Friday, March 04, 2005

Velvet Revolution? End of Arab Nationalism?

I thank Paul Woodward, editor of the very useful War in Context, for bringing these articles to my attention.

The shadow of another Iraq
By David Hirst, The Guardian, March 4, 2005

A velvet revolution, Ukrainian style, that will set an example for the whole Middle East? That is how Lebanon's so far peaceful "democratic uprising" likes to see itself. Certainly, something new and profound is under way.Lebanon's strength - and weakness - was always the multiplicity of religious sects on which its whole political system is based. When the system worked, it did so far better than any of its neighbours'; when it broke down, it did so disastrously.

During its 16-year civil war Walid Jumblatt, the same Druze chieftain who now leads the opposition, warned the interfering Arabs: "One day the fire will spread to you." It didn't. What he leads today has a better chance of doing so.

It is, if anything, a triumph over confessionalism. Not complete, not invulnerable. Thanks in part to Hizbullah, Syrian-backed but domestically popular, it is the country's Shias who are chiefly reticent. Yet, in impressive measure, the people now stand in one trench, the regime in another. And that, not sectarian antagonism, is the faultline that will principally define the course of events. If assassinations sometimes accelerate history, Rafiq Hariri's brutal, spectacular but popularly unifying demise is surely one of those.

Many Syrians just don't believe their government was behind it: it couldn't be so stupid. But diabolical plot, or massive self-inflicted injury, the outcome is the same. For the Lebanese, their Syrian overlord was instantly guilty until it proved itself innocent. ...

It is a fundamental blow to all that historic Syria, as the "beating heart" of Arabism, and all that Ba'athism and its pan-Arab nationalist credo have ever stood for. For the leading Lebanese columnist Samir Qassir, it means that "the Arab nationalist cause has shrunk into the single aim of getting rid of the regimes of terrorism and coups, and regaining the people's freedom as a prelude to the new Arab renaissance. It buries the lie that despotic systems can be the shield of nationalism. Beirut has become the beating heart of a new Arab nationalism".

The Syrians aren't going to rise up like the Lebanese - not yet anyway. Long repressed, they don't have the organised opposition, the strong residue of democratic traditions that the "Syrianisation" of Lebanon was gradually stifling. [complete article]

The buzz on the Syrian street: Let's leave Lebanon
By Rhonda Roumani, Christian Science Monitor, March 4, 2005 (Rhonda quotes me. I'm partial.)

One week ago, Hind Aboud took the two-hour drive from Damascus to Beirut to pay her respects to Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister who was assassinated last month. On his grave she placed photos of two of Syria's most sacred monuments - the Umayyid mosque and St. Paul's church - and left what she called a letter from all Syrians.

"Hariri is not only for the Lebanese, but he is for the Syrians as well," says Ms. Aboud, a Syrian lawyer who works in Damascus and considers Mr. Hariri a role model for all Arabs.Syrians share a special affinity to the Lebanese because of strong historical, family, and business ties: a large portion of the Syrian and Lebanese population have relatives living across the border.

But many Lebanese blame Syria for Mr. Hariri's murder, and many of the Syrians interviewed say they are feeling resentful, isolated, and fearful of the growing anti-Syrian sentiment. As the international pressure mounts for Syria to withdraw its 14,000 troops from Lebanon, many here agree that it's time for their troops to go. [complete article]

Lebanon: future shock for Arab leaders?
Dennis Ross, former US envoy to the Middle East, writes in the CS Monitor

Certainly the more George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac maintain their drumbeat of support, and the more they insist on the Security Council fulfilling its call in resolution 1559, the more the Lebanese are likely to believe they can succeed.

The future of the Middle East may now be played out on the streets of Beirut even more than it is in Baghdad - which, after all, will still face an insurgency and the less than pristine reality of coalition politics. If the Lebanese succeed, which Middle Eastern leader will sleep easily knowing that his people are no longer afraid? Indeed - should it become clear that "velvet" or "orange" revolutions are possible not only in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union but in the Middle East as well - will we soon see Arab leaders embracing reforms for real?

Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has ruled out Western military action if Syria does not comply with the withdrawal demands.

But in an interview with the New York Post published today, Mr Bush says his "last option is military" if necessary.

Mr Bush made special mention of Saudi Arabia's support of the US and United Nations on the matter. "I was pleased that Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has sent the very same message. The world is beginning to speak with one voice."

Lebanese Defense Minister Abdul-Rahim Murad suggested Syria wants to keep some troops in the country on a long-term basis, saying a complete removal of the troops would have to be negotiated between Syria and Lebanon's governments as called for in an 1989 agreement.

Under the Taif Accord, he said, "the governments of Lebanon and Syria will meet to discuss the number of troops required to stay and outline the areas where they would be stationed until the (Arab-Israeli) issue is settled."

In the speech to the People's Assembly in Damascus, "we expect President Assad to announce a redeployment to the Bekaa region" in eastern Lebanon, Murad a member of the pro-Syrian government in Beirut told The Associated Press.

He answered "No" when asked whether the redeployment meant a full withdrawal.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said Syrian and Lebanese leaders have agreed on an action plan for carrying out the Taif Accord, but he would not comment on a timetable.

Syria has said in behind-the-scenes diplomacy with Arab nations this week that it wants to keep 3,000 troops and early-warning stations in Lebanon, according to an Arab diplomat in Cairo.

Syria is possibly fashioning its negotiating stance to mirror that of the Israelis during the Golan talks. Israel demanded to retain early warning radar stations on the Golan Heights, manned by Israeli troops. Syria seems to be making the same request. Even if Syria fails to get such a deal in Lebanon, when and if it resumes negotiations with the Israelis, it will be able to claim that because it did not get early warning stations in Lebanon, Israel should not get them in Golan.


At 3/04/2005 04:31:00 PM, Anonymous Kafka said...

The very serious problem of the Syrian administration today is its lack of practice of internal debate. After more than thirty years of absolute rule using the mukhabarat to suppress political opponents inside and outside the country, the rulers in Damascus have lost the art for political debate and analysis. So that any crisis that comes up is looked at in a monochromatic manner. It is enough to read the “Tichrine” and “Baath” newspapers in Damascus to realise this. The yes men abound and the yes networks are everywhere. There is no free speech there is no free thinking.
This rings the death bell of any administration when a real crisis comes up as at present.
This awareness should drive President Bachar Al-Assad to cut the diplomatic losses and get out of Lebanon as quickly as possible.
Ih he procrastinates it is going to be even harder later.
If I were him I would get out of Lebanon immediately, I would have tried to identify a few intelligent and independent figures since coming to office and to bring them in now to help govern, I would also take mesures to fire a few ministers and security chiefs. This would clear the air a bit and give Syria a new start.
During the meeting with the ruling prince of Saudi on Thursday, Bachar said something like “not everything is up to me”. There are two ways to interpret this. The first would be something like “I cannot simply move out of Lebanon because some ministers and political commissaries are against it”. There is another interpretation which suggests itself in this psychologically heavy face to face with the ruling prince of Saudi (after the assassination of Hariri known to be close to the Saudi family), this would be like “I did not give the order to assassinate Hariri”.
I am really sorry for Bachar, I kind of like him, but it is time to grow up and it is now or never.

At 3/04/2005 05:39:00 PM, Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

Saw you on the news tonight. I have visited your site before via Nur al-Cubicle. It pleases me to see that they are talking to the right people to get opinions on what is happening. I shall begin reading you daily.

At 3/04/2005 08:10:00 PM, Blogger Chops said...

Thanks for the news round-up, Joshua; saves me a lot of reading!

At 3/04/2005 10:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leila The Dove here
What news show was Josh on? How cool! Is there a video clip online somewhere?
Couldn't have happened to a better guy. Thanks for all your work, Josh.

At 3/04/2005 10:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone out there explain why there is so much pressure on Syria to leave before the elections in Lebanon?
It seems strange, and not a little ironic, that Washington is raising the point that a country under occupation can not have free and fair elections.

Is there a risk that the situation in Lebanon could deteriorate significantly if Syria does not pull out before the elections?

At 3/05/2005 07:47:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...

Testimony of a Lebanese prisoner in Syria:

I am a Lebanese citizen born in Beirut, arrested by the Syrian occupation forces in 1991. I spent five years in the Syrian Mazzeh prison. Hereunder is my testimony to the Lebanese, Arab and international public opinions in order to reveal what the Lebanese face in brutal coercion and terrorism unequaled even in the worst films of terror and the nazi and fascist concentration camps.

I hope this testimony will find its way to the Lebanese, Arab and international media in order to spur international organizations and Ministries of Foreign Affairs to intervene and liberate the hundreds of Lebanese prisoners subject to daily torture in the Syrian prisons only because they demand Lebanon's freedom, independence and sovereignty.I also hope the leaders of the Free World will read my testimony and that it will prompt them to intervene for the liberation of Lebanese political prisoners in Syria and ending the Syrian occupation of Lebanon and the removal of its yoke from his people in distress who are governed by a gang of yes-men under Syrian control.

My readers will forgive me for not revealing my name because I am still living in Lebanon and wish to avoid being arrested again and "skinned alive", as Ghazi Kanaan, the chief of the Syrian Mokhabarat (Secret Service) in Lebanon, threatened me before liberating me.My way to Golgotha began as I was going to work in my private car. When I left the car before my office, a bunch of armed men surrounded me pointing their Kalashnikovs to my face. They introduced themselves saying: "Don't move or say anything. We are from the Syrian Mokhabarat and you are under arrest." No sooner had their chief stopped speaking than two of his men rushed upon me and placed a black bag over my head and handcuffed me.

They then threw me in the trunk of the car and sped away.I took to wonder what they wanted from me, a retired soldier from the Lebanese Army since about two years with no military activity since then,except being a member of a local society for the promotion of our region and the living conditions of its inhabitants. As for my political inclinations they consist in opposing Syrian occupation to our country, as is the case of most of my countrymen. I am also active as a partisan of General Michel Aoun in the two Metn districts. I soon got my answer, since the car stopped and my kidnappers retrieved me from the trunk of the car and pushed me, handcuffed and my head still in the black bag, down a long stairs to a moist and mouldy underground cell, where I could smell the sea.

I immediately realized that I was detained in the notorious Hotel Beau Rivage, transformed by the Syrian Mokhabarat into a Beirut central prison and Mokhabarat Head Quarters, headed by Colonel Rustom Ghazaleh and his henchmen. The blows, kicks and curses did not stop since I was retrieved from the car and until I reached the black cell measuring 1.50 cm long by 80 cm wide.They hollered all the way curses on the Lebanese, saying in the Syrian accent: "We want to fuck the greatest Lebanese. The greatest Lebanese is no better than my shoe. Who do you think you prostitutes are to oppose us?"

As well as other hair raising curses. They then threw me in the cell that is more like a tomb. A couple of hours later, the door opened and the henchmen came in, put the black bag again over my head and pushed me before them through the corridor separating the cells up to the inquisition room, where they sat me on a metal chair specially designed for the inquest. They cursed the Lebanese and the Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Sfeir, saying he was senile and stupid. They left no Christian leader without cursing him, saying: "You, prostitutes, do not want the Syrians? We shall settle accounts with you!

By God, we shall skin you alive?"A little later, silence fell in the room upon the entry of some higher-ranking elements as I inferred from the henchmen who addressed them as "sir".The henchmen undressed - or rather tore off my clothes - while I was still handcuffed and the black bag over my head. Thereupon, they showered me with very cold water and fell upon me, boxing and beating me with batons.

Bleeding from my nose and mouth, I couldn't count the blows I received, and I couldn't see where the as absolutely opaque. I felt like a cat in a bag.

Accusations of gathering information on the Syrian Army in my region on behalf of Israel fell upon me from all sides. And every time I denied the accusations, they rotation between interrogation and return to the cell continued until I lost all sense of space and time. I learned that this lasted for three days from my torturers and the investigators when they informed me that preliminary investigation in the "Beau Rivage prison". We were a group of nine detainees from various Lebanese regions when we were placed on a truck, our heads in bags, handcuffed and with our feet tied. The cold was intense and it was raining heavily as we left Beirut. We knew that we had reached Dahr El-Baydar - the pass in the western mountain chain separating the coast from the Beqaa - when our tortured members shivered from cold and the pain in our open wounds. We reached the Anjar penitentiary in the Beqaa valley, which is the central penitentiary upon which are sent detainees from Beirut, the South, the Mountain and the North, before transferring them to Syrian prisons.

Originally, the Anjar prison was a stable for horses that was requisitioned by the Syrians upon invading Lebanon and transformed into a vast prison without alteration other than converting the horseshoeing room into a torture chamber, fitted with the most sophisticated instruments of torture.

The Anjar prison is not very large because it serves only, as I already said, a grouping center for the detainees who were either liberated and returned home, or transferred to the prisons of terror inside Syria. The chief of Syrian military intelligence, General Ghazi Kanaan commands personally the Anjar prison, his assistant is General Adnan Balloul, nicknamed the "Beast".

He is seconded by Lieutenant Sleiman Salameh who commands the Alaouite investigation team who are constantly thirsty for Lebanese blood. In Anjar, they lined us up before a wall and removed the bags from our heads in order to enable General Ghazi Kanaan to examine our faces closely. He did in fact come up to us and looked at each of us individually, asking: "Who is this one?" A Moukhabarat officer, carrying a list gave our name. Kanaan passed us in review for about a quarter of an hour before pronouncing a political speech saying: "Anyone in Lebanon who speaks a word against Syria shall be skinned alive [the words skin alive are the most used by the Syrians against the Lebanese]. We shall transfer you forthwith to Syria where we shall see what you know, and I advise you to tell us everything, thereby saving yourselves suffering. Otherwise, you will never return to your relatives in Lebanon again?"

Kanaan made a long speech of which I don't remember much since it was such a long time ago. I remember that one of the detainees tried to speak, but one of the Moukhabarat henchmen fell upon him hitting him with the haft of his gun. They covered our heads again with bags and put us back in a truck on our way to Syria.

"Whoever enters is lost, and whoever leaves is reborn" is the slogan written at the entrance of the Mazzeh prison, or of the Palestinian investigation branch affiliated to the Syrian Army secret service. This prison is the reception center entered by thousands of Lebanese who were unheard of since. We were nine in number coming from various Lebanese regions.

They brought us down from the truck and removed the bags from our heads and lined us up.In the prison courtyard, the Syrian colonel Munir Abrass, head of investigation in the Palestinian branch, received us. About 20 soldiers carrying batons and whips that stared at us with eyes gleaming with hatred surrounded him, as if we were enemies since a long time or Israeli soldiers.

When the truck and its escorting Moukhabarat car left, the soldiers of Abrass surrounded us and started beating us without preliminaries while cursing us and shouting: "We shall fuck you and crush the biggest head under our shoe?" followed by a long series of curses denoting a latent hatred for everything Lebanese. It was as if they regarded the Lebanese as insects that must be eradicated for the welfare of Syria and its glory?

The round of beating stopped and we huddled together, bleeding from every part of our bodies. It was already night in Damascus and very cold. I will never forget that night all my life. We were praying all the saints and prophets for mercy, but there was only deaf ears. Voracious wolves are more merciful to their game than the Syrian torturers. A few moments later, they turned upon us jets of ice-cold water. I don't know if their intention was to wash us up. At any rate, after years spent in the Mazzeh prison I found out that this was the standard procedure of receiving prisoners, especially if they were an important bunch like us. They put the bags again over our heads and transferred us to solitary cells that are very dark rooms, some 40 meters underground of I believe 80 cm. width by 180 cm. long in which the detainee cannot stand. Its door was of iron with a small window opening from the exterior through which the jailer presented us what they called "food".General Mazhar Fares, the chief of the Palestine section and his henchmen were responsible for questioning me.
They used to transfer me daily from the solitary cell to the investigation room with the black bag over my head. When I reached the middle of the room the bag was removed and I could see Fares sitting on a chair smoking a cigar or drinking a cup of coffee with the henchmen standing all around him. He usually started his investigation with a flow of curses against the Lebanese and accused us of collaborating with Israel, after which the beating would start without other preliminaries. Words cannot fully represent what I suffered in the Syrian jail: They whipped me and flogged me with a scourge that is a terrible instrument of torture.

They pulled out my fingernails and my toenails.

They beat me on my genitals and impaled me with sharp instruments.

They applied electric shocks to my nose, my ears and my throat.

They burned me with cigars and cigarettes.

They sat me on the German chair (sic!).

They hanged me on a wheel.

They hanged me for nine days by a "ghost" winch with the black bag over my head.

They placed salt on my wounds until I shrieked and fainted from pain and was awakened by a jet of water, after which they resumed the beating. I spent the 150 days of investigation in the solitary cell, or "tomb" as the prisoners called it, during which I ate what was given me with my bare hands like an animal as shown in films. I never knew what I ate except that I could distinguish bread crumbs and a few olives.

Often, extenuated from suffering I slept long hours on end and stooled and urinated in what was left of my clothes.
I will never forget the commandant of the Mazzeh prison, Captain Bassam Hassan; weighing about 150 kgs he would pounce like a wolf, thrashing at what was left of me. Prisoners later told me that he used to seek inspiration for new ways of torture from horror films he saw. Many Lebanese detainees died in Mazzeh under the torture inflicted by Captain Bassam Hassan and his henchmen composed of 14 officers, of whom I still remember Salah Zoghbi, Abdul Razzak Halabi, Bassam Mustapha, Housam Succar and Mohamad Mufleh and a host of assistants and soldiers we called "torturers".

Thereupon, they made me sign a document I did not know its contents. They then allowed me to bathe. After which they shaved my hair and gave me clothes similar to a Syrian soldier's uniform. Then one of the torturers told me: "We have given you a new name? This, henceforth, will be your name until you leave here. Take good care not to pronounce your true name before the other prisoners. You must forget it completely. Otherwise, we shall return you to the "tomb". Understand? Giving me a new name would mean, as far as the Syrian authorities are concerned, that I am not present and never entered a Syrian jail. And this is the situation of every Lebanese prisoner in Syrian jails
whose their parents ask about them in vain, since their names are not found on the prison registers. It is necessary to oblige the Syrian authorities to reveal all the true names. They transferred me to a large prison cell containing a number of Lebanese and Jordanian young men, all accused of endangering Syrian security!

We were about 25 prisoners in an underground cell of an area not exceeding 12 meters square. In summer we used to stifle from the heat and humidity, and in winter we froze from the cold. Every now and then, they used to administer to us, as a reminder, a round of beating.Night in the Mazzeh prison was absolutely frightful and worse than in any horror film: calm, then shrieks, even howls of pain from electric shocks or other "civilized" means, specialty of the Syrian Mokhabarat, that cut your breath. Then calm again, followed with worse shrieks and howls! Oh God will this night never end! The Muslim prisoners would whisper Allah akbar, while we, the Christians, would murmur prayers to the Holy Virgin.

Oh God will this night never end! I later learned that my parents tried to contact me in jail after having localized me by bribing a Syrian officer. They came to the prison door but Bassam Hassan, its commandant resolutely denied the presence of any Lebanese in his prison.

But this did not prevent him, along with other Syrian Mokhabarat officers in Lebanon, headed by Ghazi Kanaan, Rustom Ghazaleh and Adnan Balloul from blackmailing the parents of the prisoners. We were about 150 Lebanese detained in the Mazzeh prison, yet they constantly refused to admit the presence of any Lebanese. They even forced us to speak with a Syrian accent in order to erase our trace.

There was no medical assistance in the Syrian jails or trials for most of the detainees. As for the tribunal Lebanese, not all, it was the "Third Field Court of the Syrian troops in Lebanon". This means that the Syrian Army was effectively imposing martial law against the Lebanese despite the claim of the dummy regime in Beirut that they form an authority, a State and a government.


As for our food, the daily menu consisted of potatoes, olives, burgul (broken wheat), cauliflower. We used to spend our time in weeping and telling stories of our countries and hearing news from freshly arriving prisoners, while we dressed their wounds with water and rags from the clothes left behind by departing inmates. The Syrian fugitives from military service spending part of their sentences in one of the wings of the Mazzeh prison were charged with our service. We used to call them the "fugitives".

The prisoners who were at the point of death were sent to the Al-Mouassat hospital that was close to the jail. There, the Military Police stood guard over them. Once, one of the young men detained among us, accused of being a partisan of the "Lebanese Forces" was severely tortured by electric shock and returned to solitary confinement, but when signs of death were apparent on him, they returned him to our midst in the large cell. His skin was bluish, his mouth was frothy and blood was oozing from his ears and nose. We told our jailers that he was dying and there was nothing we could do for him. They answered: "Let him die, the devil take him. May you all die!" We tried artificial respiration on him and wiping his face with water. His respiration soon became rapid, he began to gasp then, practically unconscious, he looked at our faces, smiled a sad smile and passed away. We began to shout for help from the jailers. But when we told them that he died, they cursed us, then came in and carried him away to the Al-Mouassat hospital when it was too late.

We later learned that he joined a long list of Lebanese buried in mass graves in the vicinity of the Mazzeh prison guarded by the Syrian Special Forces to prevent anyone from approaching without special permission. Nevertheless, the suffering in the Mazzeh prison is nothing compared with the "Sab' Bahrat" (Seven Seas) prison in Damascus held by the Moukhabarat of the Syrian Air Force, or with the prison of Palmyra where hungry dogs, snakes and rats as well as other hair-raising means worthy of horror films, are used to torment the prisoners. The condemned to death are impaled.

Among the tidings of the Mazzeh prison where I spent five years of my life, there is one regarding the former Lebanese deputy, the late Dr Farid Serhal who was incarcerated when the Syrians abducted him in 1989. In addition to light beatings, they forced him to clean the latrines and sweep the floors in order to humiliate him because he was candidate for the Presidency of the Lebanese Republic. They used to call him "dog".

As for Boutros Khawand, he is incarcerated in ward 601 of the Mazzeh prison. He has become a shadow of himself due to coercion and torture. I will never forget what the jailers did to torture a young soldier of the Lebanese Army accused of military action against the Syrian occupation: He was tied or crucified upon a heavy wooden device in the form of a cross - because he was a Christian as the commander of the prison Bassam Hassan, said - that they tied with ropes and cables then forced him to run in circles, beating him as if he were a horse. Eventually, they raised him with a winch and left him crucified for nine days in the sun. The blood oozed from all his body, including his mouth and ears. And when Bassel Assad died, the torturers pounded us like crazy bulls and left us for a whole week without food because they thought we were pleased with his death!

After spending five years in jail without judgment, as all the Lebanese there, the Syrians decided to liberate me in answer to solicitations in my favor. They brought me in a truck to Anjar where I sat on the floor awaiting the arrival of General Ghazi Kanaan who told me point blank: "I hope you learned your lesson and I warn you that the next time, I will pulverize your flesh and bones. You must learn that you and those who are behind you shall live under our boots for ever and that your destiny is Syria and there is nothing you can do about it!"

Thereupon, they transferred me to the Anjar prison where Adnan Balloul and his henchmen received me with a round of farewell beating before handing me over to their puppet Lebanese Secret Service. Then, as if all the beating I had received in five years were not enough, they fell upon me once more, beating me savagely. I will never forget the sight of the chief of the henchmen in Anjar, Colonel Slayman Salameh whom all those who have passed through that prison regard as the most savage person on earth.

The Lebanese Secret Service received me at ten o'clock PM. Upon my arrival, the investigation chief in the prison of the Ministry of Defense, Imad Kaakour, who wanted to interrogate me, started to beat me. I told him: "Are five years of torture in Syrian jails not enough? What more do you want from me? I have forgotten to speak Lebanese. I have forgotten the names of my parents. What more do you want from me?" My words fell on deaf ears. He was bent on beating me and on establishing an investigation official report to present to his chief, Jamil Sayed.

They forced me to fingerprint a blank paper, then transferred me to the Military Police jail in the Noura Palace, where I spent three days before one of the pro-Syrian politicians intervened, telling them that five years are enough to teach him, what more do you want from him? He has become the shadow of a man! And so was I liberated?

I still have to say that Hussein Taliss, the criminal who escaped from the Roumieh prison, accused of the murder of the French Military Attaché and of the attempt on the life of President Camille Chamoun in addition to the explosion of tens of booby trapped cars in East Beirut during the war, is at present one of the top investigators in the Mazzeh prison, in charge of the investigation with Lebanese prisoners. He is and is active in the Syrian Moukhabarat, Lebanese section, on major security operations in Lebanon. It is said that he is responsible of many crimes. He resides with his family under a false identity in the Abou Remmaneh quarter.

At 3/05/2005 08:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ibrahim, we understand that a lot of brutality happened during the war from all sides and of course this doesn't justify kidnapping or killing anyone but do you really want visualize everything here. At least this alleged prisoner lived & was released after 5 years but what about Syrian victims at Lebanese Christian check points who were torn into two by handcuffing their feet on two cars or who burnt alive or who were shot in the leg or shoulder so that he can bleed slowly to death or who were forced to walk in lands of landmines to watch him blow up.

Ghazi Kanaan was the highest ranking intelligence officer in Lebanon, does it make any sense for him to personally meet every "kidnapped" opposer? what for? to be witnessed against later? he is known to be a cunning person and I would imagine this to be difficult.
In 1991 the Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Sfeir was a patron & supporter of Taif agreement and he was not an enemy of Syria. In fact General Michelle Aoun was the one who humiliated him in the well known incident (he asked him to kiss his boots which later changed to kiss his picture) After this incident he moved to the Syrian protected territory of Beirut.

At 3/05/2005 11:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ibrahim: I have come to skip your trolling posts systematically. I wonder if you are only Lebanese.

At 3/05/2005 01:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next time when the christians are facing troubles with Jimblat, let them think twice before asking the assisstance of brutal animals like the Syrian GOVERNEMENT to come to their rescue. As history proved, the prioce is very hefty when it comes to these scums ruling Syria. Please pray for the Syrian people to rid themselves of their Baath occupiers.

At 3/06/2005 09:45:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...

2 Sentences:

The Syrians got the Palestinians into Lebanon

The Palestinians started the War

At 3/06/2005 06:07:00 PM, Anonymous Firas said...


As a moderate Syrian, I'm incensed at your 'contributions', and despite myself, I feel compelled to respond.

First, you're taking advantage of this site and wasting valuable real estate on it to publish an uncorraborated account of a prisoner, that is not the subject of this forum - regardless of whether his story is true or not. Further, your entry serves no purpose toward advancing constructive dialogue; instead, it inflames tensions and fans an already raging fire.

You will be hard-pressed to find a Syrian who will condone maltreatment of Lebanese or Syrians (or any other), whatever the pretext. It goes without saying that such actions are repugnant by any civilized human standard. But, having said that, bear in mind that Syrian Intelligence hardly has a monopoly on such atrocious acts. Much has already been written and documented about the heinous crimes and monstrous torture of Lebanese against each other, and the wholesale savage inhumanity that was inflicted on Palestinians, Syrians and other Lebanese in the prisons of the Lebanese Forces, Kata'eb, South Lebanon Army and others. For starters, you might want to warm up with a leisurely read of the memoirs of beasts like Robert Hatem (Cobra). When you're done, you can graduate to some others. This is not even taking talking about the wanton murder, rape, mass-executions and cleansing that took place over 15 years of not-so-civil war among the various Lebanese factions themselves.

Next point: To blame the Lebanese civil war on the Syrians or the Palestinians is the epitome of denial and the pinnacle of willful ignorace. The first step toward a solution is a recognition of the problem. Your attempt to deflect responsbility of the war to others is a deliberate denial of the facts and a sure recipe for a repeat of the disasters of the past. Despite my criticism of the Syrian army and intelligence mistakes in Lebanon, Syrians were not responsible for the 1975 civil war. As a reminder, Syria was not there in 1860 nor were we there in 1958.

So, whether it's responsibility for LEBANESE civil strife or abhorrent torture of political enemies, please look inward before you direct blame at Syria - or anyone else, for that matter. If you live in glass house (and it's a very fragile one), you should not throw stones at others!


At 3/07/2005 09:25:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...

I'm sorry Firas, although you used very intelligent and fine words, you're still not convinving.

Take that prisoner's account as you like, you are free to believe it or not, no one is forcing you.

Secondly, the Lebanese war would never have happened if it wasn't for the presence of the Palestinian Armed Forces on the Lebanese land. Stop spoiling our history and telling stories about Lebanese killing each others.

There have been very few if any inter-Lebanese killings from 1920 until 1975, the lifetime of the strong Lebanese Republic. 1975 represents the period when the Palestinian Armed Forces took over and wanted to establish their country over ours.

The incidents of 1958 have been "incidents" and not a war or mass killings and they have been controlled by the Lebanese army.

As for the killings of 1860, I would like to remind you that the same killings happened in Damascus against the Syrian Christian population by the hands of their Syrian muslim brothers.


Thank you, we don't need lessons in history and do not think for a single moment that I am a supporter of the Lebanese Forces, of Michel Aoun or of any other particular Christian or Muslim grouping that you would like to label.

I have my own convictions and they stand on refusing to harm anyone at any price, violence is not an option.

At 3/07/2005 04:06:00 PM, Anonymous Firas said...


"Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it." Your semantics notwithstanding, it seems that you DO need a lesson in history. Honest and objective Lebanese should read it well, learn from it and reconcile themselves to its harsh reality. Only then, and with dialogue (as you profess to support) can you reach compromise with your compatriots about your identity and your future. And, ONLY THEN, are you able to collectively negotiate with others with one voice and one vision of Lebanon!

Your history thus far (since 1920) proves the opposite, to any literate person with a pulse!


At 3/16/2005 03:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gazi Kenaan and the "beast has kids and businesses in the United States. Call a US lawyer and Sue them. You will make lot of money.


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