Sunday, May 08, 2005

News Round Up

The Arab leaders are bringing Syria back in from the cold. Both Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and King Abdullah II of Jordan have visited Syria this last week in an attempt to reward Syria for its withdrawal from Lebanon and to reassure Asad that they do not see eye to eye with President Bush's continued attempts to isolate Syria.

Of course, Saudi and Jordan will keep pressure on Damascus to stay out of Lebanese politics, as will the French, but they are all moving away from Washington's extremism.

The Syrians are trying to insist that they cannot be blamed for trouble in Lebanon anymore. As one Syrian spokesman said: "Syria has abided by the demands of the United Nations. If there are still demands from the UN, concerning disarming of militias and other issues, that is not the responsibility of Syria."

Undoubtedly, the Syrians are taking some pleasure in watching the Lebanese descend into their old bickering habits. Aoun's return has reopened many old wounds. As Lin Noueihed of Reuters explains:

Lebanon's most prominent anti-Syrian leader said on Sunday he had yet to hear from fellow opposition politicians, signaling deepening splits within the disparate front that helped end Syria's 29-year military grip.

A day after returning to Lebanon amid scenes of jubilation, Michel Aoun said his allies so far were the tens of thousands of youthful supporters who welcomed him home from a 14 year exile.

"Until now I haven't heard...I assume silence after a certain period means rejection," Aoun told reporters at his home just outside Beirut, where he received a stream of politicians.
Jumblatt and Aoun have already traded insults over who should be seen as the great liberator of Lebanon. Aoun claimed responsible for driving the Syrians out. Not content with insulting Jumblatt alone, he also attacked Hariri's martyrdom and hero status. It was Resolution 1559 that drove the Syrians out, he insisted, not Hariri, his murder, or Jumblatt's high-wire politicking. The engine of change came from the outside, he argued, with his [Aoun's] authorship of 1559 in coordination with Chirac and ultimately the Americans, and not from the inside.
The international resolution was the driving factor of the Syrian evacuation. It was taken before the extension of president Lahoud's term in office in September and before Hariri's Feb. 14 assassination," the general said at Beirut airport's VIP lounge. "Hariri was aware of this and I believe he was assassinated for contributing to this effort," Aoun said.

Jumblatt retorted, "The Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon was brought about altogether by Hariri's blood, not by the returning Tsunami this afternoon."
Aoun wants to depict Hariri and Jumblatt as lowly handmaidens to a policy Aoun concocted from his Paris exile.

There is some truth to Aoun's claim. The Syrians share Aoun's view. They have insisted all along that the main force behind their exodus is a foreign conspiracy. In some respects Hariri and Jumblatt were Johnny-come-latelies. All the same, without their crucial support being thrown behind 1559, the Lebanese Lobby in France and the US would never have made 1559 work. Jumblatt and Hariri took the big risk by dragging their communities out of the Syrian camp and into the Paris pavillion. By belittling the role of the Druze and Sunnis, Aoun does the opposition a great disservice. It will undermine their unity. He is a narcissist of the highest order.

Having just seen the movie "Kingdom of Heaven," I cannot help but compare him to the fresh crusaders who arrive in Jerusalem and muck up the delicate entente-cordialle, which had been struck between the Christians and Muslims. Damascus has withdrawn. This is not a time for Christian chest thumping. Rather fence mending is in order, as P.M. Mikati has suggested.

President George W. Bush has decided to extend Washington's sanctions on Syria for another year, saying that "the Arab country was a threat to the United States." Washington insisted that Syria keep out of Lebanon's elections this month and allow the “disbanding and disarming” of militia forces in Lebanon.

Syrian Finance Minister Mohammad al-Hussein said Washington's sanctions were "unfair and illogical." He said his country would "continue to exert efforts for reform in the area of economy and other areas".

The Syrian government announced a cut in taxes on car imports from 255 to 60 percent on vehicles with medium and large engines, a step that is expected to facilitate the signing of a long-planned aid and trade agreement with the European Union.

The reduction of import duties on cars will probably do more to endear the average Syrian to the government than all the reforms due to be announced at the Regional Command meeting of the Baath Party. (By the way, the date for that meeting has been finally set for June 6.)How Syrian cities will support the flood of new cars that this reform is bound to engender is anyone's guess.

al-Arabia channel will conclude its three part series on "Syria: The View from Inside" at 8:00 tonight. It is a remarkable show, pitting three Syrian ministers against a very tough panel of Syrian reformers and opposition members: Ayman Abdul Nour, Michel Kilo, Thabit Salim, and `Isam Dari.

Last night's show had Minister of Information Mahdi Dakhlallah taking on the panel to talk about the up-coming Baath Party Congress. Evidently, Dakhlallah complained to the other guests before going on the show that he should not have been asked to speak for the Regional Command of the Party because he does not belong to it. He was ordered to appear on the show by the President after the actual members of the Regional Command refused to go on. Good for Dakhlallah. Bad for the Regional Command.

As Ayman Abdul Nour said on the show, Dakhlallah is one of the best Ministers and a real reformer. Dakhlallah called for eliminating the National Command of the Party before he became minister, because, as he argued, "no other Arab country wants to unite with Syria, let's face it."

The panelists spoke passionately and intelligently about the need for pluralism in Syria. They complained about the one party state. "How can the Baath Party be the only voice of the people," they argued, when so few belong to it and even fewer actually believe in it? All the principal slogans of the party are ripped from medieval history, they pointed out - "Unity, Socialism, and Freedom." None of them are relevant to modern Syria, except "freedom," which they were quick to point out the Baath continues to deny by maintaining emergency law.

At one point, Dakhlallah, overwhelmed by the onslaught, tried to turn the tables on his torturers by arguing that some of what they said verged on "un-patriotic" thought. The moderator quickly asked him if he was accusing them of treason. It was a delicious moment. Dakhlallah quickly pronounced, "It is their ideas that are not patriotic, not their persons." I could feel all of Syria jumping out of their seats and overturning the tea trays their wives had dutifully placed before them in order to shake their fists at the TV. Thank God the al-Arabia moderator was fast on her feet. She asked what the difference was. Dakhlallah looked sheepishly away from the camera. His heart was not in it.

Kilo took the defense, explaining that the panelists were the most patriotic of Syrians and had done more work and written more reports to reform the country than most government officials. "If Syria is to advance," he said, "the government must not turn against the people, but listen to them and respect them." Amen to that.

As an American who is tired of hearing his own politicians accuse others of un-patriotic behavior and "working against American interests" or being "anti-American" for speaking out against Washington’s policies, it was a satisfying moment. How many times have we had to hear, "It is not the sinner, but the sin we denounce?"

Tonight, the Minister of State Planning - Dardari - will be on to defend economic reforms. He is Bashar's main "reformer," very smart and good. I advise everyone to tune in at 8:00. I must salute al-Arabia for this series. Also, bravo to Bashar for ordering his ministers to take on such smart panelists. This is new for Syria. It is surprising how civil and constructive it all is.


At 5/09/2005 08:45:00 AM, Anonymous kingcrane said...

But Kilo was all over the galaxy. He made me dizzy. His logic is: If you can answer my questions, I will still find one that you cannot answer; he sounded at times like a neo-con apologist (including the much heard and repeated ad nauseum "Syria has failed to understand the new realities of a world dominated by a single superpower" / why doesn't he say: "Syria is not doing exactly what Dubya has been asking" / assuming Dubya has a clue about anything). I was unimpressed by the fact that the panel had the freedom to go for cheap shots when the current (and I believe permanent) leanings of the Syrian authorities (despite the farcical intra-Baath elections etc...) is to get some meaningful reforms. The fact that Al-Arabiya, not Al-Jazeera is doing this series is a sign that the KSA is "helping to bring Syria into the Arab fold" despite the fact that Al-Arabiya has been almost an Al-Hurra sound-alike on many matters. Yes, the KSA, not ultra-marginalized Jordan, is a deal-maker in the Arab world.
PS: I thought for several weeks that Lebanon will show the road to democracy to our Syrian neighbors; I was wrong. The 02-14 multi-confessional "opposition" alliance which was supposed to include the Hezbollah after much cajoling from Joumblatt (continuing the efforts of Hariri before his death, and eventually with the blessing of Syria) and with a moderate pro-US but not anti-Syrian potential President (Nassib Lahoud) is now challenged by 'Awn. I have nephews and nieces who supported 'Awn prior to the bloody 'Awn versus Geagea rounds of fighting; but today, 'Awn is showing his true self: a megalomaniac who wants eventually to be President, just to get even with Syria and his previous opponents (including one of the least corrupt Prime Minister ever in Lebanon, Selim el-Hoss). 'Awn's re-entry on the scene in Lebanon is a really bad thing for us Lebanese.

At 5/09/2005 12:00:00 PM, Anonymous Ty; said...

Josh and Co.,

I watched the latest segment with Dakhlallah with great interest on repeat today. My arabic is still not great, but from what I understood it was a good reminder that there is an expanding space for open, public dialogue within Syria that allows people like those on the panel (and the minister himself) to develop progressive ideas while still functioning in Syrian society. The Mukhabarat knows where to find all of the people who appeared on the show, their names and credentials were self-evident, and they weren't pulling many punches. I remember quite vividly the part you mentioned when the minister said he was critizing "their ideas and not their persons" and then how the cameraman (no doubt due to a shrewd decision on the part of the producers) kept the lens focused on his face as he stared off into space like a pouting child, despite the fact that (I believe) someone else was talking. That was where the emphasis needed to be, on the Information minister who couldn't find a way to express even his official party line in the face of a legitimate, direct challenge. Good for Al-Arabiyya and bad for Dakhlallah.

At 5/09/2005 12:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ayman Abdelnour appeared frightened using an ambiguous position of criticism.
Michel Kilo was very clear and definite.
As for Dakhlallah,he persisted to stay outside the real world with his arrogant defensive attitude based on regime's obsolete lies ,did he really believe himself ?

At 5/09/2005 01:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "usual bickering" among Lebanese politicians, isn't it what we call political life? In fact, look, it exists even in the land of filibusters and nuclear options.

At 5/09/2005 02:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Landis,
In line with the comment above, it would help us, your readers, if you could designate the countries where politicians don't bicker.

At 5/09/2005 03:32:00 PM, Blogger Anton Efendi said...

I loved this line from Kingcrane's comment:

... when the current (and I believe permanent) leanings of the Syrian authorities (despite the farcical intra-Baath elections etc...) is to get some meaningful reforms.

Classic! Brought a tear to my eye (from laughter).

Always fun...

At 5/09/2005 08:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prof. Landis, please spare us the balloney about your (and all of you gullible bleeding-heart Western apologists of Islam) Christian-Muslim "entente cordialle" (sic.)!!! Ever wonder what happened to the Jews and Christians of the Middle East after the onslaught of Islam? Do you seriously think they were seduced into exile, wholesale death, and en masse exile?
What's the matter with you man? Snap out of it, will ya?

At 5/09/2005 08:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Washington's extremism.???

Josh -

Put that in your pipe and smoke it...

"Our analysis is that there's a foreign fighter flow from Syria," Col. Stephen Davis, commander of Regimental Combat Team 2, told the Tribune.

At 5/09/2005 09:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is there a constant stream of LGFers in every blog I visit? It's really fucking annoying.

At 5/09/2005 09:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And by the way, Syria is the Arab country where Christians feel most at home. So put that in your pipe and smoke it or better yet just leave.

At 5/10/2005 01:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 9:37 PM

Please explain meaning of

At 5/10/2005 06:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Syria really out of Lebanon?
If yes how do you explain then the visit of Jamil Sayyid the former head of the Surete Generale in Lebanon to President Assad? Sayyid is known to be THE man of Syria in Lebanon. His name is synonymous to Syrian hegemony on Lebanon.
It seems that Bashar still thinks that he rules Lebanon and he may wake up one day and find out that he even doesn't rule Syria any longer.

At 5/10/2005 08:46:00 AM, Blogger Chops said...

Hey Josh - Nice quotes in the CS Monitor's article on studying Arabic in Damascus today. Hopefully that'll draw some more American students to your neck of the woods.

At 5/10/2005 11:10:00 AM, Anonymous Leila said...

Hi Josh - My Lebanese uncle and aunt are visiting me in Ca. and I gave them a tour of my blog last night. I also showed them Syria Comment, because they have a (Christian) Syrian son-in-law, and they go to Damascus a lot to visit their in-laws and buy textiles and furniture.

Uncle Yussef wants to know why the Syrians haven't put you in jail. This is a serious question. I think other Syria Comment readers would like your view on this. It might explain what's happening in Syria right now.

At 5/10/2005 11:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh is not in jail because there is more freedom of expression and anyway it is obvious that he loves Syria

At 5/10/2005 12:32:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...


You're over and over optimistic about Syria. Don't forget that people tend to tell you what you want to hear.

But I agree with you on one thing, this debate on al-Arabia is a big leap forward.

Maybe Bashar wants to open Syria after all. It's the best option for Syria and Lebanon. Far better than a revolution with unpredictable consequences.

At 5/10/2005 12:40:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...


whatever you think of Aoun this statement
"'Awn's re-entry on the scene in Lebanon is a really bad thing for us Lebanese. "

With Geagea in jail and your obvious desire to keep aoun out, what is exactly the elections that you propose us? An election were the main christian leaders are not present? Jumblatt does not like aoun because it reduces his share of the cake, nothing more. It has nothing to do with the paternity of the Syrian withdrawal.

And salim el hoss is a bad prime minister with no policies and no strategy for Lebanon (however it's true that he's not very corrupted but he does not object having corrupted members in his government so it's the same at the end).

At 5/10/2005 03:50:00 PM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...


So Jumblatt called Aoun a Tsunami, is this your definition for insult?

So Aoun contended that he was the main broker behind resolution 1559, while Junblatt states that Hariri was the man, is this an insult?

Be real man.

Furthermore, if Aoun is running for politics isn't it his right? Yes the man has some dilusional visions, he may think of himself as the next Bonaparte, but aren't all politicians in general viewing themselves as the next big thing?

Your comment on Aoun disrupting the Christian-Muslim "entente cordiale" is amusing, as is the contention of re-opening old wounds.... Who visited Aoun in his house the 2nd day of his arrival? No one but Samir Geagea's wife heading a 100 men delegation of the Lebanese Forces. Who visited Aoun on the 2nd day? A solid delegation of Hezbollah.

What are your ramblings out? We're not saying that Aoun is the next Messiah, but he certainly is not a negative factor in Lebanon's politics... Just don't give him an army or something, lol.

At 5/10/2005 09:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


From reading all the above comments, it seems to me that this Syria blog has more Lebanese than Syrian readers...

100% Syrian. And proud of it.

At 5/11/2005 02:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ghazaleh Re-marshals Syria's Allies to Contest Lebanon's Elections (

Syria's splintered allies are closing ranks under direct sponsorship of none other than Rustom Ghazaleh to coordinate a joint campaign to contest the May-June elections in northern Lebanon and the eastern Bekaa Valley, with Jamil Sayyed running for a Bekaa seat, An Nahar reported Wednesday.
The report clearly shows that the Assad regime has not given up on its political influence in Lebanon despite the withdrawal of its army troops and intelligence personnel that was completed on April 26, according to separate official announcements from the Beirut and Damascus authorities.

An Nahar said ex-Premier Omar Karami, who met President Assad in the Rawda Palace in Damascus on Monday, was later driven to see Brig. Gen. Ghazaleh at his new office in the countryside of the Syrian capital from where the former chief of Syria's military intelligence in Lebanon is "conducting the Lebanon file after Syria's withdrawal."

Karami and Ghazaleh then drove to Al Sham hotel in central Damascus, where they had lunch in the company of north Lebanese and Bekaa legislators Jihad Samad and Nader Sukkar as well as retired Brig. Gen. Sayyed, who was forced to resign as Lebanon's Surete Generale chief in the turbulent aftermath of ex-Premier Hariri's assassination.

The conferees debated the arrangements for the election battles in northern Lebanon, where Karami and Samad are running, and in the Bekaa, where Sukkar and Sayyed are standing. "Agreement was reached on the requirements of coordination in the two battles," An Nahar quoted knowledgeable sources as saying.

Ghazaleh was the dreaded symbol of Syria's ruthless tutelage over Lebanon when he for years imposed presidents, prime ministers, cabinet ministers and parliament members.

Beirut, Updated 11 May 05, 09:22

At 5/11/2005 10:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is there a constant stream of LGFers in every blog I visit? It's really fucking annoying.

Dear Anonymous,

I suppose LGFers, like shit, happens:)

We understand that it is annoying to disrupt suicide bombers and the despots that fund, train, and utilize them.

I suppose we LGFers, like liberals, don't like civilians getting turned into hamberger meat.

At 5/11/2005 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous FPA said...

Oh man..

1-Look, Syria is out. U.S. knows it, Israel knows it, the Lebanese know it.
I do not want to hear the "Is Syria really out?" For God's sake, to all these Fox news and "evildoer" hating Bush believers: Now lebanon can actually look inside and ask why it is where it is today.

2- christians in Syria are suffering? who said that? I am a Christian, and I don't know a Christian in Syria suffering from Muslims.. if they suffer, they suffer from the regime..get religion out of it. As our late former Prime Minister Faris Khoury said once said, speaking to the parliament "If the West wants to come protect us, Christians from our fellow Muslims, then Ashhadu an la Ilaha Illa Allah".. ( A tawhid statement only said by muslims.

Unlike Lebanon, In which Muslims hate other Muslims and Christians and Christians hate other Christians and Muslims. We are one unified country, Go protect yourself from North Korea who is asking for a millitary strike by flagging it nuclear weapons, and find where the hell the flight that hit the pentagon and the field went, you may also want to find where Iraq "was a serious threat ti the United States", and where that yellow cake from Africa and all these bombs that powell and others presented are.

I despise the American government, but have no grudges against the american public, but recently, the lack of knowledge of american people is making me sick.

Look at you, like spokesperson of the main media.. HOW CAN YOU BASE AN OPINION AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN THERE?

At 5/11/2005 03:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well at least you LGFers admit that you are shit. Ok thats great you hate dictators, don't come into this fucking blog because you know shit about Syria and you have never lived there. Go back to your LGF hellhole and try to defend yourself against Google labeling you a hate site (whicy you are).

At 5/12/2005 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Americans know nothing about everything, including Syria. This is a given. Only the Euros and the "Arab Street" have any knowledge worth mentioning.

So when you would like to discuss Syria's role in enabling terrorism and the insurgency in Iraq, please be kind and inform us LGFers and the rest of the uneducated American public.;)

At 5/12/2005 10:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Josh,

Here in the US everyone is talking about Ridley Scott's new movie "Kingdom of Heaven" and Ghassan Massoud's (the Syrian actor) excellent performance as Saladin in the movie. (great movie by the way).

Can you tell us if anyone is talking about it at all in Syria?


At 5/13/2005 06:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hafiz Assad (I) to be beatified
President Bashar Assad II has begun the process to beatify his predecessor Hafiz Assad I, the first step to sainthood.
"The reason for the beatification of Hafiz Assad I is well known, he provided miraculously healing against the cancer of Zionism and imperialism, and he was the hand of god for 30 years" the new Baathist leader told comrades meeting at the Basilica of St John in Damascus.
Widespread calls from Orthodox Baath Establishment for Hafiz Assad I, who died in 2000, to be made a saint at the Baath Congress Meeting soon.
The announcement - read out in Arabic, Latin, Kurdish and Aramaic - was met with a standing ovation from the clergymen attending the meeting, who demanded a statue of the would-be saint on a horse slaying a half-Bush-half dragon creature!

At 5/14/2005 01:52:00 AM, Blogger Brian H said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/14/2005 01:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, "Kingdom of Heaven" is so "PC" that it pretended the centuries of Muslim jihad didn't happen, and that it attacked Xian and Jewish settlements and nations only out of self defense. Since this is 100% opposite to the truth, the movie is basically an apology or cover-up for 1½ millennia of Koranic viciousness.

At 5/14/2005 05:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re "kingdom of heaven"
Considering the current anti-Islam mood in the world and the "war against terror" and considering how much this movie costed, I find it very fair and even pro-Islam. If Muslims want to show a different perspective then let us invest some money in a movie instead of waiting for others to do it.
The interesting point about this movie and what really concerns me as a Syrian is how the Arabic media dealt with the Syiran actor (Ghassan Mansoud). Arab media just ignored him, if this was an Egyptian or Lebanese actor then he would be the next drama God in the Arab world. This shows how weak Syrian media is even on the Arab world level.

At 5/14/2005 10:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To retard at 1:54 am. Do you have any historical background besides what you read online? What exactly are you referring to when you mention: "jihad." As far as I remember, this movie is about the crusades which in reality were a jihad against jews,muslims,armenians, and everyone else in the region. They killed anyone they could get their hands on...

and you mention centuries of islamic jihad...hell islam hadnt been around for centuries nevermind attempting to kill anyone,

idiot, get a book and read it. else keep your head shoved up your moms weenie and suck it...

At 5/14/2005 11:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry about the motherfucking LGFer. LGFers display an ignorance to facts, can't debate for shit, all they can do is make some short blog posts that throw in a few insults and some words resembling of historical events and call it an argument. They are weak fucks who would never be able to debate anyone in real life. Well what do you expect, most of their parents' are cousins.

At 5/14/2005 06:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume you mean mormon? I dont understand why we automatically assume these fucktards are LGF'ers. Im sure there are many more fucktards that dont fall into this blasphemous category who's parents arent related as such.

The essence of an argument is opposing viewpoints WITH facts (not random statements)but it doesnt appear as though many people have facts. They read a statement they dont like and counteract by inserting their own view (fact-based statement) without ensuring its accuracy.

For once ill swoop down to this status and say: fuck the lgf and their swine eating, beer drinking lard asses. keep your minds on how to dress your 17mormon wives and your 100mini lgfers making sure they grow up to be as ignorant and racist as you are...(the wives have a tendency for either very young girls or old wrinkly hoes...)

At 5/14/2005 07:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does " Kingdom of Heaven" have to do with what is going on in this day and age ?

Is someone, somewhere implying the Crusaders are back?

Have they ever left ? Unfortunately always in the name of God, be they Jews, Christians or Muslims..... PATHETIC INDEED .

As to anonymous 1:54 stating that the movie is an apology for " Koranic viciousness" , the Koran indeed is a sacred book not for Muslims alone, if you have ever read it , you may notice that God adresses the believers_ Jews, Christians Muslims and other believers_ regardles of their belief system . The Book has Biblical stories and names of different Prophets and Messengers from Adam, Abraham to Jesus, Mosses and so on ... and you find few ignorants in Guantamo flushing the Book instead of their ignorance...

At 5/16/2005 10:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 1:54am,

Yes, we LGFers tend to make some people so angry, they become walking Semtex bombs.

And how can one debate a walking Semtex bomb? It's very tricky!
Nevertheless, if we get rid of Israel everything will be fine for everyone. We know that;)

At 5/16/2005 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To last respondent,

Why joke about suicide bombing? It's spreading. First it was against the Israelis, then against the Russians, Americans, and Australians, and non-Sunnis in Pakistan, now it's directed against innocent Iraqi job seekers.

Terrorism has been divorced from any achievable, logical aim in Iraq, who is to say that any Muslim land will forever be safe?

At 5/16/2005 08:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why joke about suicide bombing?

Joking about it is less harmful than employing it, funding it, and apologizing for it.

It's spreading.

Not because I joke about it. See above.

First it was against the Israelis, then against the Russians, Americans, and Australians, and non-Sunnis in Pakistan, now it's directed against innocent Iraqi job seekers.

No, FIRST it was against innocent Arabs who succumbed to the despots who took over the Middle East even before Israel became a nation.

Terrorism has been divorced from any achievable, logical aim in Iraq, who is to say that any Muslim land will forever be safe?

Terrorism hasn't been divorced from Assad, the Saudis, the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Iranians, the Iraqis, and the al-Queda network.

Iraq is an attempt to not only punish despots like Sadam, but to start a new process in the Middle East where people can lead productive, peaceful lives and governments can be held accountable.

The opportunity is there. I hope it isn't squandered.

At 5/16/2005 09:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

muahahaha what a lame statement:

"Iraq is an attempt to not only punish despots like Sadam, but to start a new process in the Middle East where people can lead productive, peaceful lives and governments can be held accountable."

Arabs were leading much productive lives before the us and britain intervened to place a scum nation from nowhere in the heart of the region and by then placing surrounding dictators to maintain and suppress its inhabitants. Lets not forget the US is "cleaning" up its own created mess....

Punishing your own students isnt a sign of a smart teacher dont you think?

At 5/16/2005 09:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Arabs were leading much productive lives before the us and britain intervened to place a scum nation from nowhere in the heart of the region and by then placing surrounding dictators to maintain and suppress its inhabitants."

Yeah right! for every dictator supported by the US there's another who maintains himself despite US influence. The US didn't want Nasser, Saddam, the Assads, the Sudanese regime, Qaddafi, etc. The dictators supported by the West - mostly the monarchies, were certainly not installed by the West - and they seem a whole lot more benign than all the indigenous Arab experiments in Islamic government and socialist republicanism.

You call Jews a "scum nation" - look at your own leaders and the society that tolerates them. If a dictator says "Liberate Palestine" you forget all the torture and thievery he commits against you. You are treated like scum so you project those feelings on others.

To other respondent . . .

I sense we're mostly on the same side, so I'd rather not argue, but sorry that I don't have much humor about people being blown up while eating pizza, watching a parade, trying desperately to get a job . . .

At 5/16/2005 10:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To "scum" guy . . . . ever notice how the Middle Eastern regimes that are the most anti-Israeli - Saddam, Sudan, Syria, and Iran - are also the worst to their own people?

Except in Gaza and the West Bank, Israel isn't responsible for Arab suffering.

At 5/17/2005 05:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sense we're mostly on the same side, so I'd rather not argue, but sorry that I don't have much humor about people being blown up while eating pizza, watching a parade, trying desperately to get a job . . .

I agree with you 100% and apologies if my style or sarcasm offended you.

At 5/17/2005 11:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Punishing your own students isnt a sign of a smart teacher dont you think?"

Even allowing for metaphor, it is factually untrue to say that Saddam was ever a "student" of the United States in any meaningful sense.

The US did not install Saddam and only tolerated him once he acquired power. The Soviets armed Saddam, the oil monarchies (including Kuwait) lent him billions, and France tried to give him nuclear weapons. We did not lend him money for the Iran War, we did not sell him weapons, we did not train his secret police. Why is it that the USA doesn't attend those conferences on Iraqi debt? Because we never lent him money in the first place.

True, the United States recognized Saddam's government and even sent Donald Rumsfeld there in the 1980s to talk about an oil pipeline. We also bizarrely tried to pin the blame on Iran for Anfal, but merely because the US did not ignore Saddam does not mean that we supported him. Throughout the Cold War we even had relations with the Soviet Union, that does not mean we supported that government? Because Poland, France, and the UK had relations with Nazi Germany in the 1930s does that mean that we supported the Third Reich?

(same anonymous poster from before)

At 5/20/2005 12:52:00 PM, Anonymous AMAZED BY UR IGNORANCE said...

To the idiot who said the soviets armed sadda:

you are not an idiot for saying so..because most of Saddam's weapons are soviet. However you are still an idiot, because SADDAM WAS outrightly supported by the US, and Donald Rumsfield went by himslef to sell him be used "against his own people"





At 5/24/2005 11:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Professor Landis
I don't know you personally but I know that you have been writing and publishing a number of articles indicating your thorough knowlege and follow-up of the affairs here.I read that you have been also here.Sometimes, I must confess, I can't understand you.what are you upto? To be a specialist on the subject or to be advocator of freedom and democracy?

At 5/24/2005 12:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Professor Landis
I don't know you personally but I know that you have been writing and publishing a number of articles indicating thorough knowlege and follow-up of the affairs here.I read that you have been also here.Sometimes, I must confess, I can't understand you.what are you upto? To be a specialist on the subject or aiming at just to be advocator of freedom and democracy?.I believe that there is no formulated policy in USA envisioning a future of some sort.

At 6/11/2008 08:36:00 PM, Blogger xicao said...

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