Thursday, September 29, 2005

Robert Rabil Responds to my Op-Ed: Carrots or only Sticks?

Robert Rabil, director of graduate studies at Florida Atlantic University, who has written much of the most intelligent and interesting analysis on Lebanon and Syria for the influential think tank, the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, has commented on my op-ed with his own article in the "Daily Star." I will write a comment below. Here is his article.

The real message of U.S. pressure on Syria - Robert G. Rabil
Since the adoption by the UN Security Council of Resolution 1559, which authorized an independent commission to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, ironically a debate has raged more over the role played by Washington in issuing the resolution than over the possible implication of Damascus in the assassination. In fact, the Resolution was issued upon the recommendation of a UN fact-finding mission, which concluded that "the government of Syria bears primary responsibility for the political tension that preceded the assassination."

Some scholars and analysts perceive Washington's interest in pursuing the investigation as part of an overall effort to overthrow the Syrian regime. They argue that Washington is pursuing a policy of regime change on the cheap in Damascus, Syria's liberal opposition groups are not prepared to govern, Syria's deep religious animosities and ethnic hatred could easily tear the country apart if the government falls and would thus result in bringing to power militant Sunnis who would actively aid the jihadists in Iraq, and that Damascus and Washington have a mutual interest in subduing jihadism and stabilizing Iraq.

They criticize Washington's erratic policy and assert that the U.S. must choose between destabilizing Syria and stabilizing Iraq. Recently, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomed a group of American academics who, according to the Arab media, opposed the Iraq war. Their meeting with Assad could be interpreted as a message critical of Washington.

This line of thinking is confused and misguided on both strategic and tactical levels. From a strategic standpoint Washington and Damascus have different objectives in the region. Washington's invasion of Iraq and promotion of democracy in the Middle East have not only shattered the regional status quo, around which Syria built its reputation as the vanguard of Arab nationalism, but have also threatened the very survival of the Syrian Baath regime. Consequently, Damascus has a strategic interest in undermining U.S. policies in the Middle East in general and in Iraq in particular.

This is borne out by Syria's policy until very recently of turning a blind eye to jihadi infiltration into Iraq. Even, Iraq's Defense Minister Saadoun al-Doulaimi recently lambasted Syria for allowing insurgents to sneak into Iraq. But Syria has set itself into a dangerous trap. The very jihadists it allowed into Iraq are coming back into Syria and fomenting trouble. Admittedly, Damascus may consider helping bring stability to Iraq only if it would have a say in formulating Iraq's political future, something Washington has been adamantly against.

On the other hand, the Hariri assassination cannot be looked at in isolation of the regional developments. It is no less associated with Syria's attempts at undermining U.S. regional efforts than with preventing the mobilization of Lebanon's political and confessional groups against Syria's occupation of the country. Not only did Hariri project domestic and universal influence but also reflected a central aspect of Washington's policies by insisting on economic and political reform. Liquidating Hariri could thus be perceived as removing a domestic obstacle in Lebanon and undercutting a "leg" of Washington's diplomacy.

Similarly, it is not apt to consider pressure on Syria as an attempt to remove the Syrian regime on the cheap. On the one hand, international pressure on Syria, led by the U.S. and France, has accomplished significant results, freeing Lebanon after almost three decades of Syrian occupation and leading to the collapse of Beirut's security regime. Four senior security officials are now under arrest facing charges of complicity in murder. Something of this magnitude has rarely occurred in the Arab world. Lebanon could become a catalyst of political change in the region.
On the other hand, one could argue that pressure on the regime has reinforced the hands of Bashar vis-a-vis the "old guard." Bashar has used the regime change pretext to try to consolidate his rule. Close members and supporters of the Assad Alawite clan have taken control of almost all military and security apparatus while at the same time nearly all the old-timers of the regime were led to retirement.

Significantly, by affirming the inviolability of the Baath Party during the recent tenth Baath Regional Congress, being the vanguard party in society, Bashar sent a message to the opposition as well as to Washington that his Baath regime was "here to stay."

Historically, the regime survived the aftershocks of the defeat in the 1967 war at a time when it was extremely weak. Nor has the regime had any qualms using whatever means at its disposal to suppress internal opposition. Thousands of Muslim brothers and supporters were killed and jailed in 1982 when they rebelled against the regime. What partly saved the day was the support of the regime by the Damascene merchant class. Although this influential class has called for reforms, it is more concerned with stability than unchecked change.

Washington's policy toward Syria, by error or trial, has the effect of neutralizing Syria by forcing it to stop hedging its diplomacy ranging from promoting terror to seeking regional power. The international investigation is more a signal to Syria and other rogue states that the language of violence is nearing its end. In this respect, it is foolish to consider that Washington's choice is between destabilizing Syria and stabilizing Iraq.

Robert G. Rabil is director of graduate studies at Florida Atlantic University and author of Embattled Neighbors: Syria, Israel, and Lebanon (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003). He wrote this article for The Daily Star.

Comment: Robert does not dispute my primary thesis - that regime change on the cheap will lead to chaos or worse in Syria and backfire against American interests. (By the way, I believe that faced with a sudden government collapse, Syria would likely slip into chaos and possible civil war, rather than produce a stable government run by Islamists. I don't think Extremists have the ability, organization, or popularity among Syrians to take power. Maybe at the end of a brutal civil war they would emerge victorious once everyone has been radicalized, but not before.) Anyway, Robert doesn't dispute that something worse for American interests would likely happen in Syria should the government collapse.

What he does say is that US foreign policy, which he admits has been "erratic" and thus inscrutable, is not directed at regime change. To suggest that people in Washington have been hoping for regime change, Rabil insists - "is not apt."

OK, let's agree with Rabil for the sake of discussion. Washington agrees on a Syria policy and does not want regime change. Most likely, Washington has sobered up on the regime-change issue now that it must decide what to do with the Hariri investigation. The possibility of pushing Syria until it "pops" is a real concern, which Washington probably does not welcome at this point.

Robert argues that pressure works and is a good tool for forcing Syria to conform to American and Lebanese interests. Here again, we agree. I believe pressure has worked and will continue to work. The greatest evidence of this is Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon, as Robert says.

Where we disagree, is over the issue of whether the US should also offer Syria carrots to shape its policy. I think, "Yes," the US should do this. The main reason Rabil doesn't think carrots are a good idea, he writes, is because:

Damascus may consider helping bring stability to Iraq only if it would have a say in formulating Iraq's political future, something Washington has been adamantly against.

What Rabil is saying, if I read him correctly, is that Washington cannot draw Asad into a deal on Iraq because it will not accept Asad having "a say in formulating Iraq's political future."

Why not? Syria's main connection to Iraq is with the tribal confederations that populate Syria’s eastern provinces and Iraq’s western provinces. Syria has allowed the tribal leaders to meet openly in the Sham hotel. Most of the Iraqi leaders I have spoken to in Damascus - the Dulaimi types - are against the Shiite Imams taking over, they don't want Iran to have too much influence in Iraq, and they support former PM Allawi, and want a "secular" coalition of Sunnis and Shiites to rule in Baghdad. Everyone of them I talked to told me, “We don’t want the United States to leave Iraq now. We want them to pursue a smarter policy and listen to the Sunnis.”

This is not so far from what the US says its goals are. The United States supported Prime Minister Allawi in the last elections and were disappointed when he lost at the polls. America says it wants a balance of Sunni and other groups in Iraq, rather than the lop-sided Shiite control that is now emerging. Why not use Syria to counter-balance Iran? This would be wise policy. It needs to bring in the Sunni tribes, which Bashar has been cultivating. There are grounds for dialogue on this.

As I explained the other day, the last paragraph of my original op-ed (which was cut) suggested that the US ask Bashar to use its influence with the Sunni tribes to protect the oil pipeline that runs from Kirkuk in northern Iraq to Banyas on the Syria coast. It is the most efficient means of getting Iraq's northern oil out of the country, but was closed by the US when it invaded Iraq in order to punish Syria. Washington has not permitted it to be reopened. Iraq's northern oil has not been exploitable for the last year because the Iraqi resistance has been blowing up the pipelines to Turkey. Let Asad try to work with the Iraqi tribes to get the oil flowing. What does America have to lose? Syria was making 1.5 billion dollars a year out of this oil before the American invasion of Iraq. It has a large incentive to help stabilize Iraq if it can get this revenue back. So long as America refuses to let Iraq run its oil out through Syria, Damascus has an incentive to try to push America out of Iraq as quickly as possible in order to get the pipeline turned back on. America should exploit Syria’s interest in opening the pipeline to get Syria on the side of stabilizing Iraq. It would be to everyone’s benefit.
Using such a carrot does not mean America must forgo the Hariri investigation or its other sticks. It can do both. Asad will be more likely to cooperate, and Syrians will see a real interest in siding with the American program in Iraq - and perhaps elsewhere. If Asad behaves, he gets more carrots and less sticks. It would also convince Damascus that the United States does not want regime-change. What Asad fears now is that even if he cooperates with America, he will be driven to the wall. Under these conditions, he will not cooperate. It is a matter of regime survival.

Take away the regime-survival question and show Syria that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and Asad will head for the light. It is natural human behavior. It is not rocket science. Hence, I continue to believe that the question is between destabilizing Syria and stabilizing Iraq. Show Asad that America does not want regime change and that there is a possibility of cooperation, and he will respond.

One more point, Rabil struck a low blow, when he wrote:

[US academics who]criticize Washington's erratic policy and assert that the U.S. must choose between destabilizing Syria and stabilizing Iraq. Recently, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomed a group of American academics who, according to the Arab media, opposed the Iraq war. Their meeting with Assad could be interpreted as a message critical of Washington.
I take it that Robert is trying to imply that I joined some "group of American academics" who oppose the Iraq war and wanted to express their opposition by meeting with Bashar al-Asad. I did no such thing and would not do it. If I opposed the Iraq war, I certainly wouldn't meet with Asad in order to announce it.

I do not know of any America scholars who are in Damascus who met with Asad because of their opposition to the Iraq war. I did read this report in the local press, though, and it confused me as it has Rabil. What I think happened is this: A conference on Syrian history is being held this week in Damascus. A few American scholars, who work on 19th century Syrian history, are participating. I am not. Probably the local press used their presence in Damascus to write that they opposed the war. Maybe Bashar al-Asad turned up at the opening session of the conference to welcome them - but I do not know if this is true. I will find out.

Anyway, for Robert to suggest that my article, which argued that America must choose between stabilizing Iraq and destabilizing Syria, has anything to do with American academics who oppose the war and give allegiance to Bashar over George is just mendacity. There is no connection between the two. This is not a question about which president is better or whose side one is on. To reduce this discussion to such a level of national allegiance should be left to Campus Watch. Rabil should not stoop so low.

There is a real debate going on about what America should do in Syria to stabilize Iraq. I think Washington can be smarter. Robert thinks Washington is on the right track and doing the best it can. He doesn't think carrots will work. I do. We agree that pressure is effective. We agree that sudden regime change is dangerous. It is not a question of whose side one is on but what policy will help stabilize Iraq.


At 9/29/2005 04:44:00 AM, Blogger Nicolas92200 said...


I find myself in total agreement with your point of view, even though again I have restate my disappointment with Bashar after all the hope we had in him. But a couple of questions come to mind again:

-What guarantees that Bashar would not blow it again this time, as he has did earlier? There is an interesting article by Borhan Ghalyoun; regardless of what my personal thoughts on him maybe, but the article is well written and the ideas presented are worth debating. (the article is in Arabic):

-I had this debate with an American friend before: do you really think that it is only economics/money that will force the regime into cooperation? As much as I like the pipeline scenario, I have problems seeing how the regime will sell this to the tribes that are losing family members and, just as bad if not worse, losing face and pride. I do not think that more reopening a cash tap would do all that change. This would have been the case during the early days of the Iraq invasion, when emotions were still in control, but now things are getting a bit out of hand and cash is not a scarcity in the region there (remember Al Durri and Iraqi baathist cash is still circulating).

I agree on the balanced carrot / stick approach, but I think the US should be more creative. But what I fail to understand is why is Bashar/regime being so blind? It almost seems deliberate. Isn’t there any intelligent person in the circle close to Bashar? Is the power of group-think as damaging as this? It almost feels like Bashar presidency years should be used as a case study for political mismanagement.

In a parallel event, Anwar Al-Bunni is said to have issued a draft project for a new Syrian constitution. Among the main points is that the country’s office name will be the Syrian Republic and not the Syrian Arab Republic, a step I strongly support (I am a Sunni Muslim Arab). Among other suggestions is also the recognition of the Kurd’s rights (I vote for this one too), and the elimination of the condition that the president is to be male and Muslim (again I vote for this), and of course the right to form political parties and stand for elections. He also advocates equal advocates equal rights for women including the right to stand for elections (which I support but it already exists I think).

Here is the link with the news, it would interesting if you could get us more info on this project for the sake of the debate:

It would be nice to see the reaction to this. This is actually what I had been suggesting in some of my comments on this blog, to have opposition or civil society groups circulate alternative projects for debate. This would also allow us to see what alternatives exist and reflect the degree of maturity of the society.


At 9/29/2005 08:45:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Here is Sami Moubayed's new article supporting Josh's views in a big way.

No time to post my views.

At 9/29/2005 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

More than 10,000 Americans died and much more than 20,000 American injured in Iraq war, fighting against some of the most backward people that are armed with the most premitive small weapons. What is wrong here? This war in Iraq is apprently fought not by who has the most and sophisticated weapon but who has the brain. Considering the American who wrote this crap that is much more crap than American Baathist Landis crap, no wonder why the Iraq war will never be won. Ever. And the Middle East will be the same war zone for another million year because for as long as these ignorant moron keep on fabricating this crap, no one will see a truer picture of what is really going on.

At 9/29/2005 09:39:00 AM, Blogger Charles Malik said...

I wish you had been more specific in your original op-ed. It makes a lot more sense now.

The carrots I saw before were all theoretical. The Kirkuk oil argument is incredibly logical. The oil would at first be a carrot, but for fear of it being turned off, it could become a stick.

Then again, it might be too early to call. The US might be waiting for further collapse of the Syrian economy and for the Mehlis report to be revealed. The oil would be a much greater incentive there, perhaps? Perhaps, the US is trying to make it's carrots more powerful, ie get more for less?

At 9/29/2005 10:11:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Comment posted on Josh Landis SSPRS Comment in response to the Mehlis report string

A fix is done-in long time ago, search SSPRS previous comments. No one will be facing trial in Syria or Lebanon. The Mehlis report will be declared “inconclusive”. Doubt even the arrested Lebanese will face direct charges on Hariri murder, because they may sing loud and threaten the fix. At most, the mobil phone operators will be charged with lying to authority or other silly face saving crimes, that is all. In addition to the Syrian Central Intelligence Agency (SCIA) report last week a cursory observation, notes and analysis of these facts is more than sufficient evidence that a fix is done, period. Here we go:

Syria delivered a sum of cash by plane load to Iraq. Iraq mis-stated the actual amount of cash delivered by hundreds of Millions, Iraq will never see the cash.

Mofaz, declared that the Golan will be eternally Israeli, He would not make such a declaration outside his jurisdiction. Israeli are anal about making sure that public officials do not step out of bound. Defense officer have no business making such a comment on behalf of the Prime Minister or Foreign Minister. It was an exuberant celebratory blunder he made while the ink on the ceding document that Baathist dictator Bashar Assad signed to cede the Golan is still wet.

Several reports in Major U.S. Consumer Media calling for keeping and saving Assads and his Baathist regime. This was to prepare the American Public to softly land the Mehlis report and slowly ease it out of the seen.

Statement by President Bush about how terrorism will increase in Iraq, that is only in anticipation for Syrian Sunni Moslem and Lebanese anger at the reported fix that will become obvious to everyone shortly.

Palestinian being armed and kicked out of Syria with a typically Baathist scam that will bring an end to them once and for all, while the Baathists looks like they are fighting hard. In fact they are shipped out of Syria on a face saving agreement, whereby, they will be given a green light to start trouble in Lebanon and or toward Israel in preparation for Mofaz and Sharon to move in again 82' style and finishes them off once and for all, including the Shia Hizbullah.

That will be ready soon as NATO is preparing to take protecterate of Lebanon under the auspice of France and USA, as an exchange for England and USA protectorate in Iraq. Eliminate the terrorists, close the Palestinian refugee camps and Lebanese the Palestinian refugee. Now Israel problems are all solved. They got rid of the returnee issue that was a snag to the peace, they get to keep the Golan and, they get to keep weak subservient Syria, they keep Lebanon divided Iraq style into sectarian cantons, lacking any real economy, just consumer of Israeli economic production, they get to keep the Palestinian in Gaza open air concentration camp and even threaten to slowly finishes them off. They get to keep the west bank and Jerusalem. What a deal, what a fix. Israel still faces one small problem and that is Iran. Don’t worry, a cakewalk, we anticipate the plans. Hopefully then they put an end to Little Tehran Red Light District so the tens of thousands of Iranian little girls don’t have to work as prostitutes. Prostitution is rampant in Tehran under the Holy Mullah’s eyes. Many of the girls were the Mullah’s ex-wife for an hour or a day, depend on the Islamic marriage contract signed with the Mullahs.

Other publicly available indicators are relating to the Iraqi Baathists and insurgent which Assad convinced the American that keeping them under control in Syria is the lesser evil and that the insurgent are U.S. forces problem, "they have hand grenades and you got the World most powerful Armada"

So at the endaccording to the fix, Syria will remain occupied by baathists and Lebanese will become protectorate of NATO and Israel.

I don't know what you and the people going to do, we know that we will be having a celebratory laugh , all awhile everyone suffers and thousands more die a terrible death in the Middle East.

Cheers!!! The party started, we told ya so. Looks like he likes this Allah likes the Jews more. It is time for the Israeli to build the Holy temple.

At 9/29/2005 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Ghassan said...

I asked a question and posted it on the previous posting. Here it is again. Would somebody elaborate on what happenned at the last meeting between Asad and Prince (now he is a King) Abdullah of Saudi Arabia? "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which was the main rib in the Egyptian-Syrian-Saudi triangle ruling the region and setting its policies for the past 30 years, is no longer welcoming the Syrian partner after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, especially after what has been leaked about the quick and final meeting between young Syrian President with the current Saudi King Prince Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz."

At 9/29/2005 02:03:00 PM, Blogger O.D.M said...

I just wrote a long explanation..then something happened and it got lost. And I am not going to retype all that.

No answer for you

At 9/29/2005 03:56:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...

There is a simple logical fallacy in the original much debated op-ed.

It assumes that the American have 2 choices:

1) Give carrots to the Assad regime
2) Get him out of power

It then argues:

Option 2 is bad => Option 1 is desirable.

It misses the (excluded middle) obvious stratgy of squeezing Assad until he squirms and then asking him for all the American admin wants:
- Border collaboration
- Peace with Israel on Israel terms
- Drop support of Hizbullah
- Other demands as the situation requires

Since the opposition is so weak in Syria, the calculus works. However week Assad is he can still hold to power. He has nothing to offer the Americans but absolute submission to all their demands, so why have a charade that will allow him to keep face.

Sad, but true.

At 9/29/2005 09:21:00 PM, Blogger Hassan said...

Commenting Mr. Rabil’s article:

Let’s go back to the 80’s and look at the Syian-Lebaneese-American relationship:
At the time;
Syria was under American Isolation.
Syria had major internal struggle over power against the Brotherhood.
Syria was heavily involved in Lebanon.
Syria had major internal struggle over power against Riffat Al Assad and his followers.

What was the outcome?
A very strong lasting Syria (or Syrian Regime).

Why, let’s think about?

Who had the power to cause all those problems?
Who would benefit it?
Who can cause it, benefit it, and yet still be transparent throughout the whole situation?

To answerer that, let’s look at the Syrian problems one by one:

Syria had major internal struggle over power against the Brotherhood.

Islamic opposition was in Syria since the 60’s, but it never took spreading vandalism, chaos and bloody terror as a way to get to power until the 80’s where they really got different ideas, goals or in other words..Influance.
They became lethal powerful and well organized and back up, where did they get the resources? It was a near by country.
The British PM at the time was so happy with this near by country’s government, she once was asked: are you in love with the leader of that country?????

The Americans on the other hand very happily blessed the British relations with country.

Syria had major internal struggle over power against Riffat Al Assad and his followers.

Riffat at the time was the second in command and he literally had absolute power in Syria, so why did he lead the coop against his (very ill at the time) brother?
Where did he get the money to generate all his very faithful followers? It wasn’t Syrian money, Hafiz Assad is way smarter then that).

The money was injected through an Arabic Country, lots and lots of money, Riffat Al Assad has his own island in Greece, and a media Empire based in Europe.

Syria was under American Isolation.

I hope Mr. Rabil knows why.

Syria was heavily involved in Lebanon.

In the 80’s, Israel invaded the second Arabic capital (180 km from the heart of Damascus), Lebanon was drawn in civil war. Syria lost a lot of Soldiers in the Lebanese swamp.

Now, who can give green lights for all these things?

Let’s look at what did the Americans do?

They put Syria under extreme Isolation.

They had the most wonderful relations with Iraq along with their British Allay.

Riffat Al Assad was considered the Sauid’s man in the Middle East by American blessing.
And with all his crimes he is still untouched living in Europe till this very day.

The same Americans pretending to help the Lebanese people now a days, had their barges bombing Birute from Al Ashrafieh coast side less then 25 five years ago.

I also hope Mr. Rabil knows why the bombing took place.

Do you want to know how British and Americans act when they loose interest or power in a certain place?

History will give us a good idea;

Look at the British (the American allay):

Went out of India creating Pakistan one of two countries to be created on pure religious bases in the new age, the other country is Israel.
Indians and Pakistanis are fighting in Kashmir till this very monument.
Palestinians and Israeli people are fighting in the Middle East also till this very moment.
Not to forget Cyprus and the disturbance in there caused by the British.

Look at the American:
Waged about 72 wars in the very recent history,
Lost in Vietnam and left their allays to be wiped out by the communists.
Got really tired in Taiwan.

Now they wanted to remove Hafiz and what they did or helped doing in the 80’s was a real threat but Hafiz was clever and made sure they will need him in Lebanon and later on in the first gulf war.

So they backed off.

What is happning now:

Syria is isolated.
Syria is having problems with the latest version of the brotherhood.
Syria hears Riffat al Assad voice every now and then.
Syria is having huge problem in the Lebanese Swamp.

Do you see any difference between what happened in the 80’s and what is happening now??

I don’t, It has always been the same, they have plans for this area of the world, old plans so it is not the quest for democracy in the middle east as the Americans like to put it.

They always shake the ground in the place that holds their interest before going in to it.
And when they loose interest or get burdened they just leave everything chook up and destabilized and leave.

They did destabilize India and Middle East before; they got no problems with that,
Therefore they are ready to destabilize the whole area again for their-still-to-be exploited-interest.

So they are doing the same old same old…..destabilizing starting with Iraq and now Syria.

If Bashar al Assad doesn’t find a point of leverage soon, like his father did 23 years ago, his regime will be wiped out. And god helps the people in the Middle East then.

At 9/29/2005 10:42:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

You give carrots to a decent leader. He plants it in the soil and gets more carrots. You give carrots to Bashar. He eats it.

Hopefully, it will improve his sight.

At 9/29/2005 10:50:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

LP, I don't believe that economy is the right place to beat Bashar with. Look at Iraq. Totalitarian regimes are not affected by the economical issue. Saddam didn't have the sligthest problem with the embargo. It even allowed him to control the population better.

I guess that the US is aware of that and will sting Bashar where it really hurts: on his security appartus. For example, the UN should vote an embargo on weapons.

At 9/29/2005 10:53:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...


I added one line (last one) to your text

Let’s go back to the 80’s and look at the Syian-Lebaneese-American relationship:
At the time;
Syria was under American Isolation.
Syria had major internal struggle over power against the Brotherhood.
Syria was heavily involved in Lebanon.
Syria had major internal struggle over power against Riffat Al Assad and his followers.

Syria had the support of the USSR.

At 9/30/2005 12:03:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

DeJavue. Yes, we know this is the old 80s plan, even the same actors, Cheney-Rumsfeld & Company are back. At that time the Syrian Natioanlist spliter groups fought each other hard, blood stained the streets between pro and con Assad and America. But this time around,
we are willing to take a chance and stand with America because the status quo is simply not acceptable. Even Afghanistan and Iraq is much better than this regime offering Syria. Bashar was given plenty of time, he repeatedly ignored SSPRS and METAZ advise for 4 years. Had he listened, Syria would be now would had teh Middle East fastest developing economy. Yet, he would not even respond to requests seeking his office help taht Metaz asked him repeatedly to restore his land to his control from the baathist that are illigally using it despite repeated court orders which no one in Syria will dare to enforce against the army Baathists.

Bashar, tell your fellow Alawites and Baathists a very important fact: Mehlis, is the small problem you will be faced with. Bigger one still coming.

At 9/30/2005 03:33:00 AM, Blogger praktike said...

That was a childish cheapshot on Rabil's part. For shame.

And I still have yet to see any credible analysis of how Syria after a regime change would be stable--the closest thing to that was a plan by Tony Badran to put a consociational system in place by mutual accord.

At 9/30/2005 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Yabroud said...

Any body will be better than this mob, even Rifaat Assad.


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