, and the West), and not in order to extract some toll upon Israel, and risk its own demise as a result. Is this what the Islamic Revolution worked so hard to achieve? Will this bring Iran closer or farther away from regional hegemony?

From every angle, almost, it would make little sense to assume a nuclear Iran poses existential threat to Israel or the Jewish People. It is easy to sweep people away with such doomsday scenarios. But reality is different. It is neither possible, nor likely, that Iran will attempt to destroy Israel. Iranian engineers too have given their estimates to their leadership. And the Mullahs know, what some in the Western media apparently do not, that Israel will not be destroyed in a nuclear attack by Iran.”

August 16th, 2010, 2:02 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

It seems as if my statement has been misinterpreted by certain readers: This N.Y. mosque’s address should be changed to Macca, Madina, Riyadh, Braidah Aneiza, and the rest of the Wahhabi hot bed towns and villages of the Qaseem region.

For the removal of doubt, I am a proponent of building this mosque in N.Y. A mosque across the street from Ground Zero would be an inspiring testimony to America’s secularism, strength, self confidence, tolerance, openness, and respect to the rule of law.

Hopefully, this center will bring understanding among religions, all religions. Hopefully, it will teach tolerance, preach reason, and remove taboos.

Hopefully, it won’t be hijacked by Wahhabi money to become a breeder of hatred, violence, and jihadists.

More than in N.Y., the world needs many such centers in Macca, Madina, Riyadh, Braidah, Aneiza, and the rest of the Wahhabi hot bed towns and villages of the Qaseem region.

My calling to change the address from N.Y. to Saudia is symbolic. Hopefully, this mosque in N.Y. will shame and challenge countries like Saudi Arabia (and the Taliban), into allowing (encouraging!) similar centers.

Husam,

In 228, you mentioned Al-Masri. Where is he? He is entertaining! Please tell him to come back.

Norman,

Water in the Western part of Turkey will be too expensive to transport to Syria and Iraq for irrigation purposes. It’ll be a lot cheaper to import foodstuffs from abroad than grow food in arid and semi/arid lands that do not have sufficient water resources.

Elie

August 16th, 2010, 4:14 am

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

Your enthusiastic commitment and dedication to “overcoming?” Wahabism may have clouded your remarks to the N Y mosque issue.

For your information the Mosque has been in existance at that specific location for many years. The conflict is over whether the congregation that already has the City’s approval/permit can undertake the improvements according to the approved plans by the appropriate City commission as well as the Mayor.

This is a non-political local decision that AIPAC and friends are using to make points. The latest comment by a US Senator from Texas who would resent any comments made by a senator from Utah or New Jersey about a local decision in Austin, Texas is due to the fact that that Senator from Texas has received thousands of dollars from AIPAC and other Israeli PACs.

August 16th, 2010, 9:15 am

 

why-discuss said:

Shai

How to alleviate the fear of Israelis that is presently manifested by military and political arrogance and military bully. Why do they think that if they withdraw to 1967 borders , they will be destroyed? Don’t they trust the US to protect them? Or it is just greed and religious supremacy for more land and power that is motivated most Israelis?
Will the threat of a war with Iran break that arrogance or would it increase it? Israel obviously has grown insensitive to military threats, so what kind of events can happen that may change they 60 years built psyche of fear, refusal of significant compromises, greed and distrust?

August 16th, 2010, 9:29 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

More than in N.Y., the world needs many such centers in Macca, Madina, Riyadh, Braidah, Aneiza, and the rest of the Wahhabi hot bed towns and villages of the Qaseem region.

My calling to change the address from N.Y. to Saudia is symbolic. Hopefully, this mosque in N.Y. will shame and challenge countries like Saudi Arabia (and the Taliban), into allowing (encouraging!) similar centers.

Elie,

We can hope, pray and dream, but the reality is, more mosques are breeding hatred and resistance and not tolerance.

That is why restrictions on mosques are being put in place around the world including dress codes.

I suggest that “moderation” begin with Muslims themselves, not the governments that allow terrorists and jihadists to plot against them.

I suggest the following article based on logic and pragmatism:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/12/AR2010081204996.html

August 16th, 2010, 12:08 pm

 

Husam said:

How am I supposed to know what was discussed here 3 years ago! If you, Ehsani2, Elie have been there and done that, or you find my views unworthy of discussion, why bother responding numerously to a “selfish person”, a person who “is not deep enough in Islam”, who is “not worth two cents” and who is an “idiot”? I don’t bother responding to AP for example. Let me guess, I am a fellow Syrian and want to save me. I know what friendly language is and what target practice is. Jad made a brotherly statement to me that will last my lifetime because it was genuine despite our differences.

As I have been reading old threads (since 1997), I see a trend of like-minded old schoolers that has transformed SC into a buddy system with endless clapping(s).

My original post was in response to Alex, specifically. It was regarding philanthropic organizations which had a spotty history, lacked transparency, and to this day has had tremendous control of the very few. I don’t trust the very rich, if that is okay with you? This comment mushroomed around the world and back.

Perhaps I am not well read regarding carrying capacity as you are, but at least I was trying to understand what you meant. About end times, why is my statement “everything ends” selfish? It does not mean that we should be wasteful and careless, because oh well, it all ends. I was referring to your carrying capacity “ceiling” which according to God plans, which we know very little of, might not be breached. And I said we will be accountable on judgment day, meaning how we cared about our bodies, families, and earth which are all gifts from God. OTW, you jumped the gun without understanding what I meant and ridiculed me. I don’t buy the global warming theory, that does not mean I am your enemy? The pollution and wastefulness is due to lack of governance and industries heavily vested in Oil and not by people breathing and eating. You think it is ok to inject people with fertility inhibiting vaccines without their knowledge and its seems a great idea to invest in homosexual pornography to curtail pregnancies, and donate monies to charities that lack transparency and which are controlled by the very few. I don’t think this is healthy, why can’t you respect that I see things different than you do?

I do not claim to be the “ONLY ONE” who knows anything. I am merely bringing arguments that I thought were interesting and which were credible to me. In the time that I have been reading SC (about 3-6 months) I read nothing about 9/11, Big Pharma, Military Spending, Population control, in this context … so I thought it was interesting to share with you what I know. Congratulations OTW for ridiculing me for no reason. So, you decided to join the bullying club at last. Why don’t criticize your friend Elie for his statement on moving the Mosque to Mecca? Ah, he is a member of the buddy class and I have not earned my medals for yet. (I know he is backtracking now).

Shai and I disagreed recently about some aspects of 9/11, neither I nor him bullied each other. He is Jew and I, a Muslim. My partner is Jewish and we respectfully disagreed on many issues. I get this competition of “I am right, you are stupid“, “you don’t know it all, we were there before you” only from Arabs or on topics of M.E. Perhaps this more of “our” problem that none of us wants to admit. Rather, we blame religion for all our ills.

Finally, before you ask me to follow my parents decisions, you should know that I don’t live in the time and place that my parents made their decisions. I and my wife read 4 books (2 pro & 2 against vaccinations). My wife is an honour grad and I an MBA (I am not boasting, just showing our analytical minds) both of us after much, much research, quesitoning and debates decided not to vaccinate our twin girls. Eventually when their bodies are more mature, we will vaccinate certain ones once they are in daycare and if we travel. You think that this delay is irresponsible, but we are free to make the best decisions we can; and frankly we care less about what you or others think. I have asked no less than 4 easy and important questions to 2 paediatricians, who were pushing us to vaccinate, yet they couldn’t answer. The vaccines our parents gave us were not cocktails like nowadays, they were given individually due to pandemics in Syria at the time. There is not a single deadly case of Polio during the past 25 years in Canada according to Health Canada website, but they still recommend it. But of course, this is a topic all by itself and I don’t to add to the “preacher” label you stuck on me. Your last paragraph to me clearly shows that you did not read correctly my messages to you. I never said immunizations was not good in certain parts of the world, I did say, 3 times, that people ought to know that they are not just getting immunization, they may also be getting fertility inhibitors without their knowledge and consent.

August 16th, 2010, 12:46 pm

 

jad said:

Dearest OTW,
This piece of news is for you; when religious clergy get involved in art (Theatre/Cinema/TV even painting) and give their opinions.

Is Mr. AL Bouti getting more strict than he used to be? His teaching and ideas changed from the time I remember him 20 years ago starting from his last year Ramadan program until today he comes with unusually strong announcements, what changed?

“وما ملكت أيمانكم” يثير الجدل في الشارع السوري.. البوطي يحذر من مغبة بثه وأنزور يرد “هذه محاولة لاستعداء الجمهور سلفا”
الاخبار المحلية

حذر الشيخ محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي من الاستمرار في بث حلقات مسلسل “ما ملكت أيمانكم”، معتبرا أن القصد من المسلسل “السخرية بالله وبدين الله”، في وقت أوضح فيه مصدر مقرب من البوطي أن “المسلسل يحتوي على أشياء لا تتناسب مع الشريعة الإسلامية”، الأمر الذي رأى فيه مخرج العمل نجدة أنزور اتهاما واضحا يدل على “الاستهداف الشخصي ومحاولة استعداء الجمهور سلفا”ً.
وقال البوطي في بيان له نشر يوم السبت “إنني لست متنبئاً بغيب، ولست من المتكهنين بأحداث المستقبل، ولكني أحمل إليكم النذير الذي رأته عيني، إنها غضبة إلهية عارمة، تسدّ بسوادها الأفق، هابطة من السماء وليست من تصرفات الخلائق، إنها زمجرة ربانية عاتية تكمن وراء مسلسل السخرية بالله وبدين الله، الفياض بالهزء من المتدينين من عباد الله”.
بينما قال المخرج نجدة أنزور إنه لم ينشد الإساءة لأحد، وأن المسلسل “يعكس واقع المجتمع”، مضيفا أنه حريص في كل أعماله على إبداء أكبر قدر من التقدير للإسلام ديناً وثقافة ورجالاً، وتجلى ذلك في “صلاح الدين”، “فارس بني مروان” ، “سقف العالم” ، “الحور العين”.
وأضاف بيان البوطي أن” المسلسل الذي أبى المسؤول عنه إلا أن يبالغ في سخريته بالله وبدينه، فيقتطع من كلام الله في قرآنه عنواناً عليه، ويسميه ساخراً وما ملكت أيمانكم”.
في حين قال أنزور “بالنسبة لاسم المسلسل لا يوجد أي نص ديني، لا في القرآن الكريم ولا في الحديث الشريف، يمنع استخدام مفردة أو جملة وردت في القرآن الكريم، كعنوان لكتاب أو مؤلف ما، سواء كان مصوراً أو مكتوباً”، متسائلا “ماذا لو سميت أحد مسلسلاتي (التين والزيتون) أو (طور السنين) أو (سبأ) أو (مكة المكرمة)؟”.
بينما تابع البيان “أما سورية فقد تبرأت إلى الله منه ومن الاعتراف به، ومن بثه، وأما الإخوة القائمون على المحطات الفضائية التي تبث في محيطنا الإسلامي، فإن سبيل صرف هذه المصيبة المرعبة عنا، أو إنزالها بلاءً ماحقاً علينا، رهن بموقفهم من هذا المسلسل الإجرامي المهلك”.
وعن قصة المسلسل, كشف أنزور أن “المسلسل هو مذكرات شخصية لأحد الجهاديين وهي موثقة 100 %”، وقال “أنا لا أدين نموذج، أنا أعرف نماذج كما هي في الواقع بجمالية فنية ودرامية خاصة، وأن ما يتعرض له المسلسل من هجوم هو تجني كبير علي وعلى المسلسل”.
إلا أن بيان البوطي ناشد المعنين ” الخوف من مقت الله، والرحمة بإخوانهم عباد الله، أن لا يتورطوا في بث شيء من هذا المسلسل”، مضيفا “أن الغضبة الربانية التي رأتها عيني، معلقة الآن بالأفق، فاصرفوها جهد استطاعتكم عن محيطنا، ولا تكونوا سبباً في إطباقها علينا”.
وختم البوطي بيانه بقوله “اللهم أشهد أني قد بلغت، اللهم لا تحرقني ولا من يلوذون بي، ولا بلدتنا المباركة هذه ولا القائمين عليها في ضرام مقتك هذا”.
مصدر مقرب من البوطي: تم سحب البيان بعد تبليغ الرسالة.. والأوقاف تصنف العمل بالديني وتطالب بمنع عرضه
وفي اتصال لسيريانيوز مع مصدر مقرب من الشيخ البوطي، اكتفى بالرد أن “البوطي قال كل ما يريده في البيان المنشور حول هذا المسلسل الذي يحتوي على أشياء لا تتناسب مع الشريعة الإسلامية”، مشيرا إلى أنه “تم حاليا سحب البيان بعد نشره لأنه تم تبليغ الرسالة”.
وأوضح المصدر أن “بيان البوطي يعتبر خلاصة الكتاب الذي تم رفعه من قبل وزارة الأوقاف إلى وزارة الإعلام ويتعلق بالمخالفات الموجودة في المسلسل للشريعة والدين”.
وفي سياق متصل، أوضح مصدر مطلع في وزارة الأوقاف لسيريانيوز “أن الوزارة أرسلت كتابا إلى وزارة الإعلام تطالب فيه بمنع عرض المسلسل لأنه لم يحصل على الموافقة الدينية من قبل وزارة الأوقاف كونه يصنف ضمن الأعمال الدينية”.
وأضاف المصدر أن المسلسل طرح سابقا على وزارة الأوقاف قبل أن يبدأ عرضه لكن الوزارة لم تعطي موافقتها عليه، بيد أن المسلسل عرض رغم ذلك.
الشارع السوري بين مع وضد… وفئة ثالثة تفضل التريث لتكون رأيا كاملا ..
ورصدت سيريانيوز آراء بعض المتابعين لحلقات المسلسل، حيث اعتبر شادي “أن المسلسل جريء جداً، في عصر يجب أن يتم وضع النقاط على الحروف بالنسبة للدين الإسلامي الذي أصبح تفسيره يتم بحسب آراء هذا الشيخ أو تلك الشيخة”.

وبحسب رأيه فإن “الجرأة في الطرح كانت في تناول قضية المرأة، وخاصة الشيخات، وهي ظاهرة منتشرة جداً لكن إلى الآن لم يتم التطرق إليها إعلاميا”.
وأضاف أن “المسلسل يطرح قضايا من منظور حيادي وجميع وجهات النظر موجودة، إلا أن الغاية من الهجوم عليه من قبل رجال الدين هو جعل الدين مقولب حسب قوالبهم ووفقاً لأهوائهم”، متسائلا “لماذا يتم الهجوم على المسلسل من قبل أناس يعلمون جيدا أن القضايا المطروحة موجودة 100%”.
في حين اعتبر حاتم أن “المسلسل يحتوي مغالطات واضحة بشأن وضع الآيات القرآنية والأحاديث النبوية في غير سياقها الصحيح ، الأمر الذي يشوه صورة الدين الإسلامي وإظهاره على أنه دين منغلق ومتخلف”، مضيفا أن “تسليط الضوء والتركيز على الفئة المتطرفة في الدين الإسلامي يعطي انطباعا على أنها الفئة الأكثرية في أوساط الجمهور الإسلامي وهذا الأمر ينافي الحقيقة”.

ورأى أن المسلسل أظهر أن “الحلقات الدينية في المساجد تتطرق للأمور السياسية وتحض على مواضيع الجهاد بشكل مغلوط وهذا الأمر مناف للحقيقة لأن الحلقات الدينية في المساجد تتطرق للأمور الفقهية”، مبينا أن “عنوان المسلسل فيه سخرية واضحة من الدين الإسلامي لأنه مقتطع من آية قرآنية وهذا الأمر يعطي صورة واضحة عن نية كاتب العمل”.
فيما عبرت رغيد عن رأي الفئة الثالثة التي اعتبرت أن الحكم على المسلسل قبل مشاهدته كاملا لا يعد صحيحا، وفي حين أنها أشارت إلى أنه مسلسل جريء ويتناول جميع الممنوعات بلا استثناء، إلا أنها رفضت التعليق عليه حاليا، وفضلت التريث حتى تكون رأيا كاملا من خلال مشاهدته حتى الحلقة الأخيرة.
وكان مسلسل “ما ملكت أيمانكم” تعرض الشهر الماضي، عند بدء عرض الإعلان الترويجي له بالتلفزيون، لحملة هجوم عنيفة من قبل المنتديات الإسلامية وعشرات المواقع الإلكترونية بتهمة الإساءة للدين الإسلامي، مطالبين بمنع عرضه في شهر رمضان.
يشار إلى أن مسلسل “ما ملكت أيمانكم” سيناريو وحوار الدكتورة هالة دياب، ومن بطولة نادين خوري، عبد الحكيم قطيفان، سلافة معمار ، مصطفى الخاني ، قيس الشيخ نجيب ، ديما قندلفت، ، رنا الأبيض، ويُعرض خلال شهر رمضان على قناتي الفضائية السورية و”المستقبل” اللبنانية.
حسام بلح ـ سيريانيوز

http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=119980

August 16th, 2010, 12:53 pm

 

Husam said:

Ehsani2 said:

“You are making fun of my friends? That email was sent to Alex and Dr. Landis among others.”…lol

Really, poor your friends, how old are they? Ah, anyone who debates with “the friends” gets the wrath of the buddy system.

Ehsani2 ran to Daddy and Mommy (Alex & Josh)…we should rid of Husam because he debates with my friends, that is not fair..aaaheh! As I have guessed, my removal is being thought after. And, I am supposed to whimper and shiver.

Ehsani2 I have not broken any rules more than you have. If you go back you will realize you were out of line first. I am a “total waste”, and you got toilet water in your ears and mouth.

Now go cry to Mommy!

August 16th, 2010, 1:22 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Resisting occupation is a legitimate action it is not terrorism.A.P. call it terrorism,but he is a deceiver.Israel is a terrorist state,killing palastinean kids repeatedly, breaking their bones ,Israel is behind most EVIL in the middle East,killing 9 Turkish civilians is not the last of Israel crimes.

August 16th, 2010, 1:27 pm

 

Husam said:

Elie said:

“In 228, you mentioned Al-Masri. Where is he? He is entertaining! Please tell him to come back.”

Elie, I think Almasri was not entertainment for you, he was your critique and he challenged you regarding important errors and distortions you made and continue to do so, as your recent request to moving the Mosque from NYC to Mecca. You are backtracking but it did not cut it, the damage is done because you are not truthful about your feelings regarding Muslims in general.

I really don’t think you want him back. When Almasri was here, you refused to answer him many times and wrote to request his removal, now you are cowardly calling for him to come back. How ironic is that?

August 16th, 2010, 1:30 pm

 

t_desco said:

For the record:

Good analysis by Stephan Rosiny (unfortunately in German):

“Libanon: Heiße Spuren im „Mordfall Hariri“?”
GIGA Focus Nahost, Nr. 7/2010

A pattern emerges:

“Captain Eid, 31, was killed in a terrorist attack in the Beirut suburb of Hasmiyah on Jan. 25, 2008.
And, once again, there was evidence of involvement by the Hezbollah commando unit, (…) .”
Follath (Der Spiegel)

(Fatah al-Islam leader Abdul Rahman) “Awadh’s name has appeared in several arrest warrants linked to deadly bombings and terror plots. Local TV stations also said that extremists have told investigators that they had heard the slain leader talk about the assassinations of MP Walid Eido, Maj. Gen. Francois Hajj and Maj. Wissam Eid.”
Naharnet, August 15, 2010

(my emphasis)

August 16th, 2010, 1:33 pm

 

Shai said:

Dear Why Discuss,

There is a contradiction there, which you alluded to. It is that Israel is indeed manifested with military and political “arrogance” (not only in the region, by the way), and at the same time plagued by, what I consider, irrational fear.

Israelis aren’t afraid that by withdrawing to the 67 lines they’ll be destroyed. They’re afraid that the Arabs are planing to destroy us in either case. Israel doesn’t trust that the U.S. will protect us, because we no longer have the strategic depth we enjoyed with the Sinai (200 kms of desert), and now a tiny missile fired from Gaza can’t be stopped by American radar or Patriot missiles (like supposedly SCUDS were “stopped” during the first Gulf War).

War with Iran doesn’t seem to play a positive factor here, in the Arab-Israeli conflict, except in a negative way, by reminding Israelis that Syria seems to be on Iran’s side. And if the Iranian leadership uses rhetoric such as “to wipe Zionist entity off the map”, any supporter of Iran seems to be a supporter of this as well. No Israeli is going to ponder whether Iran means “the current Israeli government”, “Israeli governments that continue to occupy Palestinian Territories”, or “Israel period.” The threat of war with Iran only causes Israelis to further adopt an offensive stance, not to explore peace as a means of defusing this potentially catastrophic regional threat.

Personally, I do not believe most Israelis are motivated by greed, religious or otherwise. Certainly we have enough that are. Most settlers no doubt, and many others inside Israel proper. But not most. If a poll was taken tomorrow morning, I would bet at least 60% of Israelis are still intent on withdrawing from the West Bank one day, for the purpose of creating a Palestinian State. The reasons they aren’t pushing for it, are part of the problem.

The only way to alleviate the fear (rational or not is irrelevant, in my mind), is by further opening up communication between our peoples and our leaders. I don’t know of any other way.

August 16th, 2010, 1:55 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Husam,
Thank you for your kind words, I’m grateful that you saw thru my words to you, I was very honest in every word I wrote to you.
I’m not sure why you and Ehsani are not seeing each other’s points in a way that you both will agree on something and agree to disagree on other stuff and keep the conversation going without any one of you need to insult the other.
I see Ehsani’s points, his being very rational and realistic, and I would never think of disagree with him on the numbers he represent, math and science doesn’t lie. I can also clearly see that his point of high population numbers being a bad thing for economy in any country of our Arab world is a valid and correct idea to talk about, yes it’s a curse to have high birth rate in poor countries, it adds more misery to already miserable world we live in, and stating that won’t make him, me or you in anyway racist or as if we are looking down on our own people, I’m sure that you can see that in his comments when you take out the ‘personal’ disagreements you have with him.
I also see your point of being protective to our own people and wishing them the best with high healthy and productive population, however, that is accepted from an emotional point of view but unfortunately not very realistic when we look at the economy, ideas, creativity, productivity numbers of our countries, not to mention the environmental disaster the world is going to hit in couple decades when we human use all of the earth resources and pollute everything we touch, that is a fact we need to live with and understand.
I personally think that the world population might hit the 9 even 10 billions in the short term but in long term and looking from the environmental changes, human in long term won’t be more than couple hundred millions jammed in the North and maybe the South Pole, so all the idea of numbers are a good thing to have doesn’t make a scientific sense to me.

My point in short is that I can agree with both of you, respect both of you equally yet, you both need to look at things from all the angles and not from a personal narrow perspective to understand what the other person is talking about. I’m not lecturing any one, I’m the last one to tell people what to do or say, I’m just having a problem understanding both your reactions, and to be very honest and fair with you, I think you Husam are blamed to write what you wrote in your first reaction to Ehsani’s comment, you didn’t have to do that and things went down from there.

August 16th, 2010, 2:19 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Dr. Elhadj.

Thank you for clarifying your take on building the Mosque in NY, your first comment about that wasn’t as clear as your explanation and it made me and other think differently about what you mean.
I have no doubt that you didn’t write your comment with bad intention, but in the future, could you please be as clear as possible in your comments for all of us to understand.
As the great Norman wrote, America is a leading country in granting the rights for everybody’s freedom or worship and to only look at building a mosque as different is actually disgusting idea by the neo-con and American politician to make people hate other just because they are Muslims, I’m glad that the administration stuck to the constitution and told everybody to shut up, it’s the right way to do.

I also want to thank you about explaining the water issues in a nice and interesting way with numbers and facts, it’s a grim future for Syria’s water resources and I don’t see our government is looking closely into the environmental issues or trying to solve the problems from water management to pollution, it’s a very urgent thing that they need to take more seriously.

August 16th, 2010, 2:36 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

Of particular interest to other Universities and Academics on SC.

(Excerpt from War In Context)

Harvard University cuts its losses and dumps all investments in Israel

by Paul Woodward on August 16, 2010

Did the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine movement just make a historic advance? Harvard University has sold close to $40 million of shares in Israeli companies:

In another blow to Israeli shares, the Harvard Management Company notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday that it had sold all its holdings in Israeli companies during the second quarter of 2010. No reason for the sale was mentioned. The Harvard Management Company manages Harvard University’s endowment.

Harvard Management Company stated in its 13-F Form that it sold 483,590 shares in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) for $30.5 million; 52,360 shares in NICE Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: NICE; TASE: NICE) for $1.67 million; 102,940 shares in Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) for $3.6 million; 32,400 shares in Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL) for $1.1 million, and 80,000 Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) shares for $1.8 million.

Some commentators plausibly argue that Harvard’s decision was purely financial and not a political decision. Indeed, were it actually an explicit act of divestment there would surely have been a carefully crafted statement explaining their decision.

Even so, the effectiveness of the BDS movement may well depend less on persuading capital to move with principal (it never does) but on companies, institutions, artists and other players coming to the self-interested conclusion that doing business with Israel is bad for business.

August 16th, 2010, 3:29 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Husam,

You said that I am “backtracking” on the location of the NY mosque.

That I clarified in 235 what I said in 216 should be enough for you to accept. Why?

Because you must know by now that I am not afraid to tell my mind on the most sensitive of issues. You must also know that I do not hide behind a fictitious name in order to hide my identity and escape accountability. If I had felt that 216 was ambiguous, I would have written it in the words of 235.

You said that Al-Masri challenged me “regarding important errors and distortions” I made and I “continue to do so”.

I do not recall any challenges. I recall entertaining rantings and ravings, insults and accusations devoid of substance. Indeed, it is difficult to challenge my sources, references, and page numbers. Could you, therefore, please list those “errors and distortions” one by one, reference by reference, page by page, so that I might be able to address them.

AP,

You have a point. One, however, ought to balance the list of the positives with the list of the negatives. On the whole, I believe, America’s secularism, strength, self confidence, tolerance, openness, and respect to the rule of law should win. By the way, I enjoyed reading the article you kindly linked.

Hopefully, this new center won’t be hijacked by Wahhabi money to become a breeder of hatred, violence, and jihadists. The N.Y. authorities shall, no doubt, have their eyes and ears open to ensure that no financial contributions from so called Islamist “charities” are made and no Islamist preaching is uttered.

The directors and officers of the center should be held accountable for their deeds.

The center should be expected to sponsor academic research, on its own or in conjunction with prime universities in the East and the West, into the historicity of the Quran and the Hadith. It might even, at long last, explain in a non-demagogue manner, among others, the violent and the intolerant in the creed as leveled against Christians and Jews and other non-Muslims. Time will only tell whether this center will bring understanding among religions, all religions.

On an individual level, it is hoped that Islamists, regardless of how extreme they might be will have fleeting moments of shame and remorse for what their follow jihadists had committed against the neighborhood that now hosts their new N.Y. mosque. When Islamists compare their hatred with the understanding that the U.S. affords them, their violence with the protection that N.Y. accords them, they would be sub-human not to feel gratitude and respect, if not love, to what America really means.

The new center will also put to shame those Islamic countries that discriminate against non-Muslim citizens and residents, especially in Wahhabi Saudia and the lands controlled by their Taliban disciples in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Elie

August 16th, 2010, 4:57 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Elie,

Thanks for the reply. You make a good point as well. Mr. Krauthammer is very smart and also makes a good case. The bottom line is what the people want. Of course, freedom of religion in the US is not at risk in any way and never will be.

FYI, I track a lot of columnists on the Drudge website. As you can see at the bottom, there are a lot of opinions…

http://www.drudgereport.com/

August 16th, 2010, 5:33 pm

 

Husam said:

Hey Jad:

I know you did mean every word, and it touched me despite our disagreements before. Thank you for taking the time to write. I almost believed you when you wrote about an Ehsani2 that was nice and civilized during my last collision with him.

I think you may want to revist: “I think you Husam are blamed to write what you wrote in your first reaction to Ehsani’s comment” The comment you are referring to # 169, what value is it other than picking a fight by making such remarks? What would you like me to have done? Eat it! Won’t happen. You think perhaps you can address Ehsani2, and tell him how you feel as well. I am sorry but my opinion of Ehsani2 remains what it is despite him being your buddy. And please note, that if I was out of line any more than Ehsani2, the moderators would have flagged me, so it is fair game.

Anyways, as for the population growth, honestly Jad we can’t impose anything on certain groups of people “just because we care”. Between 33 percent and 50 percent of all smokers will die an average of 15 years sooner than non-smokers. Today, 1.7 billion people smoke. All we can do is educate them, we can also ban smoking in public places, but in the end of the day, it is their freedom of choice. The minute we allow government or agencies (whom are all corrupt, btw) to start dictating how many children people should have or what to, and what not to wear, we got ourselves a bigger and more serious problem. Should we allow our government to secretly vaccinate people with anti-nicotine ingredients if one is available? We will in essence create pre-programmed zombies (new world order). I was not being emotional, I was fighting for transparency. People should be free to chose. You said it is a curse to have a high birth rate in poor countries, but S.A. is the last to be a poor country today. They have started to diversify, but it is done at turtle pace. I honestly suspect that many people feel threatened at the number of Muslims (regardless of orientation) being the largest segment in the world.

As for poor countries, Africa has been raped by special interest and money is being funnelled to opposing parties to stir the fire, much like Iraq is being raped while they steal the oil (in the name of liberation). Africa is been fed grain with one hand while being stabbed in the back with the other. You can’t solve the over-population, hunger, pollution without going to the root cause of the problem, much like the Palestinian issue.

Lastly, I don’t think we are going to hit the so called unsustainable stage in a few decades because more people are born, or because we are running out of resources. It has more to do with accountability. The US is by far the largest polluter per capita and they also happen to be the most wasteful people on planet earth. Thus, modernization was done at the expense of everyone else. When I saw, my uncle throw a napkin in Barada river 10 years ago, I screamed Haram, ya akhi. Instead of pre-emptively targeting parents to stop having children, we should hold our governments, reckless industries and ourselves more accountable. In doing so more people can enjoy their children and life on earth. I think curtailing birth hideously is sickening.

Cheers,

August 16th, 2010, 5:33 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Husam,
I KNOW VERY WELL that you did try at one point in the comment line to talk nicely with Ehsani, in the previous thread, but I’m not sure if Ehsani noticed your comments or if it was lost in the middle of everybody yelling, maybe your sarcasm&serious style wasn’t clear enough, I’m not sure, but I can tell that you were genuine.
In anyway, we all agree or disagree in our conversation, it doesn’t mean that if I disagree with you on one issue, I have to make you my enemy and endlessly repeat insulting you, I don’t believe that is helpful in anything.
Just let it go this time, it’s not worth it at all, I told you before and I say it again, Ehsani is a true intellect, an ideal person and a man of principles, I feel bad that you actually misunderstood his words and you came back with something very harsh without seeking the reasons behind the comment you get, I’m 110% sure that even when he used the word ‘childish’ he used it just to point out something missing in what you wrote and not to insult as you translate it.
I never meet Ehsani in person, but you can tell from any person writing on SC how they think and you can’t but to respect their ideas even if they don’t match yours, so in return, they can respect yours, I’m sorry Husam, but you may need to reread what OTW, Ehsani and Elie write without thinking that they have any agenda, nobody of them know what an ‘agenda’ means, Sc is a small group of good people who talk with each others and discuss ideas to reflect and explain what bunch of Syrians truly are away from the usual ‘terrorist’ propaganda we hear day in day out, we all come here to exchange ideas and to try to understand the world and even our country in a better way, there is no bad feeling toward anybody who comes here, you are over analyzing things when what you need is to simplify them and put them into their proper perspective and read them twice before you decide to write.

About high birth rate, I do agree with you that government shouldn’t inject people with anything, instead it should educate them and that is the key, I didn’t read anybody on this thread asked for using such methods on citizens of any country, it was purely about the importance of knowing the subject and it’s consequences on the country’s future.

I agree with you about Africa, It’s the same old story over and over again, the greed is the engine of misery in human history, from the beginning, wars happened for the rich to live using the poor people lands and resources.

I also agree with most of your last paragraph but at the same time I know through many scientific papers that we already passed the ‘sustainable’ red line and it’s already behind us all (government and individual) and mostly because of greed, mass production and the inexistence of any accountability for government or individuals, scientifically speaking we as human are in a terrible shape my friend and our environment wont support our reckless and greedy existence for long.

August 16th, 2010, 6:33 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Chai

Thanks for your reply. I do understand that with the current level of mistrust between palestinians and Israelis, there is a long way to go before coming close.
I believe the iranian threat is fictitious and over exagerated if Palestinians and Israelis find a way to live together. Iranians are supporting Hamas and Hezbollah because these two groups have legitimate claims. Iran has not been involved in blind terror for a very long time. Once these claims are satisfied, iranians have repeated that it is up to the palestinians to decide of their destiny. In any case the present iranian threat and the highly mediatized US sanctions seem to be used effectively by the USA to get Israel to become more cooperative.

Now come these photos showing the arrogant and cold “Club Med’ mentality of the Israeli youth and the IDF. This is not to encourage much communications and sympathy, it is just sickening.
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/israeli-bloggers-copy-controversial-images-from-facebook/

August 16th, 2010, 6:47 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

Husam
I would not have argued with you for a minute if I thought you are stupid.

My original post was in response to Alex, specifically. It was regarding philanthropic organizations which had a spotty history, lacked transparency, and to this day has had tremendous control of the very few. I don’t trust the very rich, if that is okay with you? This comment mushroomed around the world and back.

Now these are grievances I can deal with. And I would tend to agree with you on many of these arguments. I don’t trust the super rich either. Not that they are conspiring to sterilize the population, but because they get so fixated on a single problem and think that by throwing money at it, you can solve it. In many cases their wealth get squandered in treating symptoms and not the disease itself. But this was not your argument, your argument was what went all over the world dragging the discussion behind it in insisting, despite of proof that a global conspiracy to sterilize brown people is being carried out. I can accept that in a scifi movie, but not in reality, because enjoying a scifi movie demands that I suspend my disbelief. Reality, however, demands otherwise.

I never argued that vaccines do not have risk. if you tell me that some vaccines are linked to certain diseases, and some have been, then I would have no problem I would look at your evidence and read the studies and then decide. If you tell me that big pharma pushes vaccines and medications in the market before fully testing them, I would say, sure, this is expected, and it had happened numerous times, with many of them involving that would be legally defined as a conspiracy because someone knew about the danger and conspired with other to hide it. But these are believable conspiracies, and they make sense. But to go and say that WHO is conspiring with big pharma to reduce the world population through prenatal vaccines, is a very long stretch.

But how do you expect me to take you seriously when you write

You think it is ok to inject people with fertility inhibiting vaccines without their knowledge and its seems a great idea to invest in homosexual pornography to curtail pregnancies,

Where in my writing did I say anything like that or hinted that this is the way I think. If I refute your arguments that this is being done and showed you that these vaccines were in no way fertility inhibiting, that means I want it done!? where is logic in this conclusion, how for heaven’s sake can you make such conclusion from my insistence that your claims are not true. So when I showed you how thin was that claim, you simply lumped me with the conspirators as someone who does not mind sterilizing people without their knowledge. How is that any different from calling you a fundamentalist?

As for using homosexual pornography to curtail pregnancies, sorry, but I really find that concept laughable. Still it is insulting for you to accuse me of being pornography advocate.

Then you switch to a more reasonable argument,

and donate monies to charities that lack transparency and which are controlled by the very few

But It gets really tiring to sort through illogical arguments from logical ones, especially when they are in the same sentence.

August 16th, 2010, 7:43 pm

 

Husam said:

Elie:

Thank you for your clarification, but! I see no connection with NYC Mosque and Wahabism, and you knew that as well. Your negative monologue was good for some but not for me. What you are suggesting is like whenever a new Church is built, one would rant: lets see that no child is molested, or when a new Synagogue is built in Albuquerque: Ghat would assail the Zionist connection to Judaism and Greater Israel. Pleaz! You have a problem with what you possibly endured at your own choice while in Saudi, but please leave Mosques and Muslims alone. Enough already.

Elie, I am not going to reincarnate into Almasri, you had your chance. You also leaped in and out of discussions in the past with me. I am not going to waste my time in pointing out to you your errors because I and some others did that already. If you need to revisit, feel free to do so on your own time.

August 16th, 2010, 7:58 pm

 

Husam said:

Jad:

Considering what you said about everyone having an agenda, I don’t feel that way about Ehsani2 and certainly not about OTW. Elie is a different matter and yes, in my view, he does have an agenda to paint Islam and Muslims in a negative way, despite his claim to the contrary.

I know what you mean about that SC is some place where Syrians (and Non-Syrians) gather to share views and ideas. However, I did see many, many before me that “fared no better” (remember that warning) when they tried to correct distortions and half-truths about Islam. You must admit that there is a certain protectionist feelings that run among some commentators that share strong views one way or another. It is feel like a stern gang at times, and it becomes difficult to get your point across when arrows are thrown at you all at once.

About Ehsani2 at 169, what is there to misinterpret in his words “someone is watching CSI – Miami”? If he disagreed, he could have said something tangible than B.S. I did not let it go, I am sorry and I won’t in the future. Common courtesy goes both ways.

Take care,

August 16th, 2010, 8:18 pm

 

Norman said:

Shai,

The problem i see in Israel is not fear it is arrogance and nuclear Iran might be the thing that will sober the Israeli leaders to move from trying to run the Mideast to live in the Mideast as equal not superior ,

August 16th, 2010, 9:05 pm

 

Norman said:

As long as Arab leaders do not get treated in their home countries and by their own Doctors , they do not deserve the trust of their people , as they seem to thing that what is good for their people is not good enough for them ,

Hafiz Assad died and was getting treatment in Syria , it says a lot about the man ,

August 16th, 2010, 9:35 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman
Hafiz Assad had a commomn disease,that was encountered by many doctors, In Mubarak case cancer of duodenum is rare ,there is 105 cases in the literature in the last 110 year most surgeons did not come across one case ,there is no more than 10 surgeons who are currently practicing in the whole world that have seen such case,so I would not criticise him for going to Germany for treatment

August 17th, 2010, 12:01 am

 

Alex said:

I was away the past few days but I will now start to edit or delete any comment by anyone who does not know how to make his point without attacking someone else within the same comment.

This applies to everyone from Ehsani … to Husam.

Husam,

Ehsani has been generous enough to contribute to Syria Comment his valuable expert opinion on economic, and other, matters since 2005. He will not get special treatment here because he is my friend or Joshua’s friend, but because he is a highly respected controbutor to Syria Comment. You can check on the left column for all the articles written by Ehsani over the years. It takes time to write well researched articles and he has always made space in his busy schedule for Syria Comment when we needed him.

Elie is also a friend. I can assure you that he has nothing against Islam in general. He is only critical of political Islam. He is also a critic of all extremists, including Christian and Jewish extremists. He is also a critic of Arab dictators and of Israeli violence and intransigence … In short, he is not biased against Islam despite what impression one might gets when he writes about it.

Please stay away from guessing or judging the motives of each commentator here. When you do, they feel obliged to come back and defend themselves … it is a waste of their time, your time, and our readers’ time.

August 17th, 2010, 12:48 am

 

Shai said:

Here you go Akbar: Israeli McCarthyism promoting Freedom of Speech in a “free and democratic Israel”.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/im-tirtzu-threatens-boycott-of-israeli-university-over-anti-zionist-bias-1.308452

You get it, right? An Israeli group, threatens an Israeli university. If the university won’t fire its leftist-liberal-anti-zionist professors, the group will scare away donors abroad!

I’m quite sure that your buddies in Efrat view this group, “Im Tirtzu”, as the ultimate representation of patriotism and love for Israel. I’m sure your buddies are also finding this a terrible dilemma, and will opt to defend freedom of speech and education by standing up for the University and its professors.

Or not…

I wonder, what’s your take on this? Do you support silencing (or better yet, firing) these professors? Do you support threatening the Universities?

August 17th, 2010, 3:42 am

 

idaf said:

Israel should not keep its history behind lock and key
Jonathan Cook
http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100817/OPINION/708169912/1080/FOREIGN

History may be written by the victors, as Winston Churchill is said to have observed, but the opening up of archives can threaten a nation every bit as much as the unearthing of mass graves.

That danger explains a decision quietly taken last month by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to extend by an additional 20 years the country’s 50-year rule for the release of sensitive documents.

The new 70-year disclosure rule is the government’s response to Israeli journalists who have been seeking through Israel’s courts to gain access to documents that should already be declassified, especially those concerning the 1948 war, which established Israel, and the 1956 Suez crisis.

The state’s chief archivist says many of the documents “are not fit for public viewing” and raise doubts about Israel’s “adherence to international law”, while the government warns that greater transparency will “damage foreign relations”.

Quite what such phrases mean was illustrated by the findings of a recent investigation by an Israeli newspaper. Haaretz revisited the Six Day War of 1967, in which Israel seized not only the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, but also a significant corner of Syria known as the Golan Heights, which Israel still refuses to relinquish.

The consensus in Israel is that the country’s right to hold on to the Golan is even stronger than its right to the West Bank. According to polls, an overwhelming majority of Israelis refuse to concede their little bit of annexed Syria, even if doing so would secure peace with Damascus.

This intransigence is not surprising. For decades, Israelis have been taught a grand narrative in which, having repelled an attack by Syrian forces, Israel then magnanimously allowed the civilian population of the Golan to live under its rule. That, say Israelis, is why the inhabitants of four Druze villages are still present there. The rest chose to leave on the instructions of Damascus.

One influential journalist writing at the time even insinuated anti-Semitism on the part of the civilians who departed: “Everyone fled, to the last man, before the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] arrived, out of fear of the ‘savage conqueror’ … Fools, why did they have to flee?”

However, a very different picture emerges from Haaretz’s interviews with the participants. These insiders say that all but 6,000 of the Golan’s 130,000 civilians were either terrorised or physically forced out, some of them long after the fighting finished. An army document reveals a plan to clear the area of the Syrian population, with only the exception of the Golan Druze, so as not to upset relations with the loyal Druze community inside Israel.

The army’s post-war tasks included flushing out thousands of farmers hiding in caves and woods to send them over the new border. Homes were looted before the army set about destroying all traces of 200 villages so that there would be nowhere left for the former inhabitants to return to. The first Jewish settlers sent to till the fields recalled seeing the dispossessed owners watching from afar.

The Haaretz investigation offers an account of methodical and wholesale ethnic cleansing that sits uncomfortably not only with the traditional Israeli story of 1967 but with the Israeli public’s idea that their army is the “most moral in the world”. That may explain why several prominent, though unnamed, Israeli historians admitted to Haaretz that they had learnt of this “alternative narrative” but did nothing to investigate or publicise it.

What is so intriguing about the newspaper’s version of the Golan’s capture is the degree to which it echoes the revised accounts of the 1948 war that have been written by later generations of Israeli historians. Three decades ago – in a more complacent era – Israel made available less sensitive documents from that period.

The new material was explosive enough. It undermined Israel’s traditional narrative of 1948, in which the Palestinians were said to have left voluntarily on the orders of the Arab leaders and in the expectation that the combined Arab armies would snuff out the fledging Jewish state in a bloodbath.

Instead, the documents suggested that heavily armed Jewish forces had expelled and dispossessed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians before the Jewish state had even been declared and a single Arab soldier had entered Palestine.

One document in particular, Plan Dalet, demonstrated the army’s intention to expel the Palestinians from their homeland. Its existence explains the ethnic cleansing of more than 80 per cent of Palestinians in the war, followed by a military campaign to destroy hundreds of villages to ensure the refugees never returned.

Ethnic cleansing is the common theme of both these Israeli conquests. A deeper probe of the archives will almost certainly reveal in greater detail how and why these “cleansing” campaigns were carried out – which is precisely why Mr Netanyahu and others want the archives to remain locked.

But full disclosure of these myth-shattering documents may be the precondition for peace. Certainly, more of these revelations offer the best hope of shocking Israeli public opinion out of its self-righteous opposition to meaningful concessions, either to Syria or the Palestinians.

It is also a necessary first step in challenging Israel’s continuing attempts to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, as has occurred in the last few weeks against the Bedouin in both the Jordan Valley and the Negev, where villages are being razed and families forced to leave again.

Genuine peacemakers should be demanding that the doors to the archives be thrown open immediately. The motives of those who wish to keep them locked should be clear to all.

August 17th, 2010, 5:43 am

 

norman said:

Majid,
the treatment for Duodenal cancer is the same as to head of Pancreas cancer and that is surgery , prognosis for duodenal cancer is better as it is discovered earlier and you are telling me that in Egypt with 80 million people they do not have anybody who can do this surgery , I doubt it

August 17th, 2010, 8:16 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Those Poor Israeli Academics

Here you go Akbar: Israeli McCarthyism promoting Freedom of Speech in a “free and democratic Israel”…I wonder, what’s your take on this? Do you support silencing (or better yet, firing) these professors? Do you support threatening the Universities?

Shai,

Actually, you bring up an interesting issue: boycotts, freedom of speech, academia, and government censorship.

First of all, are university professors paid by the government? Are Israeli universities government-owned? I don’t know. Certainly the Israeli government isn’t boycotting anyone.

OTHO, McCarthyism [The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA)] was a government sanctioned way of pressuring those they believed (without proof) were pro-communist. The They often lost their jobs and were blacklisted by the GOVERNMENT.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Un-American_Activities_Committee

IMHO any private group can boycott anyone or organization they want. The “donors” can simply say F.U. to this group of Rightist Israelis.

What was your take on the British Universities boycotting Israeli Professors? Did they have the right to do what they did? Unfortunately for Israelis, yes they did.

You get it, right? An Israeli group, threatens an Israeli university. If the university won’t fire its leftist-liberal-anti-zionist professors, the group will scare away donors abroad!

So? There is nothing illegal about that as far as your description goes.

I’m quite sure that your buddies in Efrat view this group, “Im Tirtzu”, as the ultimate representation of patriotism and love for Israel. I’m sure your buddies are also finding this a terrible dilemma, and will opt to defend freedom of speech and education by standing up for the University and its professors.

Yes, I agree with them. I think academia is filled with anti-zionists just like our own Professor Josh. There are a few instances where these anti-semites and anti-zionists are thrown out of universities for their “unacademic” opinions if the university finds their acts to be “aggregious”. Norman Finklestein and Ward Churchill come to mind.

It is also “fredom of speech” to illuminate the opinions of university academics whether they are pro-zionist or anti-zionist. Professor Daniel Pipes has in own website. I don’t consider it unethical in the least, and if a pro-Palestinian wants to create a similar website, I think that’s fine too.

http://www.campus-watch.org/

Those anti-zionist British Academics boycott those anti-zionist Israeli academics NewZ:

http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=173778

Cheers,

AP

August 17th, 2010, 8:48 am

 

Husam said:

Hi Alex:

I reread your comment thrice. I understood all. I also understand the daunting task you and Josh have. I want to say that I did not start this (see #169) despite all fingers pointing at me.

Please understand that we have the right to conclude what we feel and read individually. I have been labeled many, many things, including lately science fiction conspiracy theorist. There must be reasons why some felt that way. Similarly, there are reasons why I feel Elie is a bigot (depite some excellent comments on the issue of water for example). Remember how I was attacked because I simply brought up 9/11. So, asking me to refrain from judging people because certain ones have contributed to SC more than I have is in itself a biased statement.

I did not know there were special seniority and certain immunity on SC, my mistake. After all, if I can no longer bear it, I can always leave! I am aware of Ehsani2’s contribution, but even presidents are brought down due their mistakes. I just wished you would be more direct and clearly point out everyone on an equal footing from the beginning.

Moving forward, if I understood correctly, in the future comments such as in #169 (by Ehsani2) would be striked saving 10 subsequent comments, is this correct?

August 17th, 2010, 10:06 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Norman
the answer is yes,I bet you not a single surgeon in Egypt who is expert to know and have seen the operation for the cancer of the third portion of duodenum,in surgery you should not do operation you have not seen or perform before, the incidence of such tumor is one case a year in the whole world.ask your friends if they ever saw a case of such tumor.

August 17th, 2010, 10:10 am

 

norman said:

Majid ,
I am an oncologist and this surgery should not be difficult to do , i do not need to ask anybody , i saw few cases besides many Pancreatic cancer cases , he should not better than the 80 million in Egypt , i had some contacts with Egyptian Doctors for some family members who live in Egypt , they were impressive

August 17th, 2010, 10:15 am

 

EHSANI2 said:

“stop wahhabi indoctrination of syrian youth” by elie elhadj (2 posts ago)

198. Husam said:

“3) Popular Mechanics are dismissing important interviews, photos, evidence, stating that “loose change” based its evidence on information collected 48 hours after 9/11. Any sensible person would know that those are the most critical moments in collecting evidence. Ever watch the show CSI Miami, any crime or accident scene is cordoned off to gather evidence and interviews.”

The CSI: MIAMI reference was not somehow invented. The readers were asked if they watched the show so that they learn how accident scenes are cordoned off and to help advance the theory that some US government agency was behind the events of 09/11. This line of analytic reasoning is preposterous and had to be exposed for what it is.

August 17th, 2010, 11:55 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

محكمة تحمّل إسرائيل قتل الطفلة عبير

August 17th, 2010, 12:17 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

Husam
The Scifi reference has nothing to do with you personally. It was a reference to an episode of Stargate SG1, in which

In an alternate timeline, Earth had contacted the Aschen in 2000 and formed an alliance with the Aschen against the Goa’uld. However, SG-1 failed to uncover the Aschen’s true intentions, and anyone discovering the truth, such as George Hammond, was eliminated.

By 2010 of this timeline, the Goa’uld had been defeated and Earth had become a technologically advanced paradise. Also, the Aschen had begun to distribute a drug among the Earth’s population that promised to extend human life, but which, unknown to Earth’s governments, also resulted in a 90% drop in the worldwide birth rate . The Aschen’s plan, which would take decades to come to fruition, was to depopulate the Earth until only a bare remnant of humanity remained. They would then be able to simply take control of the planet without the need for costly invasion, conquest, and pacification.

I enjoyed it, but only after suspending my disbelief . A Scifi writer who can not manage to get her/his readers to suspend belief will fail.

August 17th, 2010, 1:50 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Alex Ehsani and Elie you’re not alone. All those who are being called “moderates”, and who oppose political Islam and the cult that hijacked Islam for their supremacist purposes, are under attack.

Watch CNN’s Fareed Zakaria discussing just that 2 days ago.

http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/podcasts/fareedzakaria/site/2010/08/15/gps.podcast.08.15.cnn
.

August 17th, 2010, 2:24 pm

 
 

Husam said:

Ehsani2:

Look we have been over this a thousand times already. You think that it is impossible that some government officials were instrumental or at least had foreknowledge re: 9/11 and I am an avid CSI-Miami fan (my wife loves the show, and I get stuck watching every now and then) and I base all my knowledge on B.S. Anything else you want to add?

If you have arrived @ this conclusion already from the previous thread, what is the point of carrying it over? If you have something tangible to disagree on, then do so, otherwise kindly heed Alex’s advise and stop it. We are all tired of this cat and mouse game, can you kindly leave me alone and any complaints you have about me, just forward it the moderators.

You are still stuck with me not believing the official story of 9/11 and think my line of thinking is preposterous while Alex gave you polls and graphs of what people think, and I linked you what top military brass think (which you didn’t even care to look further into). So, when does it end for you? I will never accept the official story, and likewise I think you are line of thinking is equivalant that of sheep who just follow what they are told. Can we call it a day, or do you want to have another go at it?

August 17th, 2010, 6:03 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

You ask whether I think that “it is impossible that some government officials were instrumental or at least had foreknowledge of 09/11”?

When you make such an accusation, you must be very careful with your words:

To be “instrumental” is to be contributing to the accomplishment of a purpose or result (Oxford English Dictionary). In other words, you are claiming that the US government “contributed to” the accomplishment of 09/11.

To have had foreknowledge is an accusation that the same government officials alternatively had knowledge about the event before it happened (also definition of OED).

Let me get this straight:

1- The US government either “directly hired” 19 foreign nationals and asked them to slam into the world trade center so that it can invade Afghanistan

2- The US government “knew that” 19 foreign nationals were going to slam into the world trade center but it kept silent and waited for the buildings to come down so that it can invade Afghanistan.

3- There were no 19 foreign nationals. These 19 names never existed but they were manufactured by the FBI. It was the US government that brought the buildings and blamed it on 19 manufactured personalities.

You then claim that my line of thinking is “equivalent to that of sheep who just follow what they are told”.

Finally, you ask can we call it a day?

Anyone who does not believe the official story that sheep like me believe in must pick one of the above three options above (happy to hear others). Such accusations must not be vague. They must be specific. Accusing the US government of killing 3000 of its citizens (and it could have been thousands more) in order to invade a foreign country is not an accusation that can be made casually and lightly. I for one cannot read such nonsense and simply “call it a day” and yes I have read all the links and the “brass”. I am asking YOUR pick of the above with specificity.

August 17th, 2010, 6:57 pm

 

Husam said:

OTW:

I am sorry for my tardiness. In response to your last several comments….

The reason perhaps that you may agree with certain points while others seem off the wall to you is because my brain has different DNA cells than yours; and I function 99% like you do, but the last 1% can change lots.

I believe foul play has been going on for centuries and what seems like preposterous today and unbelievable may turn out to be true when proper investigations are done, information becomes declassified (as Israel’s Deliberate Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty (1967), or whistleblowers decide to tell-all on their deathbed.

I hear you saying: but until then, anything is a theory until it becomes a fact. True. However, when Mexico, Philipines, Nicaragua found HCG chemicals in the vaccines, perhaps one should be wary. Further, Mercury, found in many, many vaccines is known to be a fertility inhibitor. Eugenics has been known for decades to have taken place covertly by certain government bodies. Add to that there are vaccines targeting women only, male sperm count is cut in half and the current Science Czar in the Obama administration, John Holdren, who authored a book called Ecoscience (1977) where he considered anti-fertility chemicals be injected in our drinking water to depopulate the world, nothing would surprise me.

OTW, it would please me if you would have a look at the following link and tell me rationally if all the evidence is only a theory (science fiction) and/or I am just crazy:

http://www.akha.org/content/vaccinations/autismtetanus.pdf

August 17th, 2010, 7:16 pm

 

Husam said:

Ehsani2:

I pick 2, with the added emphasis, that it is even possible and probable that not only did they just let it happen, they cut the obstacles.

If you don’t mind, I would like to have a rain check to discuss this fruther with you in the future when the opportunity arises and when our heads have cooled, if that is okay with you?

August 17th, 2010, 7:22 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

So the US government knew that 19 foreign nationals were about to bring down the buildings and they decided that they needed to help make sure that this proceeds successfully and hence they aided and abetted the operation knowing that this will result in the killing of thousands of their citizens….all to invade Afghanistan.

Got it. Case closed.

August 17th, 2010, 7:30 pm

 

Alex said:

Hmm, I will have to restate my opinion so that there is no confusion.

If I have to take a guess, I would say that some people knew that some of the Islamists were planning to hijack a plane a la classic formula

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

They thought they could later manage a rescue operation to that hijacked plane where less than 5 people might die (judging by what happened in previous hijacking incidents).

And THAT was allowed to happen in order to use it as an excuse to invade IRAQ (and Afghanistan perhaps).

So, I agree with Ehsani that no one in th US would dare allow the killing of thousands of American citizens (if they knew Al-qaeda was going for the WTC and not only a simple plane hijacking), … But the screwed up outlaws who were hired everywhere in the Bush administration by Likud’s friends and other similarly messed up over confident rule-bending neocons were the type that could easily plan such stupidities.

Remember this wannabe cowboy and many friends of his were part of the Bush administration:

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zeroes/Elliot_Abrams.html

To summarize, I have no doubt that Al-Qaeda’s terrorists did 9/11, but I am almost sure some Bush administration officials misread their intentions and allowed a plane hijacking to take place in order to use it as an excuse to invade Iraq and afghanistan (and seven other countries) … they were looking for excuses, and we later found out they did not hesitate to manufacture excuses.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-schwarz/lie-after-lie-what-colin-_b_85058.html

So, with Elliott Abrams’ history of convoluted stupid plans that go wrong (the Iran contra affair) and with the Bush administration’s record of third-world style lies and deception … why should I find it impossible that they allowed a plane or two to be hijacked and later rescued?

August 17th, 2010, 7:33 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

ALEX,

“I have no doubt that Al-Qaeda’s terrorists did 9/11, but I am almost sure some Bush administration officials misread their intentions and allowed a plane hijacking to take place in order to use it as an excuse to invade Iraq and afghanistan (and seven other countries) … they were looking for excuses, and we later found out they did not hesitate to manufacture excuses.”??

I am a speechless sheep.

August 17th, 2010, 7:40 pm

 

Alex said:

: )

Which part is Shocking? … that I think there is a good chance that Bush administration cowboys were capable of playing those games? … allowing some terrorists to hijack a plane thinking it is only a simple hijacking that they can undo easily through a fancy rescue operation where one or two passengers (usually) die?

1) We know that this did manufacture evidence to help them invade Iraq (Colin Powell at the UN)

2) We know that Elliott Abrams and a few others from the stupid Itan Contra affair were central figures in the Bush administration

3) We know that these people believe that it is ok to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of lives (Iraqi, US soldiers, Afghanis ….) in order to achieve their “noble” goals (democracy promotion, rearranging the Middle East to Israel’s liking …)…

Why is it that what I suggested as a possible scenario is … impossible?

August 17th, 2010, 8:12 pm

 

jad said:

Ehsani, Alex, Husam;
I never get into any discussion about 9/11 with anybody on SC until now, but I find it impossible and beyond any rational thinking of my average intellect to choose any of the 3 options you Ehsani gave, they all sound unrealistic for the American government to do just as an excuse to invade Afghanistan or Iraq for that reason. The Americans don’t need any reason to do anything they please and nobody will even question their wrong doing, therefore it’s not convincing at all for the government to be involved in any way (planning, facilitation or financing) in anything related to this terrorist attack.
I don’t think that the US government knew about that at all, in my opinion it was the US inelegance biggest failure of its history, and instead of taking responsibility of this failure the people in the top close circle choose to use it to get to where we are today.
That is my take on the subject, I’m another sheep baaaa 🙂

August 17th, 2010, 8:23 pm

 

jad said:

How old is Mr. Albouti?
He sounds a bit weird, read this:

وكان الدكتور محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي صعد من انتقاده للمسلسل مؤكدا انه رأى فيه وباء نازلا من السماء بمظهر مادي مرعب، ذي بقع سرطانية حمراء تبعث على التقزز والاشمئزاز، ومع هبوطه السريع نحو الأرض أخذت تنفصل منه حيوانات كثيفة وكثيرة طائرة راحت تنتشر وبسرعة فوق دمشق، وقد علمت أنها جراثيم لوباء خطير متجه للتغلغل داخل البلد، مشيرا إلى أن هذه الرؤية استقرت في ذهنه بهذا الشكل، ولم يكن له في ذلك أي اختيار.

Then he takes what he said back?

البوطي يتراجع عن تصعيده.. الحكم بعد مشاهدة العمل كاملا

تراجع الشيخ محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي عن تصعيده الأخير تجاه مسلسل (ما ملكت ايمانكم) ومخرجه نجدة أنزور، مفضلا الحكم على العمل بعد مشاهدته من قبل من يثق بهم.
جاء هذا التراجع في ملحق للحوار الذي أجراه موقع نسائم الشام مع الشيخ البوطي وتضمن الملحق على لسان الشيخ “إنني لا أتابع المسلسلات ولا أياً من البرامج التلفزيونية، ولكني اعتمدت في حكمي هذا على تقرير رسمي صادر من لجنة أعرف صدق أفرادها وأثق بمستواهم الثقافي،..غير أني تعرفت على مخرج المسلسل الأستاذ نجدت أنزور أخيراً في لقاء تم على غير ميعاد، عرّفني فيه على التزامه الديني والتزام أسرته، وذكّرني بدفاعه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم تطاولت بعض المؤسسات الأوربية عليه، في مسلسل عنوانه (سقف العالم) وأنفق على إخراجه من حرّ ماله”

http://www.alwatanonline.com/culture_news.php?kind=0&id=258

August 17th, 2010, 8:28 pm

 

Alex said:

My dear friend Ehsani

I want to remind you that in 2005 and 2006 I was almost the only one saying that Syria is not the prime suspect in the Hariri murder, and you and all others found it shocking that I would think that way. Most of you here had zero doubt that Syria killed him.

As for Mr. Cheney’s finding a terrorist act against the US useful for his grand plans … I am not the inventor of this suggestion …

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century#.22New_Pearl_Harbor.22

Remember I am not saying they approved 9/11’s WTC disaster, … they knew about a simple, classic, old style plane hijacking and let it take place thinking it is easy to end it with a rescue operation on the ground of some airport … that is very different and none of you is explaining to me why is that so impossible given the characters in the Bush administration and their history of deception and bloodshed.

August 17th, 2010, 8:37 pm

 

norman said:

Alex,
It is good that you said almost about Hariri and Syria as i was with you , i never thought that Syria did that ,

About 9/11 I do not know if the intelligence services knew that something might happen but were not thinking of what eventually happen , that is possible , few things are facts though and these are that Bin Laden took responsibility and that there were no Syrians and Iraqis involved , they were mostly Saudis’ , still the US managed to invade Iraq and almost Syria if it was not for Bashar Assad .

August 17th, 2010, 9:22 pm

 

norman said:

Home Article Print Page Published 02:15 17.08.10 Latest update 02:15 17.08.10 Akiva Eldar / Peace talks with Syria can avert war with Lebanon
The fragile quiet on the northern border is liable to break unless Israel, Syria and Lebanon hold peace negotiations.
By Akiva Eldar
Tags: Israel news Lebanon Hezbollah Syria
The latest incident on the Lebanese border shows that a single tree can disrupt the calm in the northern sector. The clash of August 3 cost the lives of an Israeli officer, two Lebanese soldiers and one journalist. A new report written by experts of the International Crisis Group warns that the next time is liable to end in an entirely different way. They concluded the quiet prevailing on the Israeli-Lebanese border since the Second Lebanon War has barely a leg to stand on. In the absence of efforts to deal with the roots of the conflict, an error in judgment on the part of one of the sides could suffice to lead to an explosion with many casualties. Hence their decision to give their important and comprehensive report the title “Drums of War: Israel and the ‘Axis of Resistance.'”

In interviews they held recently with top people in Hezbollah, in Syria and in Israel, the ICG researchers found the main obstruction to another war is the fear on the part of each of the players that the next clash hostilities will be wider and more destructive than its predecessors. Hezbollah people told them the missiles they are acquiring will deter Israel from another round, because they make it clear what will be the high price of a military attack on Lebanon. Nonetheless, one source in the organization assessed: “War ultimately is inevitable. The Israeli army must rebuild its image of invincibility.”

According to the same Hezbollah source, in the next war, Israel will have to embark on an extensive ground invasion, deep within Lebanese territory. “They are preparing for the next round and realize the failure of the ‘revolutionary’ approach developed in the West, with its heavy reliance on advanced technology and air dominance. Next time, they will have to revert back to something more traditional, like the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.” The source stressed that even a limited Israeli action would elicit a strong response: “If Israel launches a strike on any target in Lebanon, we will not take it lightly. We would not consider it a routine act. Israel would have to face the consequences.”

The members of the research group recommend not taking such remarks as mere boasting, intended simply to encourage the fighters and deter Israel. They note that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has proved over the years that he keeps his promises. In interviews they conducted in Israel, the research team found that from Jerusalem the reality in the north looks like the reverse of how it is perceived in Beirut: The more Hezbollah arms itself, the more Israel perceives it as a grave threat. And the conclusion: “Something has to be done.” A senior Israeli official said, “In any coming confrontation, civilians will be vulnerable. I believe that Hezbollah will hit hard in this respect, whether from the outset or later on. In turn, Israelis will react by saying we must respond in kind and put pressure on both Lebanon and the Lebanese population.”

American sources expressed to the researchers “alarm at what they describe as the unprecedented integration of Syria’s, Hezbollah’s and Iran’s military systems – along with increased training, intelligence sharing and weapons transfers – suggesting that Syria might be dragged into a conflict involving Israel and Hezbollah.”

A prominent Syrian businessman, who enjoys close ties to the ruling elite, told the members of the ICG group: “The irony is that we’ve essentially been protecting Israel over the years, de facto, by restraining our allies. They are really dangerous; they aren’t averse to a final showdown. But for Israel and for us, all-out confrontation would now mean massive destruction.” He expressed the fear that the war would push Syria more deeply into Iran’s embrace, or even lead to the latter’s takeover of his country.

Israeli sources, who in the researchers’ opinion sometimes err on the side of the simplistic in their view of Hezbollah as no more than an agent of Iran, expressed concern that Tehran will pressure Hezbollah to attack in order to divert attention from its nuclear program and reduce the international pressure. An advisor to the Israeli government told the researchers last April that if there is a toughening of the sanctions or even a partial blockade on Iran, Tehran will prefer an attack on Haifa by means of Hezbollah to an attack on American targets. The team found differences of opinion “as to whether, in theory, optimal timing” for neutralizing Hezbollah’s arsenal, sometimes described as Iran’s “second strike” capacity, “would be immediately or several months prior to a putative attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

The experts found that some Israeli cabinet members remained skeptical about President Barack “Obama’s approach to Iran and are concerned and fear the U.S. inexorably is moving toward a containment strategy – living with a bomb instead of eliminating it.” Those ministers will undoubtedly find support for this in one American official’s remarks to the authors of the report: “Many thought 2009 would be the critical year. Then they said 2010. I no longer believe it will be this year. But then again, we still have 2011.”

According to most of the collected testimonies, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be tempted to thwart Obama’s attempt to soften up Iran by means of diplomatic measures and economic sanctions. Official American sources believe Tehran will seek any means in the coming days to resolve the crisis around the discussion table. In the assessment of the Crisis Group, substantial peace talks between Israel and Syria and Lebanon are the best way to ensure the next tree will not set fire to all the forests of the Galilee and Lebanon. Until then, the international community must make efforts to improve communication between the sides, to neutralize the tensions and to prevent mistakes liable to exact a price that none of the sides is interested in paying.
Print Page Send to a friend Comments Share Text Size +|- Follow us on Twitter Become a Haaretz.com Facebook friend This story is by:

Akiva Eldar

August 17th, 2010, 9:51 pm

 

Husam said:

Alex, Norman, Jad:

What do these whistleblowers gain form lying (you can google every one of them for further read, don’t have time to paste links for testimony):

Von Buelow – Former German Defense Minister and Minister of Technology
Von Buelow went public to say the US government carried out 9/11.

Michael Meacher – Former Blair cabinet member
The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination . Further Read

Bill Christison – Former Senior Official of the CIA, Former National Intelligence Officer and the Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis
In Christison’s recent article, Stop Belittling the Theories About September 11, he afforded credibility to the notion that “significant parts” of the official 9/11 story were false and after careful research he concluded that the twin towers and building 7, “were most probably destroyed by controlled demolition charges placed in the buildings.” Further Read

Timothy McNiven – A 29yr Defense Department Operative
The head of the 1976 mock terrorist plan was Lt. Michael Teague of Long Island, who McNiven says was given specific orders by higher-ups in the military to use the Twin Towers as the terrorist target. Read Further

John O’Neil – Former Deputy FBI Director
For 6yrs O’Neil was FBI’s leading expert on Al Qaeda. He warned of it’s reach. He warned of its threat to the US. But to the people at FBI Headquarters, O’Neil was too much of a maverick, they stopped listening to him. He left the job in the summer of 2001 and took up a new post as the Head of Security at the . Read Further

Sibel Edmonds -Former FBI Wiretap Translator
Sibel spoke publicly about prior knowledge of 9/11. She testified before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, saying that the FBI had detailed information prior to 9/11, that a terrorist attack involving airplanes was being plotted. Then she was fired and placed under a gag order by John Ashcroft. Read Further

Robert Wright – FBI Special Agent
Robert who cried on national TV as he talked about how his superiors would not allow him conduct his profession in a manner it is intended by protecting the American people and preventing the WTC attacks. This lead Agent Wright to write a 500 paged manuscript, titled “Fatal Betrayals of the Intelligence Mission”. Further Read

Bill Manning – Editor of the 125-year-old monthly that frequently publishes technical studies of major fires
“Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the “official investigation” blessed by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure” – Fire Engineering 1/4/2002

Kevin Ryan – Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories is the company that certified the steel componets used in the constuction of the World Trade Center towers. The information in this letter is of great importance. Further Read

Karl Schwarz – Former Republican Party insider
Karl has stumbled across what may be the “smoking gun,” proving the U.S. government’s official story about the WTC attacks is an “unequivocal lie.” Further Read

USAF Col. George Nelson (ret.) – 30 year veteran, aircraft accident investigator and expert in aircraft maintenance and aircraft identification
He stunned the Power Hour listeners by stating that in regard to the 911 attack at the Pentagon, “I didn’t see any damage on the sides of that hole, anything that would say that an airplane that size could have gone through a 16 or 18 ft. hole.” He was referring to the hole seen at the Pentagon before the collapse of the e-ring. He went on to say, “There would be large parts of that wing lying on the ground on the outside. It wouldn’t all go through that hole…” Further Read

Albert Turi – Chief of Safety for the New York Fire Department
“Received word of the possibility of a secondary device, that is another bomb going off. He tried to get his men out as quickly as he could, but he said there was another explosion which took place, and then an hour after the first hit – the first crash that took place – he said there was another explosion that took place in one of the towers here” Further Read

Paul Isaac Jr – Lieutenant Fireman and former Auxiliary Police Officer
“many other firemen know there were bombs in the buildings, but they’re afraid for their jobs to admit it because the ‘higher-ups’ forbid discussion of this fact.” Paul further elaborated that former CIA director Robert Woolsey, as the Fire Department’s Anti-terrorism Consultant, is sending a gag order down the ranks. “There were definitely bombs in those buildings”
Further Read

Morgan Reynolds – Ph.D, a former member of the Bush team who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis headquartered in Dallas
“It’s ‘next to impossible’ that 19 Arab Terrorists alone outfoxed the mighty U.S. military, adding the scientific conclusions about the WTC collapse may hold the key to the entire mysterious plot behind 9/11.” Further Read

Paul Craig Roberts – listed by Who’s Who in America as one of the 1,000 most influential political thinkers in the World
I know many qualified engineers and scientists have said the WTC collapsed from explosives. In fact, if you look at the manner in which it fell, you have to give their conclusions credibility.” Further Read

William Rodriguez – WTC janitor
William heard and felt a strong explosion in the basement levels of the north tower just seconds before the jetliner crashed into the top floors. Further Read

Jose Sanchez – WTC janitor
A second WTC maintenance worker has now come forward with eye-witness testimony that a massive explosion erupted in the lower levels of the north tower at approximately the same time the jetliner struck the tower’s top floors. Further Read

Rene Welch – Researcher involved in a government-funded advanced brain development program
Besides the tip-off about 9/11, one of the researchers involved in a government-funded advanced brain program says she uncovered a secret study called “Global Cleanse 2000” outlining U.S. Government strategies for intitiating global war and population reduction. Further Read

Dr. Bill Deagle – Bacteriologist and Government Insider
Claims Oklahoma City and 9/11 Both ‘Inside Jobs’ Despite threats on his life. FBI Head of Bio-Terrorism Tells Dr. Deagle About 9/11 Government Plot in 1999. Further Read

Daniel Ellsberg – Former American military Analyst employed by the RAND Corporation
Stated his concerns that criminal elements of the US government were psychologically capable to have carried out 9/11. Further Read

Mary Schneider – Homeland Security
Reveals that former FBI Director Louis Freeh, FBI Director Robert Mueller and numerous U.S. senators and congressmen knew before the September 11 attacks that U.S. immigration officials were bribed by an illegal Moroccan Muslim allegedly linked to Osama bin Laden’s half-brother. This according to Schneider, who was told about the illegal alien’s ties to terrorism by outside informant Bonnie Sharrit. Further Read

Steven E. Jones – BYU Physics Professor
Calling for an independent, international scientific investigation “guided not by politicized notions and constraints but rather by observations and calculations. Further Read Also see Journal of 9/11 Studies for Peer Reviewed Papers

James H.Fetzer – PhD University of Minnesota Philosophy Professor
“I stand with Steve Jones, professor of physics at BYU and David Ray Griffin, professor emeritus of Theology at Claremont and other students and scholars of 9/11, who believe that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures” Further Read

Mary Maxwell – GOP candidate
Mary Maxwell, said the U.S. government had a role in killing nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, so it could make Americans hate Arabs and allow the military to bomb Muslim nations such as Iraq. Further Read

William Woodward – Professor of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire
William Woodward was a guest on the alex jones show and stated his conviction in his love for his country and the constitution it was founded on– he boldy claims he is prepared to test his right to free speech to the point of death as his states motto proclaims – “University of New Hampshire administrators are standing behind a tenured professor who has publicly theorized that the U.S. government orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, even as Gov. John Lynch condemned his remarks.” Further Read

Bill Christison – Former Senior Official of the CIA, Former National Intelligence Officer and the Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis
In Christison’s recent article, Stop Belittling the Theories About September 11, he afforded credibility to the notion that “significant parts” of the official 9/11 story were false and after careful research he concluded that the twin towers and building 7, “were most probably destroyed by controlled demolition charges placed in the buildings.” Further Read

Robert Steele – Second-Ranking (GS-14) in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence from 1988-1992
“I am forced to conclude that 9/11 was at a minimum allowed to happen as a pretext for war, and I am forced to conclude that there is sufficient evidence to indict (not necessarily convict) Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and others of a neo-conservative neo-Nazi coup d’etat and kick-off of the clash of civilizations” Further Read

Aaron Russo – Director (Freedom to Fascism)
“We all know that 9/11 was a fraud – an inside job”. He also shows that Nicholas Rockefeller had personally assured him there was going to be an “event” that would trigger the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq eleven months before 9/11 took place. Further Read

James Brolin – Actor (husband of Barbara Streisand)
Has become the latest celebrity figure of many to publicly question the official story behind 9/11, after he encouraged viewers of a top rated ABC talk show to check out a 9/11 truth website. Further Read

Paul Craig Roberts – Former Assistant of the US Treasury
Paul Craig Roberts questions why it is largely accepted that the Bush administration lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and yet many still believe they told the truth about 9/11. Further Read

Robin Hordon – Former Boston Center air traffic controller
Has gone public on his assertion that 9/11 was an inside job and that Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon tracked three of the four flights from the point of their hijacking to hitting their targets. In an astounding telephone interview, Robin Hordon claims air traffic controllers have been ignored or silenced to protect the true perpetrators of 9/11. Further Read

Francis A. Boyle – PhD University of Illinois at Champaign
t was Boyle who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention. He claims that the Anthrax Attacks on U.S. Congress Were an Inside Job.
Further Read

David Ray Griffin, PhD – Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of Religion and Theology and Co-director of the Center for Process Studies at the Claremont School of Theology
“The official story is false. … Now why is the official theory an outrageous conspiracy theory? Because every one of the major elements in it can easily be shown to be false.” Further Read

I have several pages of this thought provoking testimonies… the above is only a condesed list.

Here is a list of hundreds more professors and academics alike on a broad spectrum of areas who do not agree with the official explanation of 9/11. 100+ Professors Question 9/11 Commission Report: http://www.wanttoknow.info/070618professorsquestion911
……I mean look at these credentials

Here is a list of 70 Actors all of you know including Sharon Stone and Charlie Sheen, etc..: http://patriotsquestion911.com/media.html

August 17th, 2010, 10:15 pm

 

jad said:

Seriously; why the Syrian government bother with making rules then take it back? The worst part of this news is that the ‘ministry of health’ is the one asking for such stupid changes.
How ignorant and dysfunctional a government can be???????????????

الحكومة تخفف قبضتها في تطبيق قانون منع التدخين .. وزير الصحة يدعو للسماح بالأراكيل في المقاهي
http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=120054

August 17th, 2010, 10:16 pm

 

OFF THE WALL said:

Husam
I went through the presentation. Nice font. One thing that struck me were several insidious uses of facts to bolster unrelated stores and on one occasion to even justify a violent murder of a young WHO staffer who worked on porgrams including those related to infertility (the presentation circles infertility) but fails to describe and mention that WHO infertility programs explore treatments for infertility. Another slide, which is typical of conspiracy theorists is the slide describing falling fertility rates in Bangladesh and other countries. First, the data is rather spotty in terms of frequency of observation. And while I have all reasons to believe in the accuracy of the numbers, the author of the presentation, like any one trying to provide scientific legitimacy to a faulty argument completely and intentionally ignores to provide the socio-political background to bolster their anti family planning agenda.

What that slide shows is a success story, albeit, still below what is needed. Bangladesh’s population tripled in 80 years. The government, starting in 1976, initiated a program to reduce population growth from 3.5 to the levels 1.56 we see now. There was a 16 points program to address the problem, which included at the same time neonatal care (Bangladesh has the highest rate of birth related death of mothers in the world 300+ per 1000). The falling rates were helped by the significant changes in demography as well as the population, which was nearly 95+ rural has shifted and urban centers started growing resulting in further reduction of birth rate. The dramatic decrease had nothing to do with WHO as it was a policy established by and coordinated by elected officials who now recognize that even at this level, they need to bring it down further. The conservative supreme court of Bangladesh is now challenging the government, not to lift the policy, but to ensure its implementation.

That presentation is bad, it is dishonest, and is misleading. And I have kept an open mind. But I am a trained scientist, and I have the ability to spot fraudulent use of real data. And this presentation is not the first i challenged on SC. WHO and UNICEF played supporting role in ensuring the reduction of death during delivery and mother and infant death ratios, both of which are among the 16 points of the Bengali elected governments’ plan.

Bangladesh court seeks report on population growth control initiatives
A High Court Division bench of Bangladesh Thursday directed the government to submit a report within a month on the country’s population growth rate in the last 10 years.

The court also issued a rule upon the government to explain within four weeks why it should not be directed to take additional measures to control over population growth rate in the country.

The High Court bench issued the directives following a writ petition as a public interest litigation jointly filed by four lawyers of the country’s apex court Thursday.

In the writ petition, a total of 15 people, including the country’s cabinet secretary, health secretary, and director general of the Department of Family Planning were asked to respond.

The petitioners prayed for direction upon the government to take immediate measures to control population growth identifying it as a very urgent concern of the country.

The court also ordered the government to explain why an independent ministry should not be established to control the additional population in rural and urban areas.

Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world with a high poverty rate. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Bangladesh’s present population is 162.2 million and may rise to 222.5 million by 2050 at the current growth rate of 1.4 percent.

Source: Xinhua

The policy was established (as described below) early on

Bangladesh sets target to cut population growth rate to 1% by 2010

DHAKA, Oct. 19 — Bangladeshi cabinet Monday approved the draft of the National Population Policy 2004 (NPP 2004) that focuses on bringing down population growth rate to one percent by 2010 from the present 1.54 percent.

According to the Daily Star on Tuesday, the new policy aims to stabilize Bangladesh’s population at 216 million by 2060, and to that end the net reproductive rate has to come down to one percent by 2010.

First outlined in 1976 and revised by a nine-member committee since 2002, the draft NPP 2004 comprises 16 specific objectives that include bringing down maternal and infant mortality rates, and seven implementation strategies including empowerment of women,human development and decentralization of program implementation.

The Maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Bangladesh is one of the highest in the world with 320 women dying during childbirth out ofevery 1,000 live births. Infant mortality rate (IMR) is also quitehigh compared with that of any other developing country, as 70 infants die out of every 1,000.

In view of the high MMR, the new policy particularly emphasizeswomen’s reproductive health envisaging 100 percent safe motherhood,and providing emergency obstetric services at all levels.

It also gives special attention to family planning services mainly to increase contraceptive prevalence rate, by offering choices to women, expanding clinical services from all static healthcare facilities and making home family planning services available.

Adolescent health is one of the priority areas of the policy, proposing school-based reproductive education for young people, and education of parents on the significance of reproductive health education for their children.

On adolescent health, the policy also focuses on late marriage for girls, spacing of childbirth and mass awareness on transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

It also seeks to address high rates of malnutrition, decline inarable land, pollution of environment and water resources, poverty,fast urbanization and growing unemployment.

The draft NNP stresses equal rights of women and men, women’s participation in all spheres of policy-making, proper protection and shelter for the elderly and minimum required calories for all growing children.

To prevent people from migrating to metropolitan areas from rural areas, the policy proposes to increase employment opportunities in agriculture sector and also seeks to develop satellite towns, expand healthcare and educational facilities and scope of employment in the cities.

It is a comprehensive document but the main challenge of the policy is how we are going to translate it into action. A very positive aspect of the policy is that it involves all ministries and calls for equal responsibilities, said Md Fazlur Rahman, director general of Family Planning Directorate.

Source: Xinhua

August 18th, 2010, 2:40 am

 

Badr said:

Mr. ELHADJ,

Do you have anything to say on the issue of why Israel and Syria have so far failed to reach a peace treaty, and if (how?) it could be reached in the future? There is no article on this subject in your website.

August 18th, 2010, 2:52 am

 

Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Just google Dimitri Khalezov.

August 18th, 2010, 4:03 am

 

idaf said:

Alex,
You said: “I want to remind you that in 2005 and 2006 I was almost the only one saying that Syria is not the prime suspect in the Hariri murder, and you and all others found it shocking that I would think that way. Most of you here had zero doubt that Syria killed him.”

I join Norman in the “I told you so” front. I’d like to say that I was with you in 2005-2008! during the past 3 months, I’ve been enjoying saying “I told you so” to all those people I had lengthy discussion with on the Hariri affair over the past 5 years, who were absolutely confident then that Syria did it.

Btw, Ehsani, I told you so 🙂

Soon I’ll be saying “I told you so” to those few people being brainwashed today again to believe that HA did it.

August 18th, 2010, 8:09 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Husam,

In 265, you said: “there are reasons why I feel Elie is a bigot”

It would be nice to know those reasons. I have documented and referenced every piece of information presented here and every where else, by source and page number. Where a reference is missing it must belong to my own work elsewhere and can be easily accessed. I try as much as I can to leave it to reader to draw their own conclusions from the facts. If you don’t like someone’s conclusions you should not think of them bigots, I should think.

You might wish to take the issues I list in my “Open Letter to Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf” in the next comment and respond, not on behalf of the Imam, of course, but to tell us why you think I am a bigot.

Badr,

Do you have anything to say on the issue of why Israel and Syria have so far failed to reach a peace treaty, and if (how?) it could be reached in the future?

I have not written a specific article on this subject. I will at some point. I guess Husam, Al-Masri, Majid, and also Ghat, are too exhausting to handle (just kidding!).

Elie

August 18th, 2010, 9:31 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

Following the discussion on the Ground Zero Mosque, I decided to write an open letter to the promoter of the project.

An Open Letter to Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, Promoter of the New York’s Ground Zero Mosque
August 2010

Dear Imam Abdul Rauf,

Congratulations on attaining your aim to build an Islamic community center and mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero.z

Allowing the construction of this complex close to where the former World Trade Center stood on the morning of September 11, 2001 is a tribute to American’s sense of justice and strength, self-confidence and tolerance, respect to the rule of law and secularism.

Imam Abdul Rauf, your big challenge has just begun. To fulfill your interest in reconciling religions and countering the backlash against Muslims you must deal with very serious and sensitive issues. With respect, sir, I would like to outline six issues.

First, until you are able to pacify the intolerant and violent Quranic verses against non-Muslims in general, Christians and Jews in particular, please refrain from proclaiming Islam a religion of peace. Although the Quran contains tolerant peaceful verses like 2:62, 2:136, 2:256, 29:46, it also contains intolerant violent verses like 2:65, 2:120, 2:191, 2:193, 2:216, 2:217, 5:14, 5:51, 5:59, 5:60, 5:78, 8:60, 9:05, 9:29.

Will you teach that today’s Christians and Jews are to be condemned the way the Quran condemns their seventh century ancestors? Will you take issue with men like Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudais, the leading cleric of Islam’s holiest mosque in Mecca, who told his congregation in 2004: “Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil forefathers of the even more evil Jews of today . . . the scum of the human race, accursed by Allah, who turned them into apes and pigs.”

Second, there is the Islamic Shari’a treatment of women—four wives simultaneously to one Muslim man, divorce at his will without giving cause, a woman’s inheritance and testimony in a court of law being equal to one half of those of a man. Misyar marriage contracts (for Sunnis) and mut’a marriages (for Shi’ites) are akin to prostitution.

Also, Sahih Al-Bukhari attributed to the Prophet saying that most of those who are in hell are women, that women’s “lack of intelligence” is the reason why a woman’s testimony in an Islamic court of law is equal to half that of the testimony of the Muslim male, and that the reason why women are prohibited from praying and fasting during menstruation is due to them being “deficient in religious belief.” Sunan Al-Nasai attributed to the Prophet saying: “People who entrust the management of their affairs to a woman will fail.”

Will you be encouraging the faithful to apply Shari’a injunctions?

Imam Abdul Rauf, may I respectfully suggest that you benefit us with your thoughts on Shari’a treatment of women as compared with the treatment accorded by the Prophet Muhammad to his first wife Khadija? We are told that Khadija was the best born in Quraish, a successful businesswoman and the richest. We are also told that Khadija employed young Muhammad in her business, that she proposed marriage to Him when He was about 25 years old, and that she was about 15 years His senior and twice a widow. We are told that for the 25 years of the Prophet’s marriage to Khadija, until her death in 620, He remained monogamous to her, that she was the one person to whom He turned for advice and comfort, and that Khadija was the first convert to Islam. Such an image makes Khadija an emancipated, commanding woman of high standing in Meccan society and in the eyes of her husband par excellence, and that the Prophet treated her with faithfulness and devotion.

Will you be explaining the contradiction between the Prophet’s treatment of Khadija and the treatment of women that emerged under Shari’a Law?

Will you be teaching and preaching that disobedient woman (wives) should be hit or beaten up in order to accord with Quran’s 4:34?

Will you be explaining why it is that Muslim non-Arab Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey interpret Sharia Law in such a way as to allow women to become presidents and prime ministers.

Do you support the suckling of the adult fatwa, which has recently become the subject of considerable debate in Arab media? If the answer is no, will you explain Sahih Muslim’s dedication of a special section titled: “Suckling the grown-up man” as well as Sunan Abi Dawood’s dedication of a similar section to the same subject.

Third, will you be teaching that the punishment for apostasy from Islam (and blasphemy) is death, that for false accusation and drinking alcohol the punishment is flogging (though in 47:15 the Quran promises rivers of wine in paradise for the pious and the good to drink)? Will you be preaching that the penalty for theft is amputation of hands or feet and for theft with homicide is execution by the sword followed by crucifixion, and that the punishment for adultery (when the offenders are mature, married Muslims) is stoning to death? On the penalty for adultery, the Quran imposes 100 lashes to each adulterer (24:2). However, attributions to the Prophet by five Hadith collectors changed the punishment for adultery from 100 lashes to stoning the adulteress and the adulterer until death. Which penalty will you be advocating?

Fourth, will the new center sponsor academic research on its own or in conjunction with prime universities in the East and the West into the historicity of the Quran and the Hadith scientifically?

Fifth, will you be teaching that Shi’ites, Islamilis, Druzes, Alawites, let alone non-Muslims are heretics?

Sixth, how will you teach verse 9:29: “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day… even if they are of the People of the Book, until they pay the protective tax (jizya) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” While verses like 2:120, 5:14, 5:51, and 5:78 criticize Christian and Jews and urge Muslims not to befriend them, 9:29 goes beyond criticism, friendship, and retaliation–it orders Muslims to fight Christian and Jews even if these people do not attack Muslims.

On an individual level, it is hoped that your teaching and preaching will inspire Islamists to experience moments of remorse for what their jihadist brethren had done to the neighborhood that now hosts your center. Hopefully, your preaching will inspire Islamists everywhere to compare their hatred with the understanding that America affords you and their violence with the protection that N.Y. now accords you. Hopefully, you will inspire in jihadists the world over that feeling of genuine gratitude and true respect to, if not love of, America and what America’s ideals really mean.

Hopefully, the new center will prompt those Islamic countries that discriminate against their own non-Muslim citizens and residents to appreciate, possibly emulate, America’s religious tolerance and freedom.

Hopefully, the new center won’t be hijacked by Wahhabi money and be reduced to a Pakistan/Taliban madrassah type. Hopefully, New York authorities will ensure that that will not happen and that the directors and officers of the new center would be held accountable for their deeds.

Hopefully, you would succeed in establishing branches of your center in Macca, Madina, Braida, Eniza and the rest of the Wahhabi hot bed towns and villages of the Qaseem region and the lands controlled by their Taliban disciples in Pakistan and Afghanistan so that religions may be reconciled and the backlash against Muslims may be countered.

Sincerely,
Elie Elhadj

Background information
On September 11, 2001, the day Islamist terrorists flew two passenger airplanes into the World Trade Center, a plane’s landing gear crashed through the roof of the 152 year old Burlington Coat Factory’s five-story building at 45-47 Park Place, two blocks north of Ground Zero. The building, vacant since that fateful day, was purchased in July 2009 for nearly $5 million by a real estate company associated with the promoters of the new center.

Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and an investor in the project, has announced plans to transform the site into a $100 million 15-story Islamic center, called Park51, with a swimming pool, basketball court, a library, art studios, auditorium, a September 11 memorial besides the mosque and room for seminars to reconcile religions and to counteract the backlash against Muslims in general.

The project created a storm of passionate debate. Its promoters and supporters argue that the project will bring better understanding among religions. To its opponents, the project is an insensitive aggressive act.

August 18th, 2010, 9:45 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Speaking for Most Jews;)

Elie,

Great letter. Keep it up!

PS – And what if Imam Abdul Rauf doesn’t agree with your 6 points? Then what?

August 18th, 2010, 10:04 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Alex
stop defending ElHadje saying he is anti political Islam and not anti islamic, ,Obviously from the above he is anti islam.
All what he mentioned show complete distortion of Islam,He goes as far as lying,I suspect he is seeking AIPAC MONEY

August 18th, 2010, 10:22 am

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

Akbar Palace said:

Speaking for Most Jews;)

Elie,

Great letter. Keep it up!

On behalf of almost ALL NON-JEWS.

Will you AP be writing the same kind of letter to the below?

http://warincontext.org/2010/08/17/do-most-israeli-jews-consider-non-jews-to-be-sub-human/

August 18th, 2010, 10:22 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

MAJIDKHALDOUN,

“All what he mentioned show complete distortion of Islam, He goes as far as lying,I suspect he is seeking AIPAC MONEY”

Please be specific. I challenge you to refute a single quote I made.

Cheap accusation is easy and irresponsible.

You don’t know who I am. Elie Elhadj has never been for sale and will never be.

Elie

August 18th, 2010, 10:36 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

El Hadj
Keep on Lying
you said
it orders Muslims to fight Christian and Jews even if these people do not attack Muslims.
In Islam it says La Ta3tado,do not start a fight
What you said is lye

August 18th, 2010, 11:36 am

 

Husam said:

Elie:

1. You are retired, I am not.

2. It seems your sole interest and major focus (other than rants about the M.E.) seems to be Islam. You don’t miss an opportunity to link Islam to the ills of the world. You switch back between Wahabism, Ahadiths, Quran, Islam interchangeable to suite the context of your point to distort the truth. My life is about my 2 kids, my growing business, my friends, health, my faith and whatever free time I have to contribute to SC. I am not on a mission to spread Islam to SC commentators like you are interested in stomping on it at every turn.

3. I have addressed many of your concerns, points and distortions in the past like “Aisha’s age (PBUH)”, “Buckhari’s aids in writing”, “why more women are in hell”, what fatwas have bearing on Muslims, the disputes among Imams, etc…You have failed to respond. Many, many valid points were made by others as well regarding your call for Ahadiths revision; you simply disappeared, claiming your arrogance over everyone else. On one hand you say we don’t have the credentials (no CV, no blog, no name, no address etc…), but on the other hand, you don’t bring your issues to those who have the proper Islamic knowledge. Depite your blog and your full name, you don’t want to take this up close & personal, you want to remain suspended aloft on cyberspace and SC. Any serious person who feels strongly as you would have taken the podium (like many others before you).

4. I am not a scholar of Islam. And, I have not spent the last ten years of my life researching Islam (like you seem to have done, yes with an agenda). I see no use and frankly I don’t trust that investing the time will be reciprocated to the end.

5. Instead of bringing your points to SC, where most of whom are your friends and share similar views, why not take your questions to a religious forum, have them debated by people who understand Islam (or at least think they do), and come back and post your results here (or link them to a videoconference, or something of that nature). I think you will find your answers there and not on SC…. unless of course you are just looking for acknowledgment from peers and clapping from friends.

6. Lastly, I have addressed you directly in previous post. You jumped in and out like a rabbit. I am not interested to debate Islam because my knowledge is limited and because I have already stated what/why I think your views are negative and distortive in nature (very similar to OTW analysis of the vaccine document I asked him to read). To be clearer, your experience in S.A. seems to me like a women who has been raped and understandably never forgets the face of her assailant. Many women can’t get over it, and think the worst of men all their lives. You were treated like a 2nd class citizen, and you had to hide your views and faith (or lack thereof) but you bore it for the money or other circumstances. That is the way I see it, if I have been mistaken, then please forgive me.

7. I also doubt your letter will be answered. Why, because your tone is not of one that really wants to know the answers, it is more of negative assertions and lacks sincerity.

August 18th, 2010, 11:45 am

 

Husam said:

Majekhaldoun:

I have not written directly to you before. Salams! The majority of commentators here look up to Elie for his contribution to SC. He has seniority and has earned mastery in stating lies, distortions, and half-truths about Islam and making them seem believable (I am sure you have read my many previous comments about this). No one has the time, nor the interests anymore than we already have to enveal his distortions. I wish I did, but I don’t.

His tactics are similar to AP but with AP, the audience is more knowledgeable and interested in the M.E. than with Islam. So the tide is against AP in this forum. That is why most of the time AP doesn’t stand a chance. Elie wouldn’t stand a chance on an Islamic forum, and he knows it. If he did, he would be brave enough to walk into the new Mosque in NY and ask for a debate in public, or at the very least online.

Ramadan Moubarak to you!

August 18th, 2010, 11:55 am

 

Husam said:

sorry for the typo… I meant enveil his distortions… (not enveal).

August 18th, 2010, 11:57 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

El Hadj says Islam order cutting the legs of a theif, It is another LIE
He encourage Adultary, is this what good ethic in your mind,adultary and steeling is not ethical in all religion and non religous people except in your mind ,you make me sick

August 18th, 2010, 11:57 am

 

Husam said:

Ghat:

Just because some Jews have declared or interpreted others as sub-humans doesn’t not mean it is ok for Islam to be the same. It is better to hit the nail on the head. Elie is not looking for answers that is why he is here.

However, I understand your point regarding the similarities with AP and Elie. I felt the same way.

Cheers,

August 18th, 2010, 12:01 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Those Racist Jews; We Tolerant Muslims

…some Jews have declared or interpreted others as sub-humans…

Husam,

Which Jews do you know “have declared or interpreted others as sub-humans”?

See if you can find as many examples as the one below, and then we can compare and contrast them…

(Shai, maybe you can help Husam.)

http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/51/2680.htm

August 18th, 2010, 12:10 pm

 

Ghat Al Bird said:

HUSAM.

Appreciate your comment above. The two you mentioned are alike a fellow American who on a trip to Cairo, Egypt some years ago kept asking one of our tour guides how long it took to build structures that the guide pointed out to the group. The guide whose living depended on guiding tourists answered as best as he could as to the length of time it took to build several of the buildings.

After a half hour or so on having to answer such questions, the fellow tourist asked how long it took to build a 10 or 12 storey building that we had just gone by. The guide who along with most of the group had had enough replied in Americanese…”Gee we passed by here yesterday and that building was not here.” Needless to say that that was greeted with much laughter.

August 18th, 2010, 12:47 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

For perfect accuracy I have added the word “frequent” before the word “theft” in:

Third,… Will you be preaching that the penalty for repeated theft is amputation of hands or feet and for theft with homicide is execution by the sword followed by crucifixion…

Elie

August 18th, 2010, 2:11 pm

 

Alex said:

IDAF and Norman,

That is right, both of you, in addition to Ausamaa (remember him?), rejected the “Syria, and only Syria, could have killed Hariri” conviction of everyone else.

Remember why they were all sure?

1) First, because the bomb was under ground and only Syrian intelligence could have planted it there!

Later they found out there was no under ground bomb, but no one cared to remember what they were convinced of initially.

2) Hariri was supposedly wearing a secret hi-tech pen that recorded proof that Assad (during a meeting) told him he will kill him if he did not do as Assad wants …

Then when no such pen existed in reality, … no one cared to remember.

3) Then “Syria was implicated” by Mehlis’ first report … all based on testimony of two false witnesses.

And still, everyone wanted to still believe it.

Husam, Majedkhaldoon

Please let the readers decide if Dr. Elhadj, or you have the accurate version of everything. Please either ignore what he writes or provide your corrections without writing “you are a liar”

I am working on a site that will be focusing on debating Islam related issues and authors from all points of view will be invited to contribute.

Jad,

Argeeleh (water pipe) is much more harmful than Cigarette smoking. I wish they would not allow it back in all Cafes, and instead they would give permits to a limited number of cafes to have a small section that is isolated from the rest of the place where customers who insist to smoke can do so.

August 18th, 2010, 2:50 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Husam
Happy Ramadan to you too

Alex
Do you remember Madoff,He stole billions , three people commit suicide ,many became very poor ask those victims if Madoff sentence is appropriate.

August 18th, 2010, 4:02 pm

 

Nour said:

Jad,

I think many coffee shops were complaining about losing a lot of business because smoking was banned altogether. I agree with Alex though; I think in order to be allowed to serve arakeel, coffee shops should obtain special permits, as is the case here in the US.

August 18th, 2010, 4:50 pm

 

Husam said:

Jad:

In reference to our last exchange, thank you for your candid response and insight. I understand what you mean about how someone can have an agenda/theory and sets out to prove a point, and as result ends up misrepresenting the information, or leaves out certain important data that can change the whole picture. Elie, does that many times with Islam. My thinking, is cui bono and what is the motive of those doctors that are pointing out these information…I mean they are not selling us anything else unlike the others who are working for the drug companies, they are unfunded. You say, pro-life Christians, true, some are probably Christians, but that alone is not totally convincing for me.

Can you tell me why do you think there is/was Mercury in flu shots at alarming rates over what was approved by th EPA? And what of thousands of other scientist and medical doctors whom are against this, can they be fools too, aren‘t they qualified?

Do you buy the Mechiavellian Pharma Theory? I mean it certainly is plausible, money is a dirty thing. Shiv Chopra, an official with Health Canada was fired (I watched part of the proceedings, this is true) for whistle blowing Monsanto for testifying that they tried to bribe him (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto), I mean this sort of stuff happens all the time.

What about the scientific correlation between Mercury levels and morpholility and mobility of the sperm (choy, et al)? Are you saying that this data is tampered with?

Why did the WHO continue to support the use of Thimerosal?

You see no issue with the following statement by the father of Hell, who has pumped more money into Vaccinations than anyone:

“By its very nature, population is a
continuing concern and should receive
continuing attention. Later generations, and
later commissions, will be able to see the
right path further into the future. In any
case, no generation needs to know the
ultimate goal or the final means, only the
direction in which they will be found.”
J.D. Rockerfeller

How can you trust such a person or any organization with which he creates, controls or funds directly or indirectly!?

What about The National Security Memo:

“The US to collaborate with other countries in researching human reproduction and fertility control….”The term itself “fertility control” to me is disgusting. No one should control anyone’s else’s body, if you want to make family planning an issue, you have to go through the front door via education and personal choice.

August 18th, 2010, 5:17 pm

 

Husam said:

Alex @ 307:

Since our last exchange, I have not called anyone a liar. Please refraining from “groupings” unless true and warranted.

Alex: You did not acknowledge comment @265 regarding whom you will strike off and when you will intervene. Do I have your assurance that you will try your best, at least, to be fair?

Majedkhaldoun:

We all know how many people sit in jail in the US for all sorts of crimes from rape and theft to murder and everything in between.

The most developed secular countries in the world (North America, Europe) have the top ten crime rate in the world!

http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/countries-with-highest-reported-crime-rates.html

While Asia despite its poverty, lack of prowess and power is the lowest. I heard that till this day the only place where the majority of stores remaining unlocked and unprotected during Friday prayers or afternoon siesta is Saudia Arabia.

August 18th, 2010, 5:31 pm

 

Husam said:

My last comment @ 310 was intended for OTW, and not Jad. Sorry for the confusion.

August 18th, 2010, 5:39 pm

 

Norman said:

I do not know why would anybody discuss what Islam says or for that case what Christianity or Judaism says , what is important is not what religions say but how we use our religions to live our lives and abide by the laws of the land ,

By the way , as i am not familiar with what is in the Koran or the old testament for that matter , does anybody know how i can find the Koran in Arabic or English on CD so i can listen to it in my can and then make informed comments , you all might want to wait until i am done so i can enlighten you all ,LOL ,

August 18th, 2010, 10:21 pm

 

Husam said:

Hi Norman:

Perhaps you can enlighten us by the time Alex launches the site he is working on which supposedly focuses on religion….

You have 4 options:

1) If you would like, I got a few copies and I can send you a CD in Arabic or in English (if you are fluent in Arabic, better in Arabic) to your P.O Box. 🙂

2) If you prefer to get it yourself and have used eBay or Paypal before, here is the link:

http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m570.l1313&_nkw=quran+on+cd&_sacat=See-All-Categories

3) If you live in metropolitan city, just Google: “Islamic Library” and your city name, or “Islamic Bookstore” and the name of your city. The results should show something nearby.

4) Walk into any major mosque in your area around 12:30 PM before Friday prayers and you should have a bookstore in there where you will find many CDs.

I like the ones on eBay because the compilation is on one single CD for like $5-10 bucks shipped. If you would like me to ship it to you, please forward your mailing address to my email address programm_it@yahoo.com

Please specify English or Arabic, MP3 or regular CD.

Cheers,

August 18th, 2010, 10:41 pm

 

Norman said:

Husam ,
Thank you ,

August 18th, 2010, 11:18 pm

 

Off the Wall said:

Dear Husam
Since the presentation misrepresented intentionally some of the facts, I can not trust the rest. You know the story, once liar …. Therefore, to answer your question about mercury, I will have to do my independent review, which may involve obtaining and reading quite few epidemiological and toxicological papers. And while I am little familiar with epidemiology from a couple of policy courses I took a while back, and with its statistical analysis from the rest of my career, I am not at all knowledgeable enough in Chemistry and in toxicology. This will take time that I am afraid now that I do not have. But how about we make a deal, I promise you to do so at the earliest possible opportunity by obtaining and reading for myself some of the epidemiological studies mentioned in the power point, provided that they are published in legitimate journals, And you simply be patient with me on that.

That said, Monsanto has been on my crookdar (crook radar) for few years now. I have even posted a story about their practices in India, which in fact is polluting native and local seed stocks by planting their fields near other farmers and then suing the farmers for patent infringement due to cross pollination. Monsanto’s practices are probably responsible for increased suicide rates in rural India and there is a big social justice movement developing to thwart their attempt to completely eradicate local seed stock. They have resorted to bribes in many country to enact legislations that permit their genetically enhanced stock into the marked despite of grass root movement. I do not have a lot of time to find and post links now, but again, I will try my best to do so in the future. I am in fact interested in finding if Monsanto has penetrated Arab agriculture. Do you have information on that? I would be very interested.

Norman, your scientific input is desperately sought here please commentBack to Mercury and large scale immunization programs. On this one, I would like to draw on Norman’s expertise in drawing an analogy with oncology. When the disease is life-threatening, the doctor and patient must balance the toxic effect of drastic treatment, which work by killing cells, hoping that it will kill malignant cells before the cumulative effects on healthy cells kills the patient. As I understand it, much of the research in finding better treatment goes into improving the selective targeting of malignant cells while leaving healthy cells alone (Norman, am I making any sense here?). Now project that to societal scale. First, WHO can not act in a country unless the political leadership of the country approves of its programs in the country. Is it possible that the scale of infant mortality in these countries is so dramatic that even with the risks associated with side effects, or with mercury, in terms of the percent of population impacted is still better than without the immunization program?. While you will off course, argue legitimately that the decision should be left to the individual family, and that information should be provided to individual family, and I would agree. However, (there is always the annoying however), when the percentages are small enough, one could argue for or against epidemiological studies especially if the statistical significance are just on border-line of hypothesis rejection. A couple of years ago, Shai and I had a pleasant dialog here on SC about the way some scientists use statistical tools in an attempt to prove their hypothesis, contrary to what science is all about, which is trying to refute ones own hypothesis, and failing to so, it would then stand the probability of being correct. This is the heart of solid empirical research.

I can understand how the term fertility control can be offensive to you. But I would rather take an offensive, yet honest name (call the duck a duck) than take one of these names invented by neocons to make ugly realities sound reasonable. From the stories on Bangladesh, the country’s survival depends on fertility control and on its ability to succeed in doing so because once the system reaches a tipping point of collapse, it will sustain no one. And there would be no need for ferteility control. Famine, disease, poverty, and state failure would start exercising population control .

I will not comment on your discussion with ELie about the mosque. I have not had the chance to read his and the counter-arguments thoroughly yet. But can anyone deny that in KSA, and in areas under Taliban control, people have had their hands cut. And stoning for was exercised. These two punishments are canonical. And for any one to defend them, ask your self first, would you be willing to hold the sward,or to be the one throwing all the stones. These are part of a criminal code, but criminal codes evolve and punishments change with society’s evolution. So what Elie is saying, if we accept Sharia as the singular source of laws, there would be powerful people who can bring back these punishments. That does not mean he is encouraging theft or adultery. And with all to respect, arguing such is a scare tactic. This of course does not absolve Elie from also using a little of his own scare tactic when he exaggerates the prevalence of these practices. The majority of Islamic countries have criminal codes that do not use these punishments. But unfortunately, there are plenty of so called Ulama, who are advocating to their followers that the state is a sinner because it does not apply the Sharia 7udood. If they succeed in getting power, I firmly believe that they would do so. The taliban did that in Afghanistan, In some African countries, local authorities have also done so, to the detriment of their people, and mostly to women. If you believe, as I do, and I think you do based on your description of your family and the way you make family decision, that oppressing women, preventing them from education, and treating them like property are not parts of Islam and do not represent true Islam, then we both are arguing on the wrong site, one should be taking this point to Islamic sites where many ignorant Ulama continue to propagate advices promoting exactly what we think is un-islamic in the name of Islam. It is these people you have to fight and it is their followers that you have to liberate from the wrong interpretations. Not Elie, for I genuinely believe that he would be on your side in that struggle. As someone said, Elie would not stand a chance on these sites, but you would.

August 19th, 2010, 2:20 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

OFF THE WALL,

It is a pleasure to read your educational and rational comments.

I fully realize the sensitivity of the material on religion that I raise. It took me many years before I could gather the inner strength to discuss religion in general, Islam in particular, critically. It was terribly frightening at first.

Why the fear? Because like most in Syria, I was conditioned as a child at home and school not cross the red line of religion. I grew up among Muslim boys. I attended Islamic religion classes in high school, though I did not have to in those days. I was a typical conformist kid.

I, therefore, realize the pain that some feel as a result of my discussing religious reform issues critically.

I firmly believe that without religious reform there is no political reform and without serious reforms we will be condemned to a life of poverty and exploitation by the developed world. I firmly believe that the way of life that Arab societies lead today, which is the Islamic way of life, is at the core of Arab sorry state of affairs. I firmly believe that the utmost expression of patriotism today is to rebel against religious dogma and call for the separation of religion from the state. The West did it with fantastic results! Syria and other Arab countries should follow suit.

I have chosen to become an agent of genuine religious and political change, but not before spending seven years at SOAS as a student after leaving seven years in Riyadh, during which I was the agent of change helping usher Arab National Bank into the cutting edge of modern banking.

No, Husam, Elie was not mistreated in Saudia. I he were, he would have walked out. You ought to know better. A bank ceo in Riyadh is accorded the utmost of respect at all levels.

It would easier for me to tow the line and be an apologist repeating those one thousand year old traditionists account. But, that would be cowardly and cheating.

Elie

August 19th, 2010, 5:49 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

302. majedkhaldoun, Husam et al…

Report: Saudi Judge Considers Paralysis Punishment
2010-08-19 14:28:54.183 GMT

Cairo (AP) — Saudi media are reporting that a judge has asked several hospitals in the country whether they could damage a man’s spinal cord as punishment after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver and paralyzing him.

Saudi Arabia enforces Islamic law and on occasion metes out punishments based on the ancient code of an eye-for-an-eye.

At least two Saudi newspapers reported Thursday that a judge in northwestern Tabuk province asked hospitals for a medical opinion on the question.

Okaz newspaper reports that a leading hospital in Riyadh responded that it could not do the operation. Two of the hospitals involved and the court were closed for the Saudi weekend and could not be reached for comment.

-0- Aug/19/2010 14:28 GMT

Now, Majidkhaldou, Husam, et al… this should be what shocks you, not the issues I discuss.

Elie

August 19th, 2010, 11:30 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Elie
Do you believe in Death sentance?
Executions are carried out nowaday in USA.
In Islam there is no prison sentance,do you know why?
In USA there is over 2.5 million prisoner,at a cost over 150 billion dollar a year,and the question do you approve of prison system even that it is generally known as failing system?
should we ,good people, pay for criminals?
I asked you before another question and no reply,I repeat it .what would you think the victims of Mr. Madoff feel about his sentance ? knowing 3 commited suicide and many became very poor after being very rich.
Putting people to death ,as is done in USA, is it worse than cutting limb?
Waiting for your answer.

August 19th, 2010, 1:52 pm

 

Elie Elhadj said:

MAJIDKHALDOUN,

“Do you believe in Death sentance?”

Absolutely positively not.

“should we ,good people, pay for criminals?”

Of course. That’s a part of the cost of living in an evolved civilized society.

“In Islam there is no prison sentence”.

Saudi jails are full to the brim with prisoners.

“what would you think the victims of Mr. Madoff feel about his sentance?”

Mr. Madoff will spend the rest of his life in jail. Madoff got his punishment according to the law. Arab rulers and their cronies rob and murder with impunity. The rule of law is above all else in the US.

“Putting people to death ,as is done in USA, is it worse than cutting limb?”

I am against the death penalty under all circumstances. Cutting limbs for theft is outrageous in modern society.

On the subject of limbs:

302. majedkhaldoun said:

“El Hadj says Islam order cutting the legs of a theif, It is another LIE”.

5:38 (Asad) says: “As for the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off the hand of either of them in requital for what they have wrought, as a deterrent ordained by God.”

It evolved that if the same thief steels again then his/her foot would be cut off (left foot if he/she had lost the right hand).

You said: “it’s another LIE”.

What were the other lies?

“He encourage Adultary, is this what good ethic in your mind,adultary and steeling is not ethical in all religion and non religous people except in your mind ,you make me sick”.

Misyar and Mut’a “marriage” contracts are akin to prostitution. Both should be condemned in today’s world.

Elie

August 19th, 2010, 2:24 pm

 

Husam said:

Elie:

You failed to answer my point @ 299, point #5 regarding bringing your issues to the proper Islamic forum:
A. Either you are afraid or,
B. You think that there are no moderate Islamic Sunni platforms in the world where you will find moderate Ulema(s) to debate with.

If you select B. then it means you have a problem with Islam as whole and not just Wahabism and outlandish fatwas. You cannot solve the Palestinian problem without sitting with the Israelis. Why don’t you sit with the people who have the knowledge and the influence to bring about change that you are advocating?

Nothing shocks me in today’s world. There are atheist and cultist that eat other people (cannibalism). And there are people who devote their whole life on nit picking, like you do, (with an agenda, I know, I know some of you think he has no agenda, I am sure he does) extreme religious interpretations to set the discourse against Islam as a whole. And, there are also boys and teenagers whom are forced into felatio in the Vatican. But I don’t go scrutining the World Wide Web looking for outlandish Fatwas, or suckling of the bigger parts in the Church and come back here to SC and report it at every “opportunity” like you are doing “Ahaaaa, look, Muslims are crazies… the Church is homo fraternity…you should be shocked”.

Priests listen to tell-all confessions everyday on behalf of God. And if one bishop asked you to bend over in order to heal or forgive you, will you heed his call?

95% of Mulisms, like 95% of Christians, act in the same normal fashion as everyone else. There will always be crazy people in all religions calling for this or for that. It certainly doesn’t mean that they are listened to and followed like robots which you seem to be tirelessly advocating.

Elie, I suggest that you add your latest finding to the breast suckling and all your other treasures for future reference. And if you really enjoy this kind of stuff and want to save us “Muslims”, develop a site like Daniel Pipes and expose Islam. You can also copy/paste from other sites as there are tons of them online.

I hope you will consider my suggestion; it will give you personal satisfaction and it will attract people to read and investigate such crazy “Muslim” stuff. In essence, you will be doing the propagation of Islam a great favor, because once they read and discover your site, they will be intrigued and will research further arriving at truths, as has just been witnessed by all of us when Norman decided he wants to find out what this nonsense is all about on his own! Many people converted this way and accepted Islam as their faith. They will understand that despite some outlandish disputed Fatwas and despite the Elie(s), the Daniel Pipes and the propaganda in the Media, Islam is beautiful.

Elie, ever seriously ask yourself with all the Talibans and Wahabis, with all the media distortions, and shocking fatwas you fathom, why is Islam growing? Part Answer: It is in part because of people like you spreading negativity, and exactly the reverse happens. Faith and spirituality is a very difficult thing to accept or change, yet dozens of thousands do so every day more to Islam than unto any other faith! September 11th, made me question my faith and I am a better Muslim today because I read and researched for endless nights and realized the truths in what the Quran and Sunnah preaches.

Elie, lastly you said:

“Misyar and Mut’a “marriage” contracts are akin to prostitution. Both should be condemned in today’s world.”

Why should prostitution be banned? Says who? In Holland it is NOT illegal! Prostitution has been around since Adam… so why and when did we evolve to arrive at such conclusion?

August 19th, 2010, 3:34 pm

 

t_desco said:

Al-Akhbar provides a translation of Stephan Rosiny’s analysis. Nice. So good to see somebody who (unlike most Western journalists) is able to think and ask questions.

August 19th, 2010, 3:39 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Elie
You are against death penalty, I have never heared you talking and blamming USA or any western country criticizing them for death penalty, why dont you do that ? why do you limit yourself about Islam?
You said SAudi jails is full, you are evading and confusing the question I did not ask about Saudia I said in Islam there is no prison sentence, imprisonment is borrowed from the west it has nothing to do with Islam so your answer is wrong
Again in number 5 you quote Asad, while you talks about Islam here again you are confusing the question,people who want to be involved in any discussion should not twist words nor exagerate nor distort, and you seems always to resort to unfounded facts or exageration.
About bernie Madoff you evaded the question go back to my question and read it again

Misyar and Nutaa marriage is not accepted in Islam The prophet banned Mutaa marriage, and Misyar marriage he allowed it if and only if the intention is to be permenent, the importasnt thing is the intention so your point is not valid
about paying criminals I disagree with you, the penalty should be paid by criminala
You did not answer me about why in Islam there is no prison sentence.
I said it , and I say it again there is no where in Quraan or sunni that you cut the legs of someone who steels,this is your conclusion and you seem to have a lot of wrong conclusions
About the Hadith where the prophet banned writing Hadiths, you said that Hadith and sunni is not part of Islam based on this Hadith, first this Hadith was adminstrative order it has nothing to do with essence of Islam, early in Islam it was banned to write Hadiths later on it was “this hadith” deleted, If you studied Islam you should have known the story about Abdullah ibn Amr ibn AmAss, but no you decided to distort Islam, no you prefer to tell half truth, no you twists facts
I do not like long speech ,but you made me.my comment usually few lines

August 19th, 2010, 4:52 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

I meant Abdullah ibn amr ibn AlAss

August 19th, 2010, 4:56 pm

 

Majhool said:

Please guys, we don’t want this forum to be a gathering of radicals. Radical s”eculars” who advocate secularism for the sake of secularism and at all cost, and radical Muslims who don’t appreciate any other world view.

Most Syrians are in the middle. I have been talking to many ex bloggers and many share my observation of this forum.

Let me be blunt, minorities in Syria should stop this fear mongering and phobia and stop hiding behind secularism, we need to go beyond this and go develop this country.

And Salafi Muslims, should learn, and if not capable, be forced to accept and respect the beliefs of others, all within the laws of the Land.

I fully support the Banning of Neqab. We need more of these laws.

By the way, I think Elie’s tone and language is offensive, not to me but to the majority of Mulsims. This language would not be acceptable even in the reputed american media outlets. some sensitivity goes along way.

August 19th, 2010, 8:10 pm

 
 

Husam said:

Elie:

….continued

Where did our ethics and morals come from originally? Where did our laws derive from? Man evolved from the stone age and figured his way? I believe not. What one person may view as illegal another may find it tolerable. So which yardstick and on what basis do you build laws of the land on?

Law and lawyers need theologians and moral philosophers to make good sound laws. However, the majority of lawyers nowadays are driven by greed and are heavily trained in technique, but very little on moral and legal philosophy. That is why anyone in serious trouble is told: you better get yourself an expensive lawyer if you can afford the best. And that is why the Jail business is flourishing.

We don’t hold criminals accountable for their crimes, rather we excuse their behaviour or part thereof, on environmental and social conditioning. Today, the simple notion of free choice of committing a crime, is influenced by social and biological factors which argues that actions are a result of heredity and environmental factors. The responsibility of the individual have been diminished in the criminal justice system due to the huge influence of such secular ideologies like those of yours, Elie.

August 19th, 2010, 10:07 pm

 

Husam said:

OTW:

About your first paragraph @ 317, deal accepted. And, I am honoured that you are willing to look deeper in this when time permits as I believe you are probably more qualified than I in this area. About Mercury, from what I understood, it doesn’t need to be in there and it can be substituted by something safer and less destructive.

About Monsanto, I do know 110% from my research that they are heavily invested in Egypt but have not reached Syria. I had several email exchanges with the office of Ministry of Agriculture in Syria 2 years back and they did not even know what I was talking about. I think it is only a matter of time. Ahhhh, those tasty fruits. I hope to enjoy at least another 5 years before Syria is invaded by Monsanto. What is wrong with so many seeds in the watermelon? I can’t stand modified oranges without seeds either, it seems unnatural.

Regarding the cutting of the hand, the verdict for me is still up in the air. I don’t think the current legal system anywhere goes far enough in exercising punishment. That is why a great part of our populations are in Jail or have done time. I don’t buy Elie’s argument that this is part of a modern just society and we should pay for everyone else’s mistake. For arguments sake, if tomorrow, cutting off of the hand was made law in Canada, what would happen after 3 years, would theft increase, stay the same or decrease significantly. People know they will get off easily especially if it is the first or second offence.

With all due respect to you, considering Elie’s current views, agenda, distortions, I can never be on the same side as him as you stated. When one offends the majority of Muslims like Majhool has mentioned who represent the Syrian moderate Islamic society, any iota of goodness would be dismissed much like you dismissed the article I presented you.

August 19th, 2010, 10:55 pm

 

jad said:

As if Mr. Al Qaradawi give a damn about freedom or equality?!

القرضاوي يناشد الأسد الغاء “حظر النقاب”
2010-08-19
ناشد العلامة الدكتور يوسف القرضاوي رئيس الاتحاد العالمي لعلماء المسلمين الرئيس بشار الأسد، بالتدخل لوقف قرار وزارتي التربية والتعليم العالي منع المنقبات من حقهن في التعليم والتعلم بالمدارس والجامعات السورية.
وقال القرضاوي خلال حلقة الشريعة والحياة الأخيرة، التي تبثها قناة الجزيرة اختلفت الاقوال في الحجاب، إلا أنه مع “الحرية الشخصية لأي إنسان بارتداء مايشاء من الملابس”، وهذا الحق كفلته القوانين والدساتير، موضحا أن قرار السلطات السورية يحرم الكثير من النساء المنقبات من ممارسة حقهن في التعليم والتعلم.
ووصف القرضاوي الرئيس السوري بأنه “مثقف ومتنور”، مطالبا إياه بالتدخل لوقف هذه القرارات.

http://www.zaman-alwsl.net/index.php?item=view_article&id=16133

And Mr. Albouti story is getting more interesting. I hope he get us another vision about Bab Al 7arato 5?

مسؤول رفيع المستوى يتدخل لوقف (ما ملكت أيمانكم) وجهات عليا تتدخل لضرورة عرضه
علمت صحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية من “مصدر موثوق” أنّ مسؤولاً سوريا رفيع المستوى أخذ على عاتقه قرار منع عرض مسلسل (ما ملكت أيمانكم) لنجدت أنزور، وذلك نزولاً عند رغبة الشيخ محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي. ولكن “حسب الصحيفة” فإن “جهات عليا” تدخلت وأعلمت إدارة التلفزيون السوري بضرورة عرض العمل وفي “توقيت مميّز”، ولا تزال “الفضائية السورية” مستمرة في عرض المسلسل عند التاسعة من كل مساء، أي في وقت الذروة.
وكان الشيخ البوطي حذر في وقت سابق من مغبة عرض هذا المسلسل ووصفه بمسلسل السخرية بالله وبدين الله، وانه يهزأ بالمتدينين من عباد الله، وقال بان اقتطاع جملة “وما ملكت أيمانكم” من القرآن الكريم تنطوي على سخرية بكلام الله عز وجل.
ولم يتردد مخرج العمل نجدت اسماعيل أنزور عن الرد فقد أصدر بيانا يدافع به عن مسلسله قائلا بأنه لا يوجد نص قرآني أو حديث شريف يمنع استخدام كلمة من القرآن كعنوان لمسلسل.

المصدر: داماس بوست – عن الأخبار

http://www.damaspost.com/%D8%AB%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%A9-%D9%88%D9%81%D9%86

August 20th, 2010, 1:41 am

 

Elie Elhadj said:

295. Akbar Palace said:

“PS – And what if Imam Abdul Rauf doesn’t agree with your 6 points? Then what?”

I have no idea how he’ll respond. Hopefully, he won’t say go ask God! If he does say that, we will be back to square one.

322. Husam said:

“You failed to answer my point @ 299, point #5 regarding bringing your issues to the proper Islamic forum:”

How do you know I don’t? My material is posted and debated on numerous sites.

“Priests listen to tell-all confessions everyday on behalf of God. And if one bishop asked you to bend over in order to heal or forgive you, will you heed his call?”

Two wrongs do not make one right. Further, the Catholic church was defeated centuries ago. The entire church, Catholic and the others were separated from the state. The West triumphed as a result. God has no place in law making. Representative of the people in freely elected parliaments do.

The Prophet reportedly said: “My community reaches no agreement that is an error” [The Six Books. Sunan Abi Dawood, Hadith 4253, p. 1532; and Jame’ Al-Tirmithi, Hadith 2167, p. 1869; and Sunan Ibn Maja, Hadith 3950, p. 2713].

Does the “agreement” require the approval of every member of the community? Or, the community’s majority? The Prophet reportedly said: “In the event of disagreement, the opinion of the majority must prevail” (Sunan Ibn Maja Hadith 3950).

So, let the “majority” of the Prophet’s “community”, who “reaches no agreement that is an error” make Islamic laws today. Technology has made referendums and election easy. Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey already enjoy democratically elected parliaments.

“you have a problem with Islam as whole and not just Wahabism and outlandish fatwas.”

I do not have a problem with Islam. I do have a problem with the demagoguery of all religions with no exception. I do have a problem with certain issues in Islam, particularly because it is applied as God’s law, not parliament’s law. Some of those issues were summarized in the letter to Imam Faisal. Please enlighten us with your answers to those issues.

“shocking fatwas you fathom”.

The shocking fatwas are merely practical examples, the tip of the iceberg, of the much bigger bigger issues outlined in the various comments, some of which were summarized to Imam Faisal.

“Why should prostitution be banned?”
Would you like your daughter to be be a misyar or a mut’a “wife”?

324. majedkhaldoun said:

“You are against death penalty, I have never heared you talking and blamming USA or any western country criticizing them for death penalty, why dont you do that ? why do you limit yourself about Islam?”

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak out against the death penalty. I’ll be delighted to speak out against this barbaric penalty any time.

“You said SAudi jails is full, you are evading and confusing the question I did not ask about Saudia I said in Islam there is no prison sentence, imprisonment is borrowed from the west”.

Would you really wish to live in a city without prisons? Would you really wish to walk among people with hand and feet amputated? Would you want to walk by crowds watching the cutting of criminals’ heads in front your local mosque? would you wish to attend spectacles of women and men being stoned to death in your local football stadium?

“In number 5 you quote Asad, while you talks about Islam here again you are confusing the question,people who want to be involved in any discussion should not twist words nor exagerate nor distort, and you seems always to resort to unfounded facts or exageration.”

5:38 is from the Quran, not from Asad.
وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُواْ أَيْدِيَهُمَا جَزَاء بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَالاً مِّنَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (5:38)
I did not quote Asad. M. Asad is the name of the translator. You jumped into the wrong conclusion and accused me of “always to resort to unfounded facts or exageration.”

You should know that by now that my sources are impeccable.

“About bernie Madoff you evaded the question go back to my question and read it again”. You said in 320: “I asked you before another question and no reply,I repeat it .what would you think the victims of Mr. Madoff feel about his sentance ? knowing 3 commited suicide and many became very poor after being very rich.”

I dont’ fully understand the question! Suffice to say, however, that Madoff is a shyster and a thief who destroyed the lives of thousands of people, many of whom thought he was their friend. If your question is whether or not he should be executed, the answer is no. He’ll be spending the rest of his life in prison.

“Misyar and Nutaa marriage is not accepted in Islam”

You are wrong, and they are widely practiced. The Shi’ite ulama believe that the Prophet allowed the mut’a contracts, but the caliph Omar prohibited it. Sahih Muslim reported that it was alternately sanctioned then abrogated, several times, then finally prohibited. Shi’ite scholars interpret Verses 4:4 and 4:24 as allowing men to enter into a temporary marriage contract (when traveling, for example) for which a payment to the woman is made by the man in return for her companionship for a specific period of time with no consequent obligations.

Misyar has been sanctioned by a fatwa from Sheikh Abdel Aziz Bin Baz, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (1993-1999) and the chairman of the committee of senior ulama, and by the Egyptian Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the grand mufti of the Al-Azhar mosque. On April 12, 2006, the Mecca-based Islamic Jurisprudence Assembly permitted misyar marriage by declaring that “a marriage contract in which the woman relinquishes [her right to] housing and support money . . . and accepts that the man visits her in her [family] house whenever he likes, day or night . . . is valid.”

So, please do not get into frivolous technicalities. Misyar and Mut’a are nothing but prostitution made legal. Do you wish your daughter, sister, or cousin be misyarily married?

“I said it, and I say it again there is no where in Quraan or sunni that you cut the legs of someone who steels,this is your conclusion and you seem to have a lot of wrong conclusions”.

After a hand is cut off, the repeating offender gets his foot cut off (left foot is the right hand was severed for a previous theft). Ask your Wahhabi and Taliban scholars.

Re. the Hadith part of your comment, please go back to my comment on this specific point to find the exact reference and realize that I do not distortion, tell half truth, or twist facts.

326. Majhool said:
“By the way, I think Elie’s tone and language is offensive, not to me but to the majority of Mulsims.”

I am not surprised at your thinking. You are entitled to your opinion. The subject matter goes to the core. The truth is painful.

328. Husam said:

“Where did our ethics and morals come from originally? Where did our laws derive from? Man evolved from the stone age and figured his way? I believe not.”

Man invented the concept of God along with the corpus of God’s divine rules.

Elie

August 20th, 2010, 3:03 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Elie
in Quran it says Ghayr musafehat,this means no adultary
again you deleted this part and this is deception
my question about Madoff is very clear you evaded the question.
no cutting legs mentioned in Quran or Sunni,prove your point from these two sources please do not make conclusions

August 20th, 2010, 7:11 am

 

Husam said:

Elie:

You are right, I don’t know if you do, or if you don’t discuss evil Islam on other sites. If you can be kind enough to please provide us with links to where you publish your rants against Islam, I would like to read what others say on other sites?

Muta’a is not Sunni, and I don’t believe in it. They are essentially big differences, I can find instances where Misyar maybe accepted by two consenting adults in this time or another. There are rules and I spent a whole hour responding to you on your previous attempt at Misyar but you said “Zero, Nil, Mum” about my counter arguments. In our secular society perhaps 50% of people practice Misyar where I live How many friends of mine and yours have a common-in-law relationship but they live separately? I made several other valid points which are factual of today’s way of life and failed to address them, intentionally. A month and half later you bring it on again repetitively ignoring my points.

Here is what you ignored # 238060:

“Take for example Misyar marriage which Elhadj points out. By his omission to let the average reader know (who aren’t experts on Islam here) that this “fatwa” is of huge debate within Sunni Islam. He never told us that many well known scholars have backed out away from endorsing this marriage and some even reversed their previous decision due to abuses in KSA and Egypt. His rhetoric that these fatwas are one way or the highway is of course false, as no fatwa is biding. If a women willingly agrees, and she believes what she is doing is good for her, then what is the issue? Why is that degrading to women? In the west, many couples consciously choose to be common law partners to get around the financial burden and other obligations found in a regular marriage, which in some ways similar to Misyar. This is freedom. But, then so is Misyar. The problem is people abuse it, and many men (in KSA) especially, use it solely for sex. Men who lie about their intentions are key to the problem. Isn’t this the same with common law partnership when one lies about their seriousness or intentions. The reason I bring this comparison is to show that men and women get together in so many ways today which are acceptable to society, but Misyar is singled out to be barbaric by Elie. And why is it so interesting for Elhadj to hammer away only “excerpts” from a story or an issue that if told in its entirety, will have different meaning, or a different scope. This is the key to misinformation or partial information that is wrong, especially in a complex subject like religion.”

You are desperately tying Misyar to Prostitution which is distortion to the max. Just the fact that a prostitute can have multiple partners in one day should expose your hidden agenda to anyone reading this because Misyar is certainly not the case.

Again, you evaded the exchange about Prostitution. You made reference to prostitution, and I answered you and asked you a question about prostitution: Why is Prostitution illegal? You answered me about Muta’a. Please read my previous last paragraph in #322 and don’t try to escape the simple question.

In your answer to Majedkhaldoun @ 331 you said: “On April 12, 2006, the Mecca-based Islamic Jurisprudence Assembly permitted misyar marriage by declaring that “a marriage contract in which the woman relinquishes [her right to] housing and support money . . . and accepts that the man visits her in her [family] house whenever he likes, day or night . . . is valid.”

This comment alone is contradictory to your Misyar = Prostitution B.S. ANY READER, even the most secular and liberal minded ones will realize you have an agenda. A PROSTITUTE by any definition has to involve the acceptance of money for sex, otherwise it fails to mean prostitution and unless anyone can prove money was exchanged it won’t hold in court of law. MISYAR by your own ADMISSION doesn’t involve money. Which means you just insulted Islam and the intelligence of this forum. Anyone doing that is a bigot.

Then you said: “So, please do not get into frivolous technicalities. Misyar and Mut’a are nothing but prostitution made legal. Do you wish your daughter, sister, or cousin be misyarily married?…. You should know that by now that my sources are impeccable.”

Wow! Low blow, you missed big time!

I think if you keep at it, Elie, you will slowly loose the credible audience and respect you have seemed to woe on this forum. Just like OTW, I don’t respect people who leave out important facts, especially those like your comments, which always, always have missing truths when it comes to your rants about Islam.

I think I am done debating with Elie. The only reason I challenged him is because many of you told me he doesn’t have an agenda. I cared less for him but sincerely cared about what my fellow Syrians on SC (religious, non-religious, secularist) thought. This kind of rhetoric and falsehood will drive a wedge between the moderates and the secularist. I love my Christian, Jewish and Muslim Syrians. But when Atheist start attacking religion and others in order to support their personal decision and spiritual void, it becomes bigotry and selfish.

Although I know bits and pieces about my faith, my knowledge of Islam is extremely lacking and I did not want to make a mistake unknowingly. I used a bit of common logical sense in my exchange with Elie to expose his fallacy. OTW, regarding your last comment re: Elie, imagine Elie standing across from someone with just a little more knowledge than I. You will never find him and I next to each other because he will make a fool of me.

August 20th, 2010, 10:24 am

 

jad said:

Dear Dr.Elie,
CC: Husam, Majed
I agree on the important matter you are raising that we Syrians need to be aware of Wahabism invading our society and I’m with you on that, we should be aware and not let that to happen, however, Husam point is valid and I agree with him on this specific point, that our Syrian Muslim community are made of 95 even 98% of Muslims that they don’t believe or practice any of the issues you criticise, and I think Husam himself wrote before that he doesn’t believe in those specific points you raised but his believe is not affected by those stuff and it shouldn’t since they are the useless crust that we shouldn’t concentrate our attention to and ignore the many positive, civilized and spiritually advanced points of Islam which I personally like and respect and I know that you Elie have the same feelings to them, therefore, pointing out the negative issues Islam has (every religion in this world has many weird stuff) that very few Syrians practice or believe in as the main issue that we must remove before we think of becoming an advanced nation, is unfair to all of us and doesn’t solve the main problem which you, me and many secular Syrians are calling for, SEPARATE RELIGION FROM THE STATE and NOT to tackle every negative aspect of the religion itself, we can win the first but the second one is already lost and there is no point of doing that when it doesn’t affect the state and the society.
Humans need spirituality to feel good, without it our life as it is become meaningless, even with all the unrealistic stuff people believe in, let it be, if that will make a better society, what harm would do even if we human made God just to feel better, it’s a beautiful thing to have a dream and make it reality and believe in it so much that will make me and everybody’s I love life more enjoyable and bearable, it’s much better than living for nothing or in a spiritually poor society.

It is unfair for the majority of Syrian Muslims to be put on the defensive position 24/7-365 a year, every year, everywhere, this kind of debate doesn’t help solving anything or taking us anywhere, but the opposite, it will make the whole society tens and always on alert and will continue to keep our system backward when we forget to debate the main real obstacle we have in our march toward a better Syria.
Syria is not a real secular nor an Islamic state and all the issue regarding stoning, cutting hands or other unusual fatwas doesn’t come out of Syria or even debated to be implement in Syria and if the Saudis want to have them it’s their own problem not mine and I wont take a blame for that and I wont defend them at all, they don’t represent me, I’m a Syrian. Period.

And please guys don’t start defending anything doesn’t represent you, your sect or your interests as a Syrian in anyway, it’s not about us, Syrian Muslims/Non Muslims, it’s for those who implement those rules in their own countries to defend their decisions not for us to do that.

I hope that my comments won’t be received as a personal criticism to anybody; it was a friendly reminder to get back to the many problems we have in Syria that we need to talk and discuss which may have a direct impact on our progress process as a country and as a society. And for me the religion conversation went for too long and all of you guys, Elie, Husam, Majed are saying the same thing over and over, it’s getting the only subject I read on SC lately, aren’t you bored yet!

August 20th, 2010, 1:42 pm

 

Majhool said:

Ysallem Temmak ya Jad.

August 20th, 2010, 4:10 pm

 

Husam said:

Jad:

Three words: Thank you habeeb!

Now some more words 🙂

I will never be bored to challenge those that distort anything, especially Islam, not because this topic is non-negotiable but because those that make it their habitude and to some extent their passion in attacking others’ spirituality by pointing fingers at others into scare tactics unnecessarily and negatively, lack the necessary good intent needed to have a positive discussion.

I just sold one of our cars to a Jewish Syrian friend. He and I are best buddies that concentrate on our common interest and talk Kusa Mehshi, and other stufffff. If you heard us talk, you think we are just off the boat from Sarujah or el Midan. I can’t believe that he is not Muslim and he can’t believe that I am not Jewish because we feel first and foremost that we are Syrian. I will sit next to him proud and protect his Jewish interest and Syrian Heritage (despite my disbelief in Judaism or parts of it). And I am 1000% sure he feels the same towards me. I never appreciated Elie’s tactics, strategy and distortions because I saw from the onset that despite his claim of saving the world from Wahabism, his messages were insincere and two-faced.

August 20th, 2010, 5:14 pm

 

Opium of the masses said:

I just have several small questions..

Did any muslim ask why Muslim majority countries live in crap holes while secular majority countries live in prosperity? Muslim majority countries suffer from problems from all over different paradigms including political, economic, social, legal, cultural, etc.. and we see secular societies leading much greater lives. One only needs to see with clear eyes, void of emotions and bias, to see that there are some deep problems within islamic societies.

One thing i noticed is that islamic societies tend to be overtly superstitious. They invoke god and religion and include it in every bit of their life, from birth to death. They overly rely on the supernatural to explain what they dont know, and i think this causes deep problems because it pushes sincere and curious people away from real research and finding out the real truth behind natural or social phenomenas. Take for example the scientific notion of Evolution and natural selection. These ideas are frowned upon and researchers in this field are opposed because they conflict with traditional explanations of divine creation. Statistics show that Islamic societies are the least scientifically advanced, greatly because of their attachment to traditional modes of religious thinking. I don’t understand why we hide from saying the truth about religions out loud, and how they are a detriment to the advancement of societies when societies cling unto them. The more role religion plays in society, the more we sink into the crap hole.

August 20th, 2010, 9:05 pm

 

Husam said:

Salamat Norman:

Remember the link you loved about the new wireless electricity I linked you to 60minutes? Here is another link for yah.

A friend forwarded me this exposé regarding Apartheid in Israel which aired on CBS’s 60 minutes about 18 months ago. I had already seen it, but watching it again angered me as much as it did the first time, here it is in case any of you hadn‘t the opportunity to see this 13 minute report by Bob Simon:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4752349n

August 20th, 2010, 10:15 pm

 

Norman said:

Husam ,

Bob Simon is Jewish , the piece indicate that peace is out of reach , I AGREE ,

peace has to be forced on Israel ,

August 21st, 2010, 8:22 am

 

Husam said:

He is Jewish, that is why he got access. The video capture of IDF soldiers standing on the stairway taking Palestinian hostage for weeks and months needed to be exposed. The women probably are forced to doing the laundry.

August 21st, 2010, 11:17 am

 

Badr said:

I don’t understand why we hide from saying the truth about religions out loud,

Opium of the masses,

Why you are not using your real name may give a hint!

August 22nd, 2010, 12:09 pm

 

Husam said:

Opium of the masses,

You questions are not small, they are BIG.

Obviously, you know nothing about Islamic history. Do you know where the first hospital was ever created? Muslims were at one point the most advanced in science, astronomy, medicine,etc.. but lost their way becasue they partially deviated from the core understanding of their religion. That is why there is a revival now, and it will continue…

The deepest crap hole today is none other than the U.S., which also happens to be the one inflicting terror on all corners of the world in the name of freedom.

In the last several centuries, the Arabs have been hijacked by the Ottomans, the Colonialist, and now the West robbing it blind. And yes, most Arab leaders succumb to greed and the throne.

August 22nd, 2010, 2:07 pm

 

Badr said:

And yes, most Arab leaders succumb to greed and the throne.

I’m tempted to ask you to name the exceptions, but I think I know what you’re going to say.

August 22nd, 2010, 2:27 pm

 

Opium of the masses said:

Badr,

What difference does it make if I use a “real” name of a quote?

For all that matters I could name my self Mohammed Ali and that wouldn’t change anything about what I said

Husam,

The US is not Islamic and they are full of prosperity and stability. This shows that Islam has nothing to do with prosperity of nations. At the same time, we see then when the rationale is blocked and people start using irrational interpretations of events (Religious points of view) then they get it totally wrong and end up destroying themselves from within. They also become easy targets for foreigners to come and quash them. Don’t blame the other for your misery, only blame your self, because your society chose the easy way out! To sit down, pray, and think that God will save them! God or religion has nothing to do with progress. The religious texts in all religions are full of myths from the bronze age. The only way to move forward is to put these things aside when we discuss our real problems! Problems that deal with politics, economics, social, and legal. Stop hiding behind the religious cloak because it will get us nowhere.

August 22nd, 2010, 7:40 pm

 

Husam said:

Opium of the masses said:

“The US is not Islamic and they are full of prosperity and stability.”

Very well,

Please define prosperity and stability, and then I will answer you.

August 22nd, 2010, 11:27 pm

 

Badr said:

Opium of the masses,

Apparently you did not get it. What I was trying to tell you is that the reason why we hide from saying the truth about religions out loud, for the “we” who share your opinion about religion, could be the very same one that led you not to use your real name, when you wrote your comment no. 337.

August 23rd, 2010, 3:33 am

 

OPIUM OF THE MASSES said:

BADR,

In real life I say the same thing I am saying now. But it’s the standard to use a “nickname” or pseudonym on forums or chatrooms on the internet.

Since we are not using our real ID’s on the internet, I don’t see the point of refraining to target the points directly and from calling a spade a spade.

Husam,

For prosperity and stability, take for example simple statistics. Standard of living, literacy rates, infant mortality rate, average life expectancy, level of poverty (percent of ppl who live on less than 2$ a day), gdp per capita, level of unemployment, % of people with university degrees, levels of freedoms and liberties (media, press, political, individual, religion etc..), level of corruption, level of scientific development (# of patents, noble prize winners etc..) This is just a small sample. Now go compare the US and Europe and compare it to Muslim majority countries and tell me if you don’t see a problem in those Muslim majority countries.

August 24th, 2010, 9:53 pm

 

Badr said:

In real life I say the same thing I am saying now

OPIUM OF THE MASSES,

If you were born in a Muslim family, or live in Syria or another Muslim country, where you speak up your mind about religion, expressing the same point of view as the one you did on this blog, but not incognito, I’ll give you credit for the courage you display! 🙂

August 25th, 2010, 3:32 am

 

Norman said:

August 24, 2010
When an Arab Enclave Thrived Downtown
By DAVID W. DUNLAP
Conjure, for a moment, a place just steps from City Hall but a world apart. Salaam.

Yes, that is the fragrance of strong coffee in the air, of sweet figs and tart lemons, of pastries that remind buyers of childhoods in Damascus and Beirut. Bazaars abound with handmade rugs and brass lamps and water pipes. Men wear fezzes. A few women retire behind veils. Al-Hoda is the leading newspaper. Business signs — at least those legible to a non-Arabic speaker — proclaim “Rahaim & Malhami,” “Noor & Maloof” and “Sahadi Bros.”

This is not what the lower west side of Manhattan would look like if the much-debated Islamic community center were built two blocks from the World Trade Center site. This is what it looked like decades before the World Trade Center was even envisioned. This is its heritage.

All but lost to living memory and forgotten in the current controversy, Washington Street was the “heart of New York’s Arab world,” as The New York Times described it in 1946, shortly before that Arab-American community was almost entirely displaced by construction of entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

To be clear: this neighborhood, called Little Syria, was south of what would become the trade center site, while the Islamic center would be to the north. And Muslims, chiefly from Palestine, made up perhaps 5 percent of its population. The Syrians and Lebanese in the neighborhood were mostly Christian.

But it is worth recalling the old sights and sounds and smells of Washington Street as a reminder that in New York — a city as densely layered as baklava — no one has a definitive claim on any part of town, and history can turn up some unexpected people in surprising places. (The Abyssinian Baptist Church, for instance, was once on Waverly Place.)

Washington Street was “an enclave in the New World where Arabs first peddled goods, worked in sweatshops, lived in tenements and hung their own signs on stores,” Gregory Orfalea wrote in “The Arab Americans” (Olive Branch Press, 2006). Among them was Mr. Orfalea’s grandmother Nazera Jabaly Orfalea, who arrived in New York from Syria in 1890.

“She would have walked Washington Street,” he said in an interview. “She was a peddler. I have no doubt she was grubstaked by suppliers on Washington Street.”

Mr. Orfalea attributed the migration of Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians to starvation, lawlessness, conscription, taxation and religious intolerance at home; to proselytizing by American missionaries; and to economic troubles that led them to a new world where cultures existed, sometimes bruisingly, cheek by jowl.

“The calls in Arabic of the mothers to their children romping on the street mingle with the jazz screechings from another home and the Homeric curses of the truck-drivers on their way to the wharves,” Konrad Bercovici wrote in the 1924 book, “Around the World in New York,” with a nod toward the nearby Greek settlement of Little Athens.

Little Syria was where the Linotype typesetting machine was adopted for Arabic characters, by the brothers Naoum and Salloum Mokarzel of Al-Hoda (The Guidance). This development “made possible and immeasurably stimulated the growth of Arabic journalism in the Middle East,” The New York Times wrote in 1948.

But the presence of the intelligentsia in the quarter was no bulwark against stereotype. A neighborhood brawl in 1905 was fought by “wild-eyed Syrians,” The Times reported. “The dim light from barroom and cafe showed the glint of steel in 200 swarthy hands.”

Mr. Orfalea discerned parallels with the present controversy. “We fail to deal with the Arab world in rational terms,” he said, “because we immediately reduce them to the irrational.”

Historical accounts describe no mosques on Washington Street, but there were three churches that served the Lebanese and Syrian Christians.

St. George Chapel of the Melkite Rite still stands, at 103 Washington Street. It may be the last recognizable remnant of Little Syria. It is now Moran’s Ale House and Grill.

More in N.Y. / Region (5 of 28 articles)
Morgenthau Held Stock In Company Rangel Aided
Read More »

Close

August 25th, 2010, 7:42 am

 

Post a comment


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial