Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Can the US and Syria Work Together in Iraq?

Common US and Syrian Goals in Iraq
Iyad Allawi, the ex-Prime Minister of Iraq, who was backed by the Americans in the last Iraqi elections is campaigning in Syria among Iraqi exiles here. I have been asked to meet with his campaigners and write about his platform by some of his supporters. (I don't have time to do this, but some reporter should.) But, it is worth mentioning, that Allawi has the support of the Syrian government. This is not surprising because he represents the best hope of secular Sunni Iraqis to form an alliance with secular Shiites and preserve the unity of Iraq. It is also worth noting that Allawi is also heavily supported by the US government for the same reasons. This should give pause to the people who claim that the US and Syria are working at cross purposes in Iraq and who insist that Washington should refuse Syria any role in helping to find a solution to the Iraqi situation. (This is the stand of WINEP. Robert Rabil recently wrote for the Washington Institute that the US should deny Syria a role in Iraq because it is a bad country.) This is foolish politics and ensures that US demands for Syrian cooperation at the border will not be carried out as enthusiastically as possible. Both governments support Imad Allawi for the same strategic reasons. Both Syria and the US want a stable, unified, and secular Iraq. Both have an interest in limiting the role of Iran in Iraq. Syrian Sunnis from the north-eastern tribes have taken up Allawi's cause here. They believe he is the only salvation of their Sunni cousins in Iraq. Both Syria and the US are trying to buy the Iraqi Sunnis into the political process in Iraq in order to find a way out of the escalating sectarian violence and to put an end to the resistance and terrorism.

Why can't Washington be smart about this? It has consistently refused Syrian cooperation in Iraq. It has refused to allow Syrians delegations to attend conferences on border control. It has refused to supply Syria with much needed night-vision goggles and other high-tech equipment to help survey the border. It has kept the Iraqi government from establishing links and dialog with the Syrians. It has rebuffed Syrian attempts to keep intelligence sharing on Iraq and fundamentalists open at high levels. It has refused to permission of high-level American military representatives to come to Syria to confer with their counterparts here on border issues. America's attempts to isolate Syria have undermined intelligent Iraq policy.

Lebanon's supporters in the US and neo-cons have blinded themselves to the possibility of Syrian cooperation in Iraq. Some of this is understandable. Syria did encourage Jihadists to go to Iraq during the first months of the war. All the same, Syria is now cooperating with the US because the US has declared its intention to eventually leave Iraq, a process Syria hopes to hasten. Syria is also rightfully worried about Iraqi blowback should the resistance continue. The Jordan bombings were a clear demonstration of this danger to all Iraq's neighbors. Lebanese are rightfully fearful that should the US open the door to Syrian cooperation in Iraq, Damascus will try to use their assistance and positive role in the East to buy continued lenience for meddling in Lebanon and foot dragging over the Mehlis investigation. These are understandable fears, but Washington should not let their Iraq policy be driven by Lebanese interests. Washington can separate its Lebanon policy from its Iraq policy, making it clear to Damascus that help in Iraq does not mean a license to fiddle in Lebanon. To those who insist that “pressure works” and only pressure will get the attention of Damascus, let them continue to use pressure. There is no law that pressure and dialog cannot be used together.

It is now clear that the US is not going to achieve regime-change in Syria – even the kind of cheap regime-change of the Qaddafi-deal variety. So long as the “isolate Syria” supporters could hope for dramatic success in getting Syria to make a strategic pirouette by refusing all dialog with Damascus, there was some justification for not cooperating on the Iraq border even though Syria was willing to. Today, that refusal is just stubbornness and short sighted. It may be costing US and Iraqi lives. It certainly means US efforts to increase dialog between Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis is firing without all its pistons. The US should enlist Syria to play a constructive role in this effort. Iraq’s Kurdish President is keen on bringing the Syrians into the picture and enlisting their support. He has asked the government to stop anti-Syrian propaganda. Allawi is also campaigning for Syria’s help. These are America’s two closest Iraqi allies. Why not listen to them, rather than clip their wings? Use Syria to counterbalance Iran. Refusal to do this only forces Syria and Iran together. It makes western fears of a Shiite crescent in the region self-fulfilling. Syria is an overwhelmingly Sunni country. Although Bashar al-Asad is an Alawite and thus technically closer to Shi`i than Sunni Islam, he is above all secular and interested in preserving his regime and Syria’s position in the region. Harnessing these interests to US goals should be a priority.

Addendum: Just received this from a reader:

Just read your latest posts. Poor Ziad Abdelnour. Got everything he ever wanted, but had nothing to do with it. He must have gone clinically insane. Is that interview for real?

As for Iyad Allawi, I don't pretend to be an expert on Iraqi politics, but I can tell you the election results from Iraqis who voted in the US in the first post-Hussein election:

1) Shiite alliance
2) Kurd alliance
3) Assyrian parties
5) Allawi's ticket

So even Iraqis living in the world's premier capitalist society had more confidence in communists than Allawi. Not exactly a stellar showing. Is he still running alongside Ghazi al-Yawer, who wears a dishdasha and kuffiya in Iraq but comes to DC and brags about how much he loves the Washington Redskins? Street creds, anyone?
Here is a list of the people, compiled by "Shril" who are on trial in front of Syrian State Security Court this period. One can see that most are accused of belonging to Islamist groups or the Iraqi Baath. This is consistent with Damascus' declaration that it is worried about Iraqi-style violence spreading into Syria and the government's declared aim of helping the Iraq government stop Jihadist infiltration and the violent resistance in Iraq.

4 December
Name Accusation
Omar Darwish Coming back from exile in Iraq- charged of Belonging to Islamic brother hood
Radwan Darwish Coming back from exile in Iraq- charged of Belonging to Islamic brother hood
Muhammad Raadon Human rights activist

11 December
Jamel Hallol Islamic background
Khalid Alraaee Islamic background
Mahmoud Abo Mayalah Islamic background
Ahmad Omar Islamic background

18 December
Mahmod al-kateeb Coming back from exile in Iraq- charged of Belonging to" bath al-yameen"
Ahmad al-kateeb Coming back from exile in Iraq- charged of Belonging to" bath al-yameen"
Abdel majeed kayrawan Belonging to" bath al-yameen"
Muhammad Mahmoud Qasem Islamic background (Detained in 13-2-2005)Yalda "countryside" of Damascus

11 prisoners from al-qamishli Islamic background
Abdel sattar qattan Accused of relation with Islamic brotherhood

15 January 2006
prisoners from al-tal area
"Baraa Mania"- "Ghassan al-khateen" – shaher al-zarqa"- "Murad al-zarqa" "Asem Basheer" Islamic background

seven prisoners from Al-Tal aria (countryside of Damascus Charged with belonging to al-wahabia al-takferia

5 February 2006
Nizar Rastanawi Human rights activist
Abdelrahman alsharef Islamic background- Detained in February 2004
Osamah Cash Islamic background- Detained in August 2003

The arrest of opposition member Kamal Al Labwani at the Damascus International Airport - more info from the Syria Human Rights Information Link.
Syrian opposition member Kamal Lubwani was arrested during his return from Washington and meetings with a number of American officials at The White House, National Security, and American Foreign Affairs. The arrest took place during his exit from Damascus International Airport and at the hands of officers from the civilian police, one of whom is ranked a major, while his wife was preparing to meet him.

Al Lubwani traveled to London a little over two months ago to make an exhibition for the pictures that he drew during his imprisonment on the basis of what has been called “Damascus spring”. After that he traveled to Brussels and met with officials at the European Union; then he moved on to Washington where he did not reach an agreement with The Reform Party leader Farid Al Ghadari. He announced that he is with The Syrian National Council (Al Majlis Al Watani Al Suri) and signed a joint declaration with Doctor Najeeb Ghadban and Al Diri, and told thousands from Washington that he met with American officials for the purpose of discussing change from within and without a repeat of the Iraq scenario, as well as that he discussed the Damascus Declaration for National Democratic change. However, a number of the Syrian opposition members who signed the Damascus Declaration said that Al Lubwani was not present during the preliminary negotiations of the declaration.

The Transfer of Al Lubwani to the examining magistrate
During his questioning in front of the examining magistrate in Damascus, Doctor Kamal Al Lubwani rewiewed the positions that were declared during the interview he gave with Al Hurra satellite television, the substance being:

- emphasis on the absolute rejection of any military or economic pressure on Syria and the absolute rejection of violence.
- emphasis on transparency, clarity, and the rejection of clandestine efforts, along with condemning the bias in political rhetoric.
- emphasis on democracy and support for human rights organizations and basic freedoms, especially the right to participate and produce an opinion, as well as all of the civil and political rights.

The office of the prosecutor general rested its case on the accusations of weakening the psyche of the nation, weakening national consciousness, threatening national dignity, kindling the fires of sectarianism, and belonging to a clandestine organization; its case is based on his opinions and ideas, whether those that he expressed openly and transparently or those that he preserved for himself on his own private slips of paper, and the charges rest on articles 285-287 and 307-308 of the Syrian penal code.

The defense team learned that Doctor Al Lubwani has been exposed since his arrest to the worst detention circumstances which drove him to request the prosecution of the head of the branch of political investigation who slapped him in the face.

The defense team stresses that Doctor Lubwani’s preventive detention has lost its legal justification because all of the requested evidence is present in the file and there is no fear of its loss or destruction, just as there is no fear of the accused taking flight considering he is the one who showed up and returned to the homeland having faith in the integrity and justice of his cause. This detention gives the impression of a punishment or an advance on its settlement and is contrary to the constitutional and legal principle based on that the accused possesses the presumption of innocence until a final ratified judgment concerning him or her is issued.
Shril also describes the:
Prevention of the gathering of The Council of the Damascus Declaration
The Syrian Committee for Human Rights (London) disapproved of the audacity of the Syrian security authorities in preventing the convening of the meeting of the temporary council for the Damascus declaration; an action which was carried out on the evening of Sunday, November 11, 2005, by barring the entrance of the building in which the meeting was chosen to convene by means of a massing of elements of the police and intelligence services.

Rhonda Roumani explains in the Christian Science Monitor (Nov. 17) why the Syrian opposition has distanced itself from Labwani:
But as the US has been trumpeting Labwani's plight, internal Syrian opposition has distanced itself from him. Wary of US intentions in the region, many view support from Labwani with suspicion.

Labwani is one of only a handful of opposition figures within Syria who has called for stronger ties with the US. Many here are afraid of being labeled the Syrian version of Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi opposition figure who many say helped build the case for the invasion of Iraq.

Labwani, a medical doctor from Zabadani, a mountainous area on the border with Lebanon, gained notoriety in Syria when he was arrested in 2001, along with nine other prominent activists. He served a three-year term and was released in September 2004.

Upon his release, Labwani returned to politics, giving lectures on democracy and the Damascus Spring. This year, he announced the formation of the Liberal Democratic Union, a new political party advocating strong ties with the West. (Syrian law forbids the formation of new political parties.)

But in meetings with US officials, Labwani chose not to speak on behalf of his new political party, says his lawyer, but asked for US support of the Damascus Declaration, which calls for reform and was signed last month by a coalition of opposition leaders, including Islamists.

Labwani, who did not sign the declaration himself, was criticized by Abdel-Azeem, the spokesman for the Declaration, for taking it to US officials without being a signatory. "As for the arrest, we are against the arrest of any Syrian citizen under the emergency law," says Abdel-Azeem.

"I am not against Rice saying what she said," says Louay Hussein, an opposition figure and owner of a publishing house. "But I am not convinced of their sincerity. They do not care about human rights or the human rights of Kamal Labwani. This was only for their benefit, not the benefit of the Syrian people."

Riad Nakshbandi, an engineer who used to work on the Tharwa Project, a project on minority issues in the Middle East until it was shut down last month, is another opposition figure who is not opposed to reaching out to the US.

"But there has to be a framework in how we deal with the Americans - not just a single person," says Mr. Nakshbandi.
Kim Ghattas of the BBC has a good story entitled:
Syria's minority Alawites Fear for their Future
I am quoted saying, "Certain Alawites have been able to benefit from having an Alawite president, but [many] remain poor and don't have connections to the regime," says Joshua Landis. "They worry they are the ones that are going to eat all the revenge and discrimination, if the state falls, they are going to pay the price for the privileges of a few." (I was quoting JAM, so don't say I don't listen to the doubly heretical Alawite.)

One reader writes:

Mr. Landis: David Duke, the former head of the KKK of Louisiana, is in Damascus to express his support and solidarity to the Syrian government. I think they will form a perfect partnership! Also, he is discussing plans to open a branch and a local office of his movement, i.e., the KKK, in the Syrian Capital...God Bless, God Speed!!!! Oh, Happy Thanksgiving by the way.
UN chief: Arab leaders worried Syria could become the next Iraq
By The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who just returned from the Mideast, said Arab leaders are worried that Syria could become the next Iraq.

Annan said on Monday that the issue of Syrian cooperation with an investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri came up in every capital he visited.

"They're all concerned and anxious to see Syria cooperate and to see the issue settled diplomatically and not lead to a situation that destabilizes possibly Syria and Lebanon," Annan said. "They're worried if we are leading to another Iraq situation."

A UN interim report into the February 14 assassination implicated Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services, and accused Syria of only limited cooperation. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on October 31 warning Syria of possible "further action" if it refuses to cooperate with the UN investigation, which has been extended until December 15.

Syria has objected to chief investigator Detlev Mehlis' request to interview six top Syrian officials about the assassination in Beirut. Syria's UN Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad reiterated Monday that Lebanon "creates problems, sensitivities and other issues."

Last week, Mekdad said Syria had proposed alternative venues including the headquarters of the UN observer force in the Golan Heights, at the Arab League office in Cairo, or at UN facilities in Vienna and Geneva.

Mekdad said the location issue was discussed at a meeting in Barcelona, Spain two days ago between Mehlis and Syrian officials.

Asked about reports that there was an agreement on Cyprus as a compromise venue, he replied, "not yet - there still needs to be some work."

Mekdad said Syria is insisting on a memorandum of understanding spelling out the kind of cooperation the UN investigating commission requires in its interrogation and investigation.

After Mehlis arrived in Lebanon, he signed a memorandum of understanding with the government in June, "and in Syria we want to do the same, so that we know how ... we organize our cooperation and work together," Mekdad said.

"It is not in our interest to delay things," he said. "I think it is against our interest and we hope that Mr. Mehlis and his team will expedite the work so that we can proceed directly to the investigation and the interrogation processes."

Annan refused to respond to reports of U.S. criticism for allegedly interfering in the Mehlis investigation, but he said "I have had the chance to assist him sometimes to push people along, encourage leaders in the region to urge Syria to cooperate and to cooperate fully."

"I have also had the chance to talk to Syrian authorities since the resolution several times urging them to cooperate with Mehlis - and I think it is my duty as secretary-general to do whatever I can to assist to make sure that everybody cooperates," he said.

Stressing the widespread concern in the region, Annan said he has made it clear to the Syrians that the Security Council wants "to get to the truth and then show that the culprits are brought to justice and a message will be sent out that impunity will not be allowed to stand."

In tandem with the suspicions about Syria's hand in Hariri's assassination, the United States, joined by the new Iraqi government, has accused Damascus of not doing enough to patrol its border with Iraq.

At the very least, argue Iraqi and U.S. officials, Syria is turning a blind eye to hundreds of so-called foreign fighters crossing into Iraq and who are believed to be behind some of the most violent attacks in that country, including the near daily suicide bombings.

Syria has disputed those claims, saying it is doing all it can, but that it would be impossible to fully patrol such a long and porous desert border.

Damascus has also repeatedly has denied any role in the Beirut bombing that killed Hariri and 20 others. But Syria's opponents in Lebanon accuse Damascus of ordering the slaying because Hariri had increasingly resisted Syria's control of Lebanon.

Syria withdrew its soldiers from Lebanon in April under intense international pressure, ending a 29-year presence in its smaller neighbor.

"We want to see a situation where the countries in the region respect each other's sovereignty and do not interfere in each other's affairs," Annan said.

"So if there is pressure on Syria, it's pressure for a behavioral change," he said. "That's the way I see it."


At 11/23/2005 03:49:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Wonder how much Annan got paid for his services. All those Arabs and Africans expressing worries about Syria turning into another Iraq. All the sudden so many care about Syria. Wonder why for 43 years they were not worry about using Syrians that were impoverished by the Baath party as a slaves to build their countries. Would have believed the sincerity of this worry, have they for a day, any one of these scum complained about how the Baath are killing Arab and Moslem brothers in Syria and Lebanon.

And if they think Iraq is in such a mess, guess why? because their nationals are coming and blowing themselves and Iraq apart. I don't see any one of these country doing anything about stopping that daily routine.

What Annan and these Arabs really worried about is in fact not that Syria turned into another Iraq, but that the Syrians is going to pass and execute judgment on them.

Afraid, that Syrians and Lebanese will give Arabs the middle finger (you can bet on it) and enter into strategic alliance with Israel.

At 11/23/2005 05:44:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/23/2005 05:57:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I never expressed worries of a regime change in Syria as quoted above. Hurting Alawis because of a regime change is a secondary concern if at all to my deep desire for a regime change. My point has always been that Alawis who are workiung for the regime are only servants to its beneficiaries. I say beneficiaries, and those beneficiaries are of all backgrounds. Alawis are servants and protectors to those big beneficiaries since they alone bear the name of being in power and they alone have been given the dirty job of Mukhabarat.

So, I am not worried to see those Alawis in power or the smaller servants being hurt and destroyed for they deserve it, and my point was that most highly educated Alawis were against this regime from the begining. Their opposition to the regime made them pay high price for two reasons: 1- The penalty of opposition has twice the severity if one is Alawi, and then 2- they are still untrusted by Sunnis who claim that this is only an act, and I have heard this many times from Sunnis tha they can not believe that there is an Alawi who is against the regime.

Let the regime fall, and if all Alawis are going to pay the price so be it, because those Alawis who are enjoying being the servants to this regime ( thugs) for a price that is laughable when compared to the benefits Merchants are getting must be very despicable creatures. Merchants also face absolutely no risk while they steal and enrich themselves, and Alawis seem to be in a drunken state of mind.

Alawis, it seems to me had a chance to make Syria a great place, and to ensure a present and a future of equality between its citizens not based on any inherited privileges or discriminatory causes, but they chose to get in the corruption game under the leadership of the most corrupt of all, Hafez Assad, and they had no pitty on killing their own kind. The Alawis have proven that they do not deserve but to be servants for eternity to others. If Alawis wake up one day, they should start by eleminating all those infamous Alawi Officers such as Ali Duba, and people of his ilks.

At 11/23/2005 07:02:00 AM, Blogger death penalty said...


When the Syrian army
entered Lebanon in 1976 in order to restore order to the country, the Special Division (the Revolutionary Defense Corps) under the command of
Rifat Assad, the Syrian president's energetic brother, was placed in charge of
the Beka valley.

Rifat saw the cannabis fields and realized the financial potential of his complete control of the region. He allowed the farmers to grow opium poppies without restriction. Within less than ten years the percentage of cultivated land in the Beka valley used for growing drugs increased from 10% to 90%.
It is not enough to grow drugs. They must also be purified and exported by official and not-so-official air and sea ports, all of which were under the forceful control of Syrian officers and clerks. This led to the emergence of a complete business of bribery and protection money involving almost the entire Syrian administration.

This impressive list is headed by such names as Mustafa Talas, the Syrian defense minister, who issued transmit permits for drug
traders to use Syrian roads. These drug traders transported smuggled "Morphine
Base" from the Turkish border to the Beka region of Lebanon, where it is
purified. The purified heroin is then returned via Syria to Turkey, from where
it is exported to Europe. Rifat Assad continued to be involved in
drug trafficking through his sons after he left Syria and settled in Geneva in 1984. Other key names include the head of Syrian military intelligence, General Ali Duba, and the senior Syrian military representative in Lebanon, General Ghazi Kena'an.

In 1992-93, for example, when the Americans
estimate that the Beka region produced
approximately 720 tons of marijuana and
approximately 15 tons of heroin per annum, the
Syrian economy took a hefty slice of the profits,
amounting to some $3-4 billion each year.
In 1993, however, Syria dramatically changed its
attitude to the growing of opium and cannabis in
Lebanon. Assad, who had previously not lifted a
finger to stop the involvement of his country and
his own senior staff in protecting this trade and
providing transport facilities for drug dealers,
decided under strong pressure from the Clinton
administration to take serious action against the
opium and cannabis growers in the Beka valley.
Assad's very clear goal was to achieve the
long-desired removal of Syria from the State
Department's list of countries encouraging the
export of drugs.

Assad appointed his (now-deceased) son Basal and
General Ali Duba to head the campaign to destroy
the drug crops. In the past (and to some extent
even today) the Syrian and the Lebanese
authorities used to carry out show- piece
campaigns in which cannabis and poppies were
destroyed before the Western television cameras,
in order to free themselves of American pressure.
Now, however, according to Western intelligence
sources, Assad told his son to "eliminate the drug
problem in Lebanon."

Under Basal's command, the Syrian troops and
Lebanese policemen raided the drug fields of the
Beka region, engaging in a thorough and systematic
destruction of drug crops. However, a year after
this campaign began, Basal who had been earmarked
by President Assad as his successor was killed in
a mysterious road accident. Basal was driving his
Mercedes on the way to the Damascus airport in the
early morning before dawn, when he suddenly
swerved off the road. His car overturned and he
was killed.

Intelligence information reaching the West
recently has suggested that Basal's road accident
was actually a well-planned assassination ordered
by Lebanese drug dealers as revenge against Basal
(and as a warning to his father) for being
over-zealous in their destruction of the Lebanese
drug harvest.

Not only did Assad lose his beloved son, but Syria
lost a charismatic and gifted successor who would
one day have taken his place in the presidential

From 1993, the Syrians and the Lebanese
authorities have engaged in the genuine
destruction of much of the drug harvest, and have
also severely limited the areas where new harvests
may be grown. The American administration has
responded in kind, awarding both countries
substantial compensation (most of which will
probably never reach the growers). Spokespeople
for the American administration have sung the
praises of the anti-drug campaign on every
possible platform. Despite all this, Syria and
Lebanon have still not been removed from the State
Department's list of drug exporters, since drug
purification in the Beka region continues as in
the past, and has even expanded. The Lebanese drug
industry has simply shifted from an emphasis on
the "agricultural production" of poppies and
cannabis to "industrial manufacture" concentrating
on the purification of drugs from heroin and
cocaine bases imported from Asia and South

Dozens of laboratories are active in Lebanon,
including full-scale industrial facilities as well
as mobile home-based installations (located in
strongly Shiite regions under the total control of

Interpol, for example, has stated that Lebanon is
a world center for the storage and marketing of a
chemical substance known as "acetyanhydride" a
vital component in the purification of heroin.
Lebanon's proximity to the European Union, and its
location in the center of the Asian drug trade are
additional advantages that make the country an
attractive base for processing and exporting the
finished drugs to consumers in Europe, the U.S.,
Canada and Australia.

This advantage even applies in the case of
cocaine, which originates in South American
countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.
An intelligence source in the Israel Police states
that a kilogram of heroin base (prior to
purification) in the Beka region cost $8,000 -
10,000 last year. The price of a kilogram of
purified heroin in Lebanon during the same period
was $20,000, and the price of the same kilogram on
the security fence when it is smuggled to Israel
was in the range $25,000 - 35,000.
American sources estimate that during 1996 Lebanon
exported approximately 60 tons of heroin and 100
tons of marijuana, with a total value of more than
$12 billion. It is reasonable to assume that the
Syrians pocketed a significant percentage of this
sum, probably more than $1 billion.

Hizbullah has pocketed a more modest amount
between several tens of millions of dollars and up
to $200 million a year. The Islamic organization's
involvement in drugs began immediately after its
establishment toward the end of the Lebanese war
in 1982 as an Iranian initiative to oppose the
Israeli occupation. Since most of the drug-
growing areas in the Beka region of Lebanon are
populated entirely by Shiite Muslims, the
Hizbullah rapidly became the main armed militia in
these areas. Entire families, among the most
respected and important in the movement, are
associated with, and sometimes involved almost
directly in all stages of production,
transportation and marketing of drugs in the Beka
and southern Lebanon (particularly Nabatiya).

However, Hizbullah sees itself primarily as a
social and political organization, not as an armed
militia. Accordingly, and unlike the Syrians, it
does not demand protection money (or it does so
only on a limited scale). Hizbullah receives its
share of the drugs profits mainly through
membership fees and donations from dealers, or
from direct marketing. These two sources alone are
enough to fund the health, education, religious
and social services Hizbullah provides to the
Shiite population of Lebanon. These activities
which, in the southern neighborhoods of Beirut
(the Dahaya) and in the Balbek region effectively
replace the Lebanese government give Hizbullah its
political power base.

But it does not end here. Hizbullah has also
recently become the political representative of
the marijuana and opium producers of the Beka
region, whose activities have been hampered by the
Syrians and the Lebanese government. The leading
spokesman for the growers, who claim that they
have been deprived of their source of income and
are not receiving the compensation from the U.S.
or any other proper compensation, is none other
than the former secretary of Hizbullah, Sheikh

Tufaili's militant stance in favor of the
resumption of the large-scale growth of opium and
cannabis in the Beka region is reported every day
in the Lebanese press. Only the day before
yesterday, Tufaili announced the "Rebellion of the
Hungry" the expansion of drug growing and
production in Lebanon and the refusal to pay
attention to any restrictions. Recently reports
even reached the West that growers have been
encouraged by Tufaili and have received armed
protection from Hizbullah in recommencing their
cannabis and opium crops in large areas of the
northern Beka, in the Harmal region.

It is also known that disagreements emerged
between Tufaili and Hassan Nasrullah, who replaced
him as secretary of Hizbullah. These serious
disagreements almost caused a split in the
movement. Intelligence reports reaching the West
suggest that these disagreements were not
ideological or personal, but concerned the
Lebanese drug business that Tufaili sought to
promote despite the wrath of the Syrians and the
Hariri government, in order to promote the
interests of the Shiite farmers. Nasrullah a more
cautious and moderate figure saw the drug business
mainly as an ideological weapon in the war against
Israel and the West.

This aspect of the Hizbullah's drug activities
i.e. the movement's use of the business and its
commercial infrastructure as a weapon in its
ideological war against the "Great Satan" (the
U.S.) and the "Small Satan"
(Israel), has been almost completely ignored in
the media. The use of hard drugs is likely
prohibited by the Koran, and drug trafficking must
also be considered a sin. Accordingly, the leaders
of the political and military wing of Hizbullah
made sure at an early stage that a religious
"edict" was received, in the form of a Fatwa from
religious leaders permitting the marketing and
distribution of drugs in Israel and in the West in
general. The express goal of this policy was to
weaken resistance and encourage rapid social
degeneration in these countries.

Further evidence of this objective can be found in
ideological publications and material disseminated
by Hizbullah. It is not known which religious
authorities published the permit allowing the
distribution of drugs as an ideological weapon,
but all the evidence suggests that they are
Iranian Ayatollahs rather than Lebanese religious

Iranian influence can also be seen in another
aspect of the ideological weapon used by
Hizbullah, and one that has hardly been mentioned
until now: The counterfeiting of U.S. dollars and
European currencies intended to disrupt Western
economies by impairing international trade and
tourism. These activities are also centered in the
Beka region of Lebanon, in Balbek and Barital.
"This is high-quality counterfeiting," stated a
recent report prepared by a Western intelligence
agency for American decision makers. "It may
reasonably be assumed that American machines for
making bills sold and transferred to Iran in the
past have reached the Beka region, and that the
Iranians are involved in the counterfeiting

It has emerged that Hizbullah directly runs a
large printing center in the town of Barital (in
the drug purification area) producing large
quantities of $100 bills, as well as German marks,
and French and Swiss francs.

The Americans are very concerned by this
development, and have been trying to halt the
counterfeiting campaign for five years. They even
established a special branch of the Secret Service
the section of the U.S. Treasury responsible for
defending the national currency with the objective
of fighting this phenomenon. A delegation of the
American administration visited Israel in
connection with the campaign, but to date no real
results have been achieved.

At 11/23/2005 07:08:00 AM, Blogger death penalty said...

In Lebanon and Syria, drug trafficking and even
the extortion of protection money are considered
not only a profitable business, but also one that
brings honor to the individuals and families
involved in this trade. The stigma attached to
drug traders in the West becomes a status symbol
and source of pride in the Levant.

Some of the most respected families in Lebanon,
all of whose children are declared and well-known
Hizbullah supporters, such as the Abdullah family
from Nabatiya, the Hamiya, Shams, Za'itar and
other families, are involved in the drug trade and
dutifully pay their tithes to the Islamic
organization. This practice is not confined to
Hizbullah, however. Every ethnic community in
Lebanon has highly respected representatives in
the drug industry: for example, the Maronite
Christian families Franjiya and Jumail, and the
Druze Jumblatt family. Even the Palestinian
faction led by Abu Nidal has its own drug
purification plants that provide a useful income.
It is no surprise, then, that the founding
generation of the Syrian- Lebanese drug industry
and protection racket have raised a younger
generation following in their parents' footsteps.

Firstly, one might mention Rawi Harari, the son of
the Lebanese president, who is an international
drug dealer. The list also includes Fars and Darir
Al-Assad, the two sons of Rifat Assad (brother of
the Syrian president), who combine drug trading in
Europe with the marketing of stolen cars and
weapons. Far more impressive in his activities is
Muntazar Al-Kazar, a close associate of the
president, whose father was involved in the drug
trade when he served as an ambassador. Muntazar
himself (currently in jail in Spain) has become a
legend in his own life in the fields of drug
trafficking, weapons dealing and involvement in

Not all the younger generation have been so
successful. Ali Duba, for example, the head of
Syrian military intelligence who was described by
an American Congress report as "responsible for
inventing the organized protection racket for
Lebanese drug dealers" was bitterly disappointed
when one of his sons became a drug addict. His son
was hospitalized on a remote farm in northeast
Syria, but the shame and sorrow have cast a shadow
over the family.


At 11/23/2005 07:13:00 AM, Blogger death penalty said...


At 11/23/2005 09:05:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

All I want.. is to be able to breathe, I just... when I have my asthma fit, I wanna be able to open the window and actually BREATHE!! I wanna breathe...I don't wanna be afraid to show how much I love this land!! IS THAT TOO FUCKING MUCH TO ASK?!!!!

At 11/23/2005 10:57:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

This is a good reading ..
بقلم: محمد علي الأتاسي *
أخبار الشرق - 22 تشرين الثاني 2005
منذ عدة شهور تحاول السلطة السياسية السورية، في سعيها الحثيث لمواجهة الضغوط المتزايدة عليها، أن تظهر للعالم ‏ولشعبها ولنفسها مدى تلاحم المواطنين السوريين معها في المحنة التي تعيشها بعد اغتيال الرئيس الحريري وانسحابها ‏من لبنان. وهي إذ تفعل ذلك، تحاول أن تبتعد ولو شكلياً عن أساليبها الماضية في حشد وتعبئة الناس على الطريقة ‏السوفييتية، وتدفع باتجاه إظهار التضامن الشعبي المفترض معها وكأنه نابع من المجتمع المدني وقائم بملء إرادته. ‏ومن أجل تحقيق ذلك، فإنها تستحضر على طريقتها الكثير من أساليب الحشد والاحتجاج والتواصل الإعلامي التي لجأ ‏إليها متظاهرو 14 آذار اللبنانيون في مطالبتهم بانسحاب الجيش السوري وبكشف الحقيقة في جريمة اغتيال الرئيس ‏رفيق الحريري. والنسخة السلطوية السورية لتحركات 14 آذار اللبنانية تبدأ من التلطي وراء ما يسمونه مبادرات ‏المنظمات الأهلية المستقلة لمساندة الحكومة، فمن التلويح بالأعلام السورية في كل مرة يلقي فيها الرئيس السوري ‏خطاباً عاماً، إلى المظاهرات التي يحاول النظام جاهداً إظهار "عفويتها"، إلى اللافتات المرفوعة باللغة الإنكليزية، ‏إلى شاشات الفيديو العملاقة في الأمكنة العامة، إلى الاعتصام أمام مقر الأمم المتحدة، إلى خيمة الاعتصام الشبابية ‏التي تم نصبها في ساحة الروضة في قلب حي السفارات في دمشق، إلى استخدام رسائل البريد الإلكتروني والـ ‏SMS‏ ‏للاتصال بالهواتف المحمولة، إلى شراء لوحات الإعلانات التجارية، إلى دعوة المواطنين السوريين إلى إظهار ‏التضامن مع محنة بلدهم من خلال رفع العلم السوري على شرفات المنازل وهوائيات السيارات. لا بل إن محاكاة ‏‏14 آذار اللبناني وصلت إلى حد استعادة الأساليب والمقولات العنصرية والشعبوية التي انزلق إليها بعض من ‏متظاهري 14 آذار، ولكن هذه المرة من أجل استخدامها بالاتجاه المعاكس ضد الشعب اللبناني.
‏إن السلطة في إدارتها للعبة من وراء الكواليس تحاول أن توحي للعالم وللمجتمع السوري ولبعض المترددين في ‏دوائرها الضيقة أن الشعب السوري يلتف بأكمله من حولها، أو هو على الأقل ينفذ ما يطلب منه ويظهر علناً ما ‏تنتظره منه بمعزل عن ما يبطنه حقيقة في داخله. ولسان حال السلطة في هذا المجال هو لسان حال فردريك الكبير في ‏قوله إنه "لا يعبأ بما يظنه رعاياه ما داموا يقومون بما يأمرهم به". فليس يعني السلطة حقيقة ما يختلج في صدور ‏مواطنيها من مشاعر ومواقف معادية تجاهها. المهم بالنسبة إليها هو أن تظل قادرة على أن تفرض على مواطنيها ‏إظهار وتقديم فروض الطاعة والولاء والتبجيل لسياسات النظام ورموزه، بمعزل عن حقيقة ما تبطنه نفوسهم من ‏مواقف وآراء مغايرة. لكن هل نجحت السلطة حقاً في سياستها هذه، وهل استطاعت فعلاً امتصاص صدمة انسحابها ‏من لبنان؟
احذروا التقليد!‏
قد يكون من بين الداعين إلى هذه التحركات "الشعبية" السورية ومن بين المشاركين فيها؛ من هو مؤمن بمصداقيتها ‏وخائف فعلاً على مصير بلده ومستعد لفعل أي شي من أجل إنقاذه وتجنيبه المخاطر الحقيقية أو المزعومة التي لا ‏ينفك رجالات النظام يرددونها على مسامعه صبح مساء من مثل "الجزأرة" أو "الفوضى" أو "الحرب الأهلية" أو ‏‏"الخطر الإسلامي" أو "النموذج العراقي". لكن فعل أي شيء لإظهار الحرص على البلد والخوف على مصيره لا ‏يعني بالتأكيد القبول بالانزلاق إلى المشاركة في مثل هذه التحركات المصطنعة التي يريد البعض من خلالها إظهار ‏‏"وحدة القيادة والشعب"‏،‎ ‎في حين أنها لا تتعدى كونها رجع صدى باهت ومشوه للمظاهرات الشعبية المعارضة أو ‏حتى المؤيدة لسورية في لبنان، وذلك لعدة أسباب نكتفي بذكر بعض منها: ‏
أولاً، اللبنانيون تظاهروا تحت وقع صدمة قتل الرئيس الحريري ورفضاً لمنطق الاغتيال السياسي ومطالبةً بالكشف ‏عن القاتل، ولم يتظاهروا، كما تريد السلطة السورية لمواطنيها أن يفعلوا، رفضاً لتحقيق لجنة ميليس الدولية مع شهود ‏ومشتبه بهم من ضباط المخابرات السورية.
ثانياً، مظاهرة 14 آذار في لبنان أتت في سياق ديناميكية داخلية من الصراعات السياسية وتوازنات القوى تمكنت فيها ‏كل التيارات السياسية اللبنانية، المؤيدة أو المعارضة للنظام السوري، من التعبير عن نفسها في الشارع، بدءاً من ‏تحرك الطلاب ومروراً بمظاهرة المليون ووصولاً إلى جنازة الحريري واعتصامات ساحة الشهداء ومن ثم مظاهرة ‏‏8 آذار وأخيراً مظاهرة 14 آذار، في حين أن قوى المعارضة السورية غير مسموح لها حتى الآن بعقد الاجتماعات ‏في الغرف المغلقة فكيف السماح لها بتنظيم مظاهرات مضادة لما تشهده العاصمة السورية اليوم من مهرجانات التأييد ‏والولاء؟!
‏ ثالثاً، مشهدية رفع العلم اللبناني في المظاهرات والتلويح به أمام عدسات الكاميرات التلفزيونية لإظهار توحد الشعب ‏اللبناني بطوائفه وتكويناته كافة من حول هذا الرمز الوطني؛ لم تأت من فراغ ولم تهبط فجأة من السماء ولم يهمس بها ‏ضباط المخابرات، بل احتاج الوصول إليها عدة أيام من التظاهر في ساحة الشهداء بأعلام متعارضة، وتبعها مطالب ‏وترجي من القيادات السياسية اللبنانية للمتظاهرين بتياراتهم المختلفة لوضع الأعلام الحزبية جانباً ورفع العلم الوطني ‏بدلاً عنها. أما في سورية فإنه لا أعلام حزبية ولا من هم يحزنون، ولا إمكانية للتظاهر الحر ولا وسائل إعلام مستقلة ‏لنقل المشهد تلفزيونياً، ولا تيارات سياسية متمايزة تريد أن تلتقي في الشارع من حول رمز وطني يتجاوز انقساماتها. ‏وكل ما في الأمر أن هناك سلطة سياسية وأمنية في مأزق تحاول تناسي ما تعرضت له في لبنان بدفعها مواطنيها ‏للتظاهر حاملين علمهم الوطني بيد وصور قيادتهم باليد الأخرى.
رابعاً، هناك خيمة الاعتصام المفتوح التي تم نصبها مؤخراً بحماية الشرطة في قلب حي السفارات في ساحة الروضة ‏بدمشق للاحتجاج على القرار الدولي 1636 وذلك بدعوة من جمعية تسمي نفسها "الجمعية السورية للعلاقات ‏العامة"، انضم إليها لاحقاً من يسميهم الإعلام الرسمي السوري بـ"فعاليات اجتماعية وهيئات أهلية وطلابية". وهذه ‏الخيمة، التي لم تتوقف بحسب الصحف السورية عن استقبال الوفود المؤيدة للقيادة السورية والمباركة لهذه المبادرة، ‏ما هي إلا تكرار كئيب وفاشل لخيم الشباب اللبناني التي نصبت في ساحة الشهداء في بيروت؛ منعاً لاحتلال الساحة من ‏قبل القوى الأمنية ولتحقيق مطالب سياسية واضحة.‏
رأفة بالمعاقين‏:
نحن لن نسأل هنا لماذا لا يحق للمواطنين السوريين نصب خيمة في دمشق أو في غيرها من المدن السورية ‏للاحتجاج بسلام على إغلاق منتدى الأتاسي أو للمطالبة بالإفراج عن رياض سيف أو عارف دليلة أو غيرهم من ‏المعتقلين السياسيين؟ فجواب هذا السؤال معروف سلفاً في دولة الحزب الواحد والرأي الواحد، لكننا نريد أن نسأل ‏بالصوت العالي والصريح: ما ذنب المعاقين ذهنياً وما ذنب الأطفال السوريين المصابين بالشلل الدماغي لإقحامهم في ‏أحاجي تقرير ميليس وفي حملة التضامن مع النظام السوري؟ وألا يكفي محاولة إشراك الشعب السوري بشيبه ‏وشبانه، ونسائه وأطفاله في تقديم فروض الطاعة والولاء، حتى يتم الاستعانة بالأطفال المصابين بالشلل الدماغي ‏لحمل الأعلام الوطنية والمشاركة في خيمة الاعتصام.
ولمن لا يصدق هذه الفاجعة، والأمر صراحة عصي على التصديق ولم يخطر حتى ببال أعتى الأنظمة الستالينية، ‏إليكم الخبر بنصه الكامل كما أوردته وكالة الأنباء السورية "سانا" بتاريخ 14/11/2005:
‏"اعتصم أطفال معهد النور للشلل الدماغى ومعهد التأهيل المهنى للمعاقين ذهنياً وعدد من الفعاليات الأخرى اليوم في ‏خيمة الاعتصام في ساحة الروضة بدمشق احتجاجاً على الضغوط والتهديدات التي تتعرض لها سورية، وحمل ‏الأطفال العلم الوطني واللافتات المعبرة عن صمود سورية في مواجهة هذه الضغوطات".‏
‏والحقيقة أن المصاب بالشلل الدماغي وبالقصور العقلي هو من خول لنفسه العبث ببرأة هؤلاء المعاقين لأغراض ‏سياسية ومن صاغ هذا الخبر ونشره في وكالة الأنباء السورية "سانا".
رأفة بالسجناء:
وتأكيداً على أن ما وقع بحق الأطفال المعاقين ذهنياً ليس بالحادث المنعزل، إنما هو جزء من منظومة في التفكير ‏والتعاطي مع الناس كرعايا أتباع لا كمواطنين أحرار، فقد قامت وكالة "سانا" للأنباء في ذات اليوم بنشر خبر آخر، ‏نقلاً عن ما تسميه "جمعية رعاية المساجين وأسرهم بدمشق"، تفيد فيه بأن حوالي 90 في المائة من سجناء سجن دمشق ‏المركزي سيضربون عن الطعام لمدة ثلاثة أيام اعتباراً من اليوم الاثنين احتجاجاً على الضغوط التي تتعرض لها ‏سورية.‏ وأضافت "سانا" إن السجناء استنكروا في رسالة سلمتها الجمعية إلى ممثل الأمم المتحدة بدمشق "الضغوط ‏والتهديدات الخارجية ضد سورية والمبنية على اتهامات باطلة "، وشجبت الرسالة، بحسب وكالة الأنباء السورية، ‏‏"تقرير لجنة التحقيق الدولية في اغتيال رئيس وزراء لبنان الأسبق رفيق الحريري وإعراضها عن جميع الأدلة ‏الحسية وبحثها عن أدلة واهية وملفقة لاتهام سورية والمس بسيادتها لإخضاعها لإملاءات إسرائيل".
طبعاً نحن لن نسأل هنا لا وكالة "سانا" للأنباء ولا من تسمي نفسها "جمعية رعاية المساجين وأسرهم" لماذا الاكتفاء ‏فقط برقم 90 في المائة من السجناء وليس رقم 100 في المائة كما عودتنا الأرقام الحكومية كلما تعلق الأمر بتأييد السلطة ‏ومساندتها! ولكننا نريد أن نسأل: ألم يجد من تنطح لفكرة جلب تأييد السجناء السوريين في هذه المناسبة، وسيلة أرحم ‏من الإضراب عن الطعام وأكثر إنسانية بحق هؤلاء المحرومين داخل السجون ليس فقط من الحرية، ولكن أيضاً من ‏الطعام المنزلي؟
مأزق النظام:
إن الاستعانة بالأطفال المصابين بالشلل الدماغي وبالمعاقين ذهنياً وبالسجناء السوريين من أجل المشاركة بطقوس ‏الولاء والطاعة والتأييد للسلطة السورية؛ إذا دل على شيء فعلى أن المنظومة القمعية السورية هي اليوم في مأزق ‏حقيقي.
‏لقد تم الاشتغال على هذه المنظومة القمعية على مدى سنيين طويلة لتكريس مبدأ أن الدولة ورموزها فوق المجتمع، ‏أو كما تقول الباحثة ليزا ويدن: النخبة المقدسة والسكان الزمنيين. ومن أجل الوصول إلى ذلك كان لا بد أن تُفرض ‏السلطة الإذعان والطاعة على الناس من طريق الترهيب والترغيب. أما السلاح الأمضى في تحقيق ذلك فهو أجهزتها ‏الأمنية وسجونها للمعارضين، والمكاسب والمغانم للموالين‎.‎‏ فهذه المنظومة القائمة على تقديس السلطة، وتعميم ‏الخطاب الإيديولوجي الأوحد وجعل الولاء والتبعية هما القاسمان المشتركان في الحياة السياسية، ما كان يمكن لها أن ‏تعمل وتستمر لولا الخوف.
لكن جدار الخوف هذا بدأ في السينين الأخيرة ينزاح شيئاً فشيئاً عن كاهل الإنسان السوري بفعل التطورات الدولية ‏والإقليمية والداخلية، ونتيجة كسر احتكار السلطة للخطاب الإعلامي الواصل إلى بيوت الناس، وبسبب جرأة بعض ‏المنشقين السوريين.
الوضع الداخلي السوري يتغير بسرعة والخوف المعمم لم يعد يخيف الجميع. وإذا كنا لم نصل بعد إلى وضع يصبح ‏فيه المجتمع السوري قادر على أخذ زمام المبادرة واستعادة دوره الكامل في اللعبة السياسية، فإن مصادرة السلطة ‏المستديمة لهذا المجتمع باتت هي الأخرى في مأزق حقيقي. وليس أدل على ذلك من فشلها في حشد الجموع المرجوة ‏من المواطنين لإظهار ولائهم الشكلي لها، واضطرارها إلى الاستعانة بالسجناء والمعاقين ذهنياً. لقد تغير العالم ‏وتغيرت سورية وتغير شعبها، لكن السلطة لا تزال عصية على التغيير، عدا أن من يرفض أن يتلاءم مع الحياة، لا ‏تلبث الحياة أن تلائمه مع منطقها. إن سورية على موعد مع الحرية وغداً لناظره لقريب.
* كاتب سوري - دمشق

At 11/23/2005 11:02:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

Landis.. You know who is David Duke and what kind of values he represent.. If I were you, I would be very shameful to even try to defend the Assad's .. It will not look good in your resume !!
Read below:

David Duke in Damascus to express solidarity with Syria
Syria-USA, Politics, 11/22/2005

Former US Louisiana Representative David Duke on Monday expresses solidarity with Syria in face of the pressures and threats against the country.

Duke told a news conference at the 'Nation's Tent' at Rawda Square in Damascus that "I have come to Syria to express my support to the Syrian people and their just's the duty of every free man to reject the conspiracies and threats Syria is exposed to."

He added that the pro-Israel neoconservatives in the US have influence on their country's foreign policy and have been working behind the scenes through their mass media in the US to hide "the reality of Israeli terrorism against the Arabs."

On the war on Iraq, the former US Senator said the war has created a crisis in the world, adding that those who advised the American administration to go into this war have been working to widen the scope of the crisis to spread it to other countries in the region.

Former Representative Duke said Iraq war cost the US 300 billion dollars, more than 2000 dead, and between 20,000 to 30,000 wounded, pushed America into a real crisis and raised hatred against its foreign policy in the world.

He added that Israel has been practicing state terrorism against the Arabs, and the American people know this reality which "Zionist-controlled mass media seek to distort."

Duke questioned why nobody has so far talked about the Israeli mass destruction weapons and its violation of more than 50 UN resolutions while it continues to occupy Arab territories and increase the number of its settlements in the West Bank. He added that Iraq was invaded under false allegations, that the country had WMD which never existed.

Duke expressed appreciation of Syria under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, saying he would do his bets to convey "the real peace-loving Syrian" stances to peoples across the world.

The news conference was attended by President of the World Charity Fund for Cooperation and Tolerance Among Religion and member of the Russian Union of Writers Valerie Borokhova, Professor of the Diplomatic Relations at the Academy of politics in Moscow, Director General of Islamic Furqan in Moscow Mohammad al-Rashid, several members of the Syrian Parliament and Arab and foreign correspondents.

At 11/23/2005 12:11:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Landis biggest worry is not how to hide his Assad Baathist regime support from his resume, but how to hide all that cash he is getting from Uncle Sam. That would be the worry of KKK's Duke too.

At 11/23/2005 01:15:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"Both governments support Imad Allawi for the same strategic reasons. Both Syria and the US want a stable, unified, and secular Iraq. Both have an interest in limiting the role of Iran in Iraq."

I am dubious about the stable part, but I talked about a split between Syria and Iran on one of my early posts. Syria has left Lebanon and Iran doesn't need Syria anymore for its relation with Hezbollah. The only thing that keep Syria and Iran together is the US pressure.

At 11/23/2005 01:19:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Death penalty, do you have any element that support your accusations concerning Amine Gemayel? And Hariri was never in the drug business.

At 11/23/2005 01:53:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

Why a smart person with a very open minded like Mr Landis is blinded from the facts on the Ground. Mr landis will be in good position supporting the truth. One thing Mr Landis can do and it will for sure payoff in the near future is to arrange for some Syrians to study and learn about Democratic reform process with NGO and think tanks in the US and other European countries. Or maybe request the Help of the UN to establish a program for Democratic reform process. I do have too much respect for Mr. Landis for a long time. I hope one day we can meet face to face and exchange idea's

At 11/23/2005 02:27:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

We have none whatsoever.

At 11/23/2005 04:22:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

A report by the "Oxford Research Group" entitled Iraq and the war on Terror has just been published. Its main conclusions are worth mentioning:
1- The war in Iraq is in its "early stages".
2- Given that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are seeking to achieve their aims over a period of decades rather than years, the probability is that, short of a major political change in the USA, the Iraq was might well be measured over a similar time span
3- The occupation of Iraq since the US-led invasion was proving to be a "gift" to the Al-Qaeda movement which succesfully presented the occupation as a neo-Christian occupation of a major islamic state.
4- Assuring Iraq's security and the presence of a friendly government in the country was an essential part of the American security policy even if it required a permanent US military presense, the report noted, adding that would allow the US, which is becoming increasingly dependent on imported oil long-term access to Iraq's crude supplies.
5- A US withdrawl would be a "foreign policy disaster greater than the retreat from Vietnam.
6- Al-Qaeda movement would gain strength from this very occupation.

On a different note, unidentified senior military officers told the Washingtonm Post that the defense dept. plans to cut the number of troops by three brigades from 18 now. The pentago will keep at least one of the brigades "on call" in Kuwait in case more forces are needed quickly. Pulling troops out too quickly would destabilize Iraq and be used as a propaganda tool by rebels, it was added.

One hope that people can now appreciate the very high probability that the US troops will be around for longer than the conventional thinking by some of the people commenting on this post.

At 11/23/2005 04:31:00 PM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/23/2005 04:35:00 PM, Blogger Abu Arab said...
قيل في تقريظ إعلان دمشق الصادر في 16/10/2005 الكثير، فقد وصف من قبل المتحمسين له على أنه "حدث في غاية الأهمية" وأنه "خطوة متقدمة نحو فرز القوى حول مشروع التغيير السياسي" وأنه "خطوة هامة متقدمة" وتحمس له أحد الموقعين عليه من لجان المجتمع المدني بوصفه "دليل عمل".

وهذا ما يذكرنا بالأدبيات الماركسية في عصر الثورات الكبرى وبالأخص في أميركا اللاتينية، حين أصبحت كتابات الثائر البوليفي تشي غيفارا والمفكر الفرنسي ريجيس دوبريه الذي يصفه أدوارد سعيد بأنه "متعدد البراعات ومبدع"، وبالأخص كتابه "ثورة في الثورة" بمثابة دليل نظري وعملي للأحزاب والحركات المسلحة في جميع دول العالم. وهذا ما اعترف به دوبريه بعد أكثر من عقدين من الزمن.

الدعوة إلى إزالة كلمة العربية من "الجمهورية العربية السورية" بضغط من قوى راديكالية كردية باتت هي القاسم لأغلب التظاهرات والندوات التي تعيشها دمشق
ووصف أحد الليبراليين العرب ممن يحملون شحنة ليبرالية زائدة هذا الإعلان بأنه "إعلان دمشق المبارك " وأنه" خطوة ضرورية نوعية"، وقالت الصحافة العالمية إنه شاهد "على أن المعارضة السورية بدأت تتوحد" وإنه شاهد على "أن المعارضة بدأت تنضج".... إلخ.

كل هذه الشهادات تأتي على الرغم من بعض الاعتراضات عليه من قبل أحزاب في الداخل احتجت على "طرحه الطائفي" عندما اعتبر أن "الإسلام هو دين الأكثرية" وعندما أغفل البعد القومي للقضية الكردية في سوريا.

هذا ما رأته بعض الأحزاب الكردية الراديكالية التي ترى أن مطالب الأكراد هي مطالب قومية قبل أن تكون مطالب إنسانية تتعلق بالمواطنة والحريات العامة، فالأكراد هم القومية الثانية في سوريا بعد العرب كما تقول بيانات هذه الأحزاب.

لن ألفت النظر في هذه المقالة إلى ما يقوله الإعلان ويطالب به من حريات عامة وإلغاء لقانون الطوارئ وضرورة "إقامة النظام الوطني الديمقراطي باعتباره المدخل الأساسي في مشروع التغيير والإصلاح السياسي"، ومن "اعتماد الديمقراطية كنظام حديث".. إلخ، فهذه باتت أيضا من البديهيات في برامج أحزاب المعارضة وأدلة عملها المأخوذة بما سمّاه محمد عابد الجابري "سحر القول في الديمقراطية" السحر الذي يجعل من الديمقراطية كما هو الحال في الحالة العراقية، كلمة حق يراد بها باطل.

لنقل بموازاة ذلك، كلمة حق يراد بها تأبيد التاريخ والوقوف عند مستوى الأقلية القومية أو مستوى الطائفة المذهبية، الذي يتزامن مع كثرة الحديث عن الفسيفساء التاريخية التي تكون نسيج المجتمع السوري الذي يمثل بدوره استعادة لخطاب استشراقي عفا عليه الدهر.

والدعوة إلى إزالة كلمة العربية من "الجمهورية العربية السورية" بضغط من قوى راديكالية كردية باتت هي القاسم لأغلب التظاهرات والندوات التي تعيشها دمشق.

وهذا ما دفع أحد أبرز قياديي المعارضة في سوريا إلى سؤال استنكاري يعيب فيه على المعارضة المأخوذة حتى لبابها بنظرية الفسيفساء الاستشراقية المنشأ: كم أمة توجد في سوريا؟ فالأكراد يطالبون كما أسلفت بأن يكونوا هم القومية الثانية في سوريا، والآشوريون يؤكدون في بيانهم الصادر عقب إعلان دمشق الذي يذكرون فيه بعض "النقاط الإيجابية" للإعلان على "ضرورة الإشارة إلى الدين المسيحي باعتباره دين سوريا قبل الإسلام".

لا نستغرب في السياق الذي يسمع فيه حديث عن حنين فرنسي إلى لعب دور الوصاية، أن يرى البعض في سوريا مشروعا تقسيميا إلى أربع دويلات أو خمس على غرار ما كانت عليه في مرحلة الانتداب الفرنسي
وقد لا نستغرب في هذا السياق الذي يسمع فيه حديث عن حنين فرنسي إلى لعب دور الوصاية، أن يرى البعض في سوريا مشروعا تقسيميا إلى أربع دويلات أو خمس على غرار ما كانت عليه في مرحلة الانتداب الفرنسي؟

يستهل الإعلان بالقول: "تتعرض سوريا اليوم لأخطار لم تشهدها من قبل نتيجة السياسيات التي سلكها النظام، ولذلك فإن المطلوب هو تعبئة جميع طاقات سوريا الوطن والشعب، في مهمة تغيير إنقاذية، تخرج البلاد من صيغة الدولة الأمنية التي صادرت البلاد والعباد إلى صيغة الدولة السياسية لأن اللحظة الراهنة تتطلب موقفا وطنيا شجاعا ومسؤولا".

يسكت الإعلان عن "اللحظة الراهنة" فلا يقول لنا ما هي طبيعتها ولا في أي أفق تندرج، هل تندرج في إطار الهجمة الإمبريالية على الوطن العربي حيث غاب هذا المفهوم عن الإعلان ليحل محله مفهوم "المنظومة العربية" وكأن سوريا دولة من دول البحر الكاريبي كما علّق أحدهم؟

وهل تندرج هذه "اللحظة الراهنة" في إطار الهجمة الأميركية على العراق وسوريا وفلسطين بالأخص أم لا؟ وما علاقة هذه "اللحظة الراهنة" بمساعي الإدارة الأميركية إلى إعادة صياغة الشرق الأوسط الجديد الذي بشّر به منذ سنوات شمعون بيريز في كتابه الذي يحمل هذا العنوان؟

الإعلان يسكت عن كل ذلك، وعلى ما يبدو فقد خانته الشجاعة هنا مع أن مزاعمه تقول غير ذلك، حتى عندما تحدث عن "تحرير الأراضي المحتلة واستعادة الجولان" لم يأت على ذكر إسرائيل ولم يسمها.

وغاب عنه مصطلح "الكيان الصهيوني" السائد في الأدبيات السورية حيث يأسف المرحوم أدوارد سعيد على غياب هذا المصطلح عن الأدبيات السياسية العربية، ولم يذكر اسم أميركا، أحرى أن يذكرها بسوء، ولم يتحدث عن هجمتها الإمبريالية العالمية، وكأن البيان يستبطن موقفا تصالحياً مع إسرائيل التي يسميها أحد البيانات الموازية للإعلان بدولة من دول الجوار الجغرافي.

وأعود لأتساءل: لماذا يسكت البيان عن ذكر أميركا وإسرائيل وعن الدور التخريبي للنظام الإمبريالي على صعيد عالمي؟ فأين ذهبت كل أدبيات اليسار العربي والكردي من الموقعين على الإعلان، تلك الأدبيات التي كانت تندد بالإمبريالية الأميركية على مدى عقود من الزمن؟ كذلك أين ذهبت أدبيات التنمية التي تعزي التخلف والتراجع على صعيد عالمي للدور التخريبي للنظام الرأسمالي العالمي؟

هل يندرج هذا المسكوت عنه في إطار الغفلة السياسية أم يكتفي الإعلان بهاجس استبداد النظام السوري الذي طال عهده وتباطؤه في الإصلاح كما اعترف الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد في خطابه التاريخي على مدرج جامعة دمشق بتاريخ 10/11/2005؟

أم أنه يحابي أميركا وإسرائيل ليكون للطرفين نوايا طيبة في حال وصوله إلى السلطة كما هو الحال في النموذج العراقي الذي بات أنموذجا يحتذى؟

الاستبداد السياسي يعمي البصيرة وكثيرا ما يدفع إلى ما سمّاه أحدهم "فقه النكاية السياسي" أي الوقوف ضد النظام ومع أعدائه نكاية به كما جرى في الحالة العراقية، فيتشبث المعارضون بالديمقراطية الأميركية ضد الاستبداد في الداخل فلا يحصدون سوى الريح
أم أنه يجامل القوى الكردية الموقعة على البيان، خاصة أن نصف الموقعين هم من الأكراد الذي يرون في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية قوة تحرير لا دولة استعمارية كما عبّرت عن ذلك التظاهرات التي عاشتها مدينة القامشلي في العامين المنصرمين حين قادتها تلك الأحزاب التي حيت فيها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والرئيس بوش باعتباره أبا الحرية "أبو آزاد" كما جاء في الهتافات وتعني أبو الحرية كما أسلفت؟.

يبدو لي أن الاستبداد السياسي يعمي البصيرة وأنه كثيرا ما يدفع إلى ما سمّاه أحدهم "فقه النكاية السياسي"، أي الوقوف ضد النظام ومع أعدائه نكاية به، كما جرى في الحالة العراقية، فيتشبث المعارضون للنظام بالديمقراطية الأميركية ضد الاستبداد في الداخل فلا يحصدون سوى الريح.

لا بل إهم يجعلون من الاستبداد ذريعة للهجوم على البلد، فيصبحون جزءا من الأجندة الأميركية عن نية سيئة أو نية حسنة، وعلى ما يبدو فإن جهنم الأميركية مبطنة بأصحاب النوايا الحسنة من الليبراليين العرب والمثقفين معا، والشواهد على ذلك كثيرة.

وسآتي بمثال، فأثناء حضورنا "مؤتمر الإصلاح والديمقراطية في العالم العربي" (الدوحة 3ـ4 يونيو 2004) الذي حضره جمع غفير من المثقفين والأكاديميين والسياسيين، تحمس الليبراليون العراقيون والعرب للقول في مسودة البيان الختامي إن استبداد النظام العراقي هو الذي قاد إلى الاحتلال.

قوبلت المسودة باعتراضات لا حدود لها من المؤتمرين أدت إلى تغييرها بعد أن نوقشت فقرة فقرة، خاصة وأن كتاب بوب وودورد الموسوم باسم "خطة الهجوم" قد صدر في ذلك اليوم بعد أن تناقلت وكالات الأنباء خبر صدوره ومضمونه معا، وهو يعزو احتلال العراق إلى خطة هجوم وضعها الرئيس بوش الابن ونائبه ديك تشيني ووزير دفاعه دونالد رمسفيلد ومساعدوه وكان الليبراليون العراقيون جزءا من أجندتها.

وفي رأيي أن المثقفين السوريين الذين يؤكدون على أن استمرار النهج الاستبدادي للنظام سيؤدي إلى الفوضى الداخلية أو الاحتلال الخارجي، يقعون عن حسن نية في نفس الشرك الذي يستهدف المنطقة كلها لا سوريا وحدها وذلك مع علمهم أن هناك "خطة هجوم على سوريا" تستهدف فيما تستهدف إعادة صياغة منطقة الشرق الأوسط من جديد وهذا ما لا يخفيه الأميركيون.

المثقفون السوريون الذين يؤكدون أن استمرار النهج الاستبدادي للنظام سيؤدي إلى الفوضى الداخلية أو الاحتلال الخارجي، يقعون عن حسن نية في نفس الشرك الذي يستهدف المنطقة كلها لا سوريا وحدها
بعد مضي أقل من شهر على صدور إعلان دمشق اجتمعت اللجنة المؤقتة لإعلان دمشق، لتصدر بيانا تقويميا لخطاب الرئيس السوري الذي جئنا على ذكره، فلم تلتفت إلى حججه التي يسوقها عن الدور الأميركي في المنطقة.

فالخطاب كما يقول البيان يمثل صدمة "لأنه جاء بعيدا عن توقعات السوريين والعرب والرأي العام العالمي، وانعطافة حادة في الموقف السوري الرسمي" الذي يضع سوريا في مواجهة مع المجتمع الدولي، خاصة أنه لا مصلحة للشعب السوري في مواجهة المجتمع الدولي.

لم يأت البيان أيضا على الدور الأميركي الذي تخفى وراء مصطلح المجتمع الدولي، وكان هذا بمثابة تأكيد من وجهة نظرنا على رؤية سياسية تصالحية جديدة يحملها خطاب المعارضة السورية في رؤيته للدور الأميركي المسكوت عنه؟

لا شك أن إعلان دمشق خطوة هامة، ولكنه يجب أن يستدرك خطوات سكت الإعلان عنها عمدا أو سهوا تحت وطأة استبداد سلب منه بصيرته وتحت وطأة رؤيا كسيحة يجمع كثير من المعارضة على أنها العلامة الفارقة للمعارضة السورية.

فهل من سبيل إلى رؤية نقدية تتجاوز الرؤية الحسيرة وفقه النكاية معا؟ هذا ما نطمح إليه في هذه "اللحظة الحرجة" التي عجز إعلان دمشق والبيان اللاحق له عن وصفها، فراح يسبح في العموميات ويكرر كثيرا من البديهيات الملغومة؟

At 11/23/2005 04:58:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

dont post full articles, just the link

At 11/23/2005 06:26:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I hate to be quoting stories from others sources. I much prefer to use this comment section for expressing own thoughts and ideas. I am breaking my own rule for the second time today. I earlier referred to a UK reserach group which predicted that the US may end staying in Iraq for decades. The same day, an Israeli think tank (Jaffee center for strategic studies at Tel Aviv university) has released to the Associated press its annual report on the region's military balance.
"The strategic balance decidedly favors Israel, which has continued to widen the qualitative gap between Israel's military capabilituy and deterrence powers and those of its neighbors". Israel added F16I planes, Apache longbow helicopters and Gulfstream surveillance aircraft to its aresenal. Aside from the US, Israel is the ONLY nation in the world to have modernized its military systems to a point where it could quash other armies with minimal casualities to its own troops, the report said. The most interesting quote there is :

"The Israel Defense Forces could ERASE the Syrian army in 2 weeks with less than 100 casualties, and the Syrians know this".

Shame on us for the lies and deceptions against our people. Shame on us for continuing to put the facade that we are the last bastian of Arabism and resistence to the Zionist and imperial plans. While our Governments plundered, stole and massively mismanaged, our stated enemies prospered and got significantly stronger. While we fooled our people, they secured their people's future through military strength and long term strategic planning.
Shame on us on every count. One tries to find a single positive record to point to. Regrettably, none can be found.

At 11/23/2005 07:49:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I am reading what this thug, Bashar Assad is saying in the Arabic Media, and how he lies without any feeling of shame, and I really get deeply angry at how the world permitted such a retarded man of governing a country at the age of 34.

He states in one of his speeches recently that he may well need between 5 and 10 years to introduce political changes to the country, and he explained that by saying: " I am slow by my nature". Yes, slow, and we have to wait, but he wasn;t slow to jump from civilian life into the rank of Marshal in less than 6 years, and to change his father's constitution in less than 15 minutes to tailor his age to it so he could "legally" become the ass hole of Syria, the president!


At 11/24/2005 12:40:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Wish all those who resides in the United States, native and immigrants a happy Thanksgiving holiday. Despite all, we are trully
the lucky one to have had the opportunity to live and be among the kindest, most polite and professional people on earth.

At 11/24/2005 03:30:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/24/2005 03:33:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

We must admit the good performances of the jewish state for its democracy,economic and scientific achievements,ok sharon is our enemy,but a million times more respectable than the tyrants that ravaged Syria during 4 decades.

At 11/24/2005 06:59:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

Does those kindest, most polite and professional people on earth.
include those who tried to bomb Aljazeera channel station and kill the only free media in the Arab world??

At 11/24/2005 07:07:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/24/2005 07:12:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

(SRP)ya Khara,

Are those who are runing secret prisons in western Euorpe, who hold hundreds of prisoners in Cuba without charge and access for the red cross, or those who killed more than 100,000 Iraqies since 2003, are those among your list of the kindest and polite people on earth.

What about those who used chemical wepons in Falluja and cluster bombs in Iraq, are they also among your list, if so, then we are being introduced to a new category of Kindness, politness and professionalism?

At 11/24/2005 10:23:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Were you talking about the Baathists? because that is what they been doing for 40 years.
Even alot worse than what you said.
So YA HAYAWAN, what did you do to stop that?

At 11/24/2005 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

But Ya Sharmoot, Ya Manyook, Ya Homar, I am talking about the Americans whom you're living in their home like a DOG. (The kindest, most polite)

I thank Bathist to kick someone like you Ya Sharmoot out of Syria,
You are among the cowardest on earth. You are a fucking Blind, can't see beyond your fucking nose,

Fuck you and Fuck SRP

Have a very FUCKING day.

At 11/24/2005 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

By the Way Ya Khara,
Even in the eyes of the opposition nationalists, you are still viewed as a fucking traitor.
got it ya sharmoot, Coward
Fuck you.. OK, Have a very Fucking Night.

At 11/24/2005 11:12:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/24/2005 11:37:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Hate to interrupt your dialogue, but I think this is enough out of respect to others and to Mr.Landis. Please SRP and Abu Arab, let us try to keep it civil.

At 11/24/2005 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

Please respect others DO NOT post bad comments. This is not the place and time for somthing like that
Mr.Landis. Please ban both SRP and Abu Arab, if they don't keep it civil.

At 11/24/2005 03:40:00 PM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

I am sorry Guys to use those words, which I do not like to, but everytime my view goes against his, he use bad words istead of providing proofs and defeat my view.

SRP Said democracy is when you are free to say anything you want, unfotuantly "everyhting you want" for him means swearing at those whose ideas make SRP upset, this is not democracy.

Please go back to all my previous comment, I did not mention anything wrong even to him.

This site is to excahnge ideas, this site is for both those who are Against and Pro-Bathists. This is how democracy work in USA, EU.

SRP tried to ditch everyone who gose against his ideas and beleives.


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