Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fayyad on Labwani: Syrians on Mehlis

Here is the link to the al-Jazeera show: Hiwar Maftouh with Gassan Ben Jeddu on which I appeared with Michel Kilo and Syria's Ambassador in Kuwait. (Thanks Tony for finding this.)

Nabil Fayyad put out the following statement about Kamal Labwany who recently met with American officials in Washington: (See last two posts)

A Statement from Nabil Fayyad

The Secular Democratic Liberal ( ADL) Association in Syria has no relation with Mr. Kamal Labawany.
ADL, Damascus, 11/4/2005
Here is a new blog, "A Foreigner in Syria," written by a fellow Fulbrighter in Syria. It should be interesting.

The Baldnomad has wonderful photographs of Syria on his site Our Man in Damascus

A Syrian lawyer wrote me the following criticism of my comparison between the Mehlis report and the OJ Simpson trial. In my original post, I remarked on how world and Syrian opinion is split over the Mehlis report much as Black and White Americans split over the OJ verdict.
Regarding your recent article that compared reactions in America to the OJ Simpson trial to Syrian reactions to the Mehlis report, please remember this:

1. First, the Syrians have the right to examine the report and look for solid reasoning and verifiable evidence before jumping to conclusions about who killed Hariri. Remember that it is not necessary that Syrians embrace your views or anyone else’s views. When you compared the attitude of Syrians as they respond to the Mehlis report with the attitude of African Americans to the trial of O.J. Simpson, you are suggesting that Syrians are in denial and refuse to recognize that top members of their government are guilty of murdering Hariri. It is important, however, to remember that the Mehlis report is about to target 18 million Syrians. It may subject them to economic sanctions or "military" intervention under UN Resolution # 1636 which is built on Chapter 7. Moreover, the investigation is incomplete and based on speculation.

2. Second, it is silly at this stage to compare OJ. Simpson’s case to Hariri's. In the first case, evidence was collected, contemplated, and presented. In the second, there is only preliminary evidence and, as yet, no accusations, something Mehlis himself confirmed.

3. Evidence in this crime is not only important for the Syrians but for the whole world. The invasion of Iraq was based on WMD that proved to be a big lie. The CIA misled the White House. Using incomplete and unverified information is no longer a valid game to play with Middle East people. Nor should it be acceptable to most Americans. Are we expected to accept assumptions rather than solid facts and "strong" evidence? About 220,000 Iraqis and Americans have already been killed as a result of the WMD myth I Iraq and that number is increasing by the weak.

4. Criminals must be brought to justice, and no one should be above the law. We believe this and support it, but must await the full evidence and truth. The Mehlis report doesn't meet the basic rules of international criminal law. It violated each and every spirit of customary law. It can hardly be named a progress report, yet it has been used to issue a UN resolution against Syria which threatens sanctions on an entire nation. You are being unfair in comparing a case that has been adjudicated professionally and left no doubt about the O.J.’s guilt. In Syria's case, the evidence has yet to be gathered or tried in a court. The Syrian case was overruled before even cross examining accusations stated in the report. In any way, the security council's resolution that urges Syria to cooperate fully was based on a report that had no legal conclusion and reasoning. Mehlis himself stated that the investigation is incomplete! I would urge you, Josh, to read O.J's case more thoroughly, and only then make a comparison. I sincerely hope that justice will be well-founded in Syria's case as it was in O.J's. See the following site about OJ’s trial.

Here are some responses from the Arab press to the UN resolution targeting Syria's lack of cooperation with the Mehlis investigation. They are from the BBC. "Syrian and many other Arab commentators are outraged and defiant, accusing the international community of hypocrisy and double standards, and of plotting against Damascus. Some voices urge Syria to co-operate more fully, but one commentator warns the world is witnessing a "dance of death" between Syria and the United States."

Umar Jafatali in Syria's Tishrin

The attitude of some international parties blaming Syria for lack of cooperation with the investigation committee is sheer hypocrisy... Once again, Syria says it wants the truth before anybody else. However, it wants a truth with clear-cut proofs, not a truth based on conjecture.

Muhammad Ali Budha in Syria's Al-Thawrah

For those who are today pushing to settle scores with the Arabs... and are using the UN as a tool to inflict punishment, seek revenge and humiliate nations for political reasons, it would have been better to have the courage to turn their attention to Israel and expose its terrorist practices.

Egypt's Al-Jumhuriyah

The UN, which is supposed to represent international law, holds meetings not in order to put an end to the massacres perpetuated against the Iraqis and the Palestinians, not to tell the American and Israeli occupiers to leave lands they have seized, but to settle an account with Syria on suspicion of committing a single political crime, while absolving all those who killed a whole nation!

Abd al-Hadi Abd al-Basit in Sudan's Al-Hayyat al-Siyasiyah

Syria should not fall victim to the plot in the same way Iraq did, because the 'enemies' this time are weakened by wounds and they want to blackmail Syria while waiting for the rope to loosen around their necks in Iraq and Afghanistan. The best way for Syria is to confront and defy the Security Council's conspiracy and turn the table on the conspirators.

Muhammad Mashmushi in Lebanon's Al-Nahar

The Syrian people know that whatever their position is with regard to the Mehlis investigation committee, this will not prevent Bush from implementing his scheme for Syria at the political, economic or even at the military level.

Jordan's Al-Dustur

Talk about plots and foreign schemes are not the answer nor will they be in Syria's interest. The best way to handle the issue is to act with courage and transparency... Syria will be sitting a hard test and we hope it will get through it with success.

Qatar's Al-Rayah

It is in Syria's interest to honour its commitment as soon as possible and without hesitation, and offer the cooperation needed to resolve the crisis. At the same time, Detlev Mehlis should carry out his investigation with full impartiality and objectivity.

Iran's Siyasat-e-Ruz

Although Damascus in the current situation is trying to enjoy the full support of Arab countries, and the Arab countries are worried that the future of Syria could be a pointer to their own future, regional realities and different objectives amongst the Arab countries are obstacles on the path of supporting Syria.

Mamun Fandi in pan-Arab Al-Sharq al-Awsat

The Mehlis report could lead to a crack emerging within Assad's regime... In this dance of death between Bush and Assad, it is very likely that the US administration may start a foreign war with Syria to divert public opinion away from the problems facing the White House.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.


At 11/06/2005 04:06:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

Labwani is a respectable opponent and the future will prove us if he was right or not.A debate between the syrian opposition and the american government should take place and Labwani has broken a taboo.


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