Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Khaddam to Form Government-in-Exile: Sharaa to Testify

Khaddam is moving to form a government-in-exile, as-Seyassah reports below. Asad and Sharaa have been asked to testify before the Hariri investigators. According to ABC news, Syria has agreed that Sharaa will testify. Anyone interested in what I had to say on the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer can read the transcript of the show: SYRIA REFUTES INTERNATIONAL CRITICISM

Syria ready for UN team to meet minister
Syria has agreed to allow United Nations (UN) to interview its foreign minister over the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, diplomats say.

Syria is still considering a request by the UN team probing the February killing to meet President Bashar al-Assad, but an interview with Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara was acceptable, the diplomats say.

"The request is being considered while other capitals are in contact with Syria on the same subject," a diplomatic source said.

"As announced before there is no objection that the committee meets Mr Shara, that position did not change."

Asked to comment on the report, a Syrian Foreign Ministry official told Reuters in Damascus: "Syria has not informed the (UN) committee of any decision since the request has been made".

A senior Saudi official is expected to discuss in Damascus the issue of Syria's cooperation with the investigation. The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt held talks on the matter in Saudi on Tuesday.

The United States has warned Syria that its top officials should submit to the interviews in line with a UN Security Council resolution that called for it to comply fully with the inquiry or face unspecified "further action".

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, on a visit to Lebanon, also urged Syria to cooperate with the inquiry and hinted at further action if it did not.

Interview with Syrian FM in Mehlis probe "a positive step" -- US Kuwait News Agency

U.N. Asks to Meet Syrian Leader in Inquiry on Beirut Killing
Published: January 3, 2006

LONDON, Jan. 2 - A United Nations team investigating the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri has asked to interview the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the foreign minister, Farouk al-Sharaa, in the inquiry into the killing.

The request compounds pressure on the Syrian government just days after a stunning public attack on the president by his former vice president raised new questions about whether the government had been complicit in the assassination.

A spokesman for the United Nations investigation told The Associated Press on Monday that the commission had sent a request to interview Mr. Assad and Mr. Sharaa, among others, but would not specify when the request was made. It was not immediately clear whether the request had any connection to the allegation by former Vice President Abdul-Halim Khaddam on Friday that Mr. Assad threatened Mr. Hariri's life months before the assassination.

Mr. Khaddam will also be interviewed, the official said. The commission also requested an interview with Mr. Assad over the summer as the investigation got under way, but was rebuffed.

"This puts Bashar in a very embarrassing position because it means that he could actually become a suspect," said Joshua Landis, a historian at the University of Oklahoma and author of the Web site "It comes down to this: will he accept to be questioned, or will he face sanctions? If he refuses now, it will be hard for Bashar's defenders to vote against any sanctions in the Security Council."

The investigation of the truck bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 20 others concluded, in a preliminary report last month, that the attack on Feb. 14 was the work of high-ranking Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officers. Syrian officials, including Mr. Assad, have repeatedly denied involvement and have recently gone on the offensive to discredit witnesses in the investigation and raise doubts about the validity of crucial evidence in the report.

But the latest disclosure by Mr. Khaddam, who has been in Paris since he resigned in the summer, adds a surprising twist. In an hourlong interview shown Friday on the pan-Arab satellite news channel Al Arabiya, Mr. Khaddam, who became vice president in 1984, said that Mr. Assad had threatened Mr. Hariri and that no Syrian authority could have made the decision to kill Mr. Hariri on its own.

The Syrian president warned Mr. Hariri "in extremely harsh words" not to interfere with Mr. Assad's plan to extend the term of his Lebanese ally, President Émile Lahoud, Mr. Khaddam said. He quoted the Syrian president as telling Mr. Hariri in 2004 that he would not allow a new president in Lebanon. "I will crush whoever attempts to overturn our decision," he quoted Mr. Assad as saying.

But he stopped short of specifically accusing Mr. Assad of making or participating in the decision to assassinate Mr. Hariri. "I have a lot to say, but Syria's interests require me to keep quiet for now," he added.

Mr. Landis said: "This may seem like the smoking gun some were hoping would come up, and it certainly puts the fear of God into the Syrians. Here's somebody from within the intimate palace grounds, who actually knows what was going on, speaking."

In recent days, Syria's governing Baath Party has stripped Mr. Khaddam of membership and joined a unanimous vote in Parliament calling on the government to try him for high treason as a result of his accusations. Syrian news broadcasts have continued to show tirades by Syrians against Mr. Khaddam, accusing him of treason and chastising him for trying to harm the country.

"Khaddam has joined the band of enemies who are targeting the country and its attitudes," the Baath Party said in a statement. "The National Leadership has decided to dismiss Khaddam from the party and put him on trial."

Khaddam Plans Government-in-Exile
Arab press roundup for Jan. 4:
AMMAN, Jordan, Jan. 4 (UPI) --

Kuwait's as-Seyassah daily reported Wednesday that former Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam was working towards forming a government-in-exile after he spoke out against the Syrian regime in a televised interview from Paris. The pro-government paper quoted unidentified sources close to Khaddam as saying he has started consulting with former Syrian military officers who had defected to "end the bad situation, of which (President Bashar) Assad is responsible." It said the former officers accused Assad of having "abandoned them and took unilateral control of power along with his brother Maher and brother-in-law, Asef Shawkat." The sources told the Kuwaiti daily the government-in-exile would bring Khaddam to a leadership role in a transitional period in which "a democratic, pluralistic and modern system will be set up." They said this system would respect human rights and draw up a new constitution calling for free general elections "for a democratic parliament and government." They added that a new president will be elected by the people for a four or six-year term.


Syria's state-owned al-Thawra daily said in a commentary that Khaddam's statements in his lengthy interview with al-Arabiya channel at this time will have serious repercussions, but that they are also an opportunity to fight corruption. The paper said this provided a "golden opportunity" for President Assad to uproot corruption within Syria and in its relations with Lebanon. "It is an opportunity for the clean hands to wipe out the front and back lawn of the regime," the paper argued. It asked why the members of Syria's National Assembly and ruling Baath Party, who blasted Khaddam and accused him of treason and corruption following his televised statements, did not take into consideration that people in Syria and Lebanon "have been asking where these people were when Khaddam and his likes were shoveling money from the people, and then he talks about half the people looking for food in the garbage." It asked: "Where were their voices and stands from all this corruption?"

Firas Maksad or the Eurasia Group sent me this commentary:

Khaddam's high profile and strong ties to world leaders, particularly King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and President Chirac of France, may allow him to present himself as viable alternative to Assad rule, which has been unpopular with the US and EU but has remained for lack of alternative. Alongside his diplomatic ties, Khaddam can appeal to sectarian bases. As a Sunni in a country dominated by a Shia Alawite minority, Khaddam could reach out to the widely popular, but banned,
Muslim brotherhood. This group is considered to be the only real popular alternative to the Assad administration, but without Khaddam's secularizing face would be unacceptable to the US and EU.

Unconfirmed reports have also surfaced that former regime strongmen, including former Chief of Staff Lt. General Hikmat Chehabi and former Head of Military Intelligence Lt. General Ali Duba, are in close deliberations with Khaddam. Both men were associates of his under the administration of the late Hafez Al Assad, but had been swept aside since Bashar Assad's ascension to the Presidency. They are believed to still wield influence within Syria's armed forces, although the degree of their influence remains unclear.

While the U.S and France are not actively seeking regime change, the rise of a viable opposition could prove useful, providing them with much needed leverage at a time when diplomatic pressure is being exhausted. In light of Washington's failure to manufacture viable opposition for several years, Khaddam's defection will come as a welcome development.

The more immediate challenge facing Syria in the coming weeks will be the 2 January UN request to question President Assad about the Hariri assassination. While there has been no official response yet, vocal denunciations by parliament members associated with the administration foreshadow a likely rejection. A rejection will allow the special commission probing the killing to refer Syria to the Security Council, which could then institute punitive measures including targeted sanctions against administration officials. Although general sanctions are very unlikely, such actions may be enough to cause an already jittery Syrian public to flee the local currency and could force further devaluations. The pound has already lost more than 10% of its value since the Hariri assassination in February and unconfirmed reports of capital flight emerged in November.

Interview with Syrian FM in Mehlis probe "a positive step" -- US Kuwait News Agency

Syria's ruling Baath Party (A.P. Jan. 1) stripped the country's former vice president of membership and joined parliament in demanding his trial on a charge of high treason, the official news agency SANA reported Sunday.

The Daily Star reports:
President Chirac said: "Syria must answer the demands" of the international inquiry into Hariri's killing. He had talks with his visiting Egyptian counterpart Mubarak on Wednesday over the Syrian issue.

"Everything that destabilizes Lebanon will end up turning back against Syria," warned the president, who was a personal friend of the slain Hariri.

The French president also described Syria's situation as "very serious" while speaking on the sidelines of a New Year's press conference.

"The request for an interview [with Asad] is being considered while other capitals are in contact with Syria on the same subject," a diplomatic source said. "As announced before there is no objection that the committee meets Sharaa. That position did not change."

Mubarak met with the Saudi king on Tuesday over the Syrian crisis, whereby they urged Syria to act now "to prevent any harm" coming to Damascus, said Soleiman Awad, the Egyptian president's spokesperson .

The two leaders also underlined "the need to preserve the historic links between Lebanon and Syria."


At 1/04/2006 05:16:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Dr Josh, are you reading your own blog? A substantial part of this post and the entire previous post have already been posted as comments here.

I agree these particular items deserve to be highlighted, but why not summarise them and refer back with links.

At 1/04/2006 06:09:00 PM, Blogger majed said...

So Mr Khadam wants to create a democtratic and modern government. That is very hard to beleive.

Poor us really, we are not even asking for democracy only for a stable, safe country and a relatively good economical situation. It seems we might even be denied that.

Still It reassures me to know that Khadam is trying to form a government.

He is the most credible alternative and if he has good ties with the army then he might be able to stabilize the country and ease the (I hate it more that anything) foreign pressure.

What is the point of changing one dictator for another. They are both bad and the transotion is dangerous?

At 1/04/2006 06:22:00 PM, Blogger Ghassan said...

Sooner or later the dictator and his mafia cronies will be thrown off the throne and the murderers will face justice. I can't wait to see the Syrian people liberated from the Assad mafia regime and will have normal relations with their neighbors!

At 1/04/2006 07:30:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

"""" He is the most credible alternative and if he has good ties with the army then he might be able to stabilize the country and ease the (I hate it more that anything) foreign pressure.

I truly despise Syrians for they deserve to be put down like slaves and treated like sheep. Here is one above saying that Khadam is the most "credible". I am amazed at how the Syrians think!


At 1/04/2006 08:06:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

The suggestion to use Ghazali as the scape goat is disgusting.

At 1/04/2006 08:40:00 PM, Blogger Alawites for Syria said...

Khaddam wants to form a new government in excile? You mean another Mafia in excile, one that will join that of Riffat's and Shihabi's Mafia and make Super Dicrtatorial Mafia, to run the Hermel drug cartel and Syria as the new Stalinist Democratic Dictatorship.

He must have been watching Bush and other American Presidents for sometime and now he can look you straight in the eyes and say: "Read my lips, I never had sex with that woman, I was just probing a cigar looking for Niger origin WMD in her pussy"

At 1/04/2006 08:55:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalism Eternally said...

Why would anyone in his right mind or even lagally insane, would rather have a trio of the worlds most evil and murdurous gangesters such as Khaddam, Riffat and Shihabi, allied with the Moslem Brotherhood as a replacement for a relatively to fair President Bashar Assad, who struggulled for more than 5 years to clean the system and these individuals specifically from Syria?

Am I just the stupid one here, or other see my point as well?

At 1/04/2006 09:32:00 PM, Blogger yaman said...

I think we're at an interesting point here. As I mentioned in a comment here, it is difficult to decide who is bad and who is worse. At least we know now that there is such thing as a New Guard/Old Guard struggle, but it seems to be less about reform and more about the distribution of power. In any case, if the US and France are really banking on this guy with the trust that he will implement all those fancy reforms, then I can't imagine that Khaddam and co would be in a position NOT to implement those reforms after grabbing power.

Then again, I think it's impossible to predict with any decent amount of certainty. The outcomes definitely depend on how much international legitimacy Khaddam has and how badly the Syrian regime deals with the UN investigation.

At 1/04/2006 09:46:00 PM, Blogger yaman said...

Mr Landis,

What do you think the death of Sharon would have on the Syria-Lebanon dilemma? It will distract the world for a bit, but do you think it would steal the thunder of either the investigation or Khaddam?

At 1/04/2006 10:11:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

Hard to believe that Khaddam, the Stalinist-Socialist-Baathist is now preaching free enterprise and Democracy, it is even harder to believe his concerns about the poor of Syria. It is simply unbelievable that he is a corruption fighter when he horded 1.7 Billion in assets.

I think Khaddam is trying to cover his rear, he feels totally exposed in Syria when his friend Kanan gone and now he can not go back to Syria anymore, he got the message when his assets in Syria ceased and closed.

Now he feels vulnerable and his life in danger living abroad, anyone can take a hit at him, especially the Moslem Brotherhood members. So he became the oppositions to win over his enemy and turn them into partners.

Unless, Bush planning on backing him up by dropping a hefty number of Cruise Missiles on Damascus, till Bashar leaves the Presidential palace, and unless he can secure the services and loyalty of at least 60,000 armed forces, even the best well laid plan will be crushed by the loyal and well armed units.

I don’t see him, even with the aid of others being able to gain the loyalty of that large number of forces to confront the presidential guard units alone, not to mention Shawkat and the Mukhabrat units which also can be armed. Maybe Bush plans on sending cruise missiles over there, but I seriously doubt that. Neither the French nor the Russian will accept that, and then on what ground? The President will not testify? Hell, big deal, he will testify, so what!!.

Even if the above possibilities / impossibilities are present. Doubt when the Cruise Missiles land, that Bashar, Maher and especially Shawkat, among others, sill simply pack and leave to Yemen. They have prepared very well for this time already and have plenty of experience in Lebanon and Iraq and know very well how to fight this atrousous kind of warfare. Neither Khaddam and Company nor The Moslem Brotherhood will be able to control the peace and order. Additionally, all banks will be emptied right away and Syria’s economy will be worse than Iraq.

There is the added risk, that the leadership in Damascus could unleash all the WMD missiles at once in revenge. They will try to push Hizbullah to o, but think they will balk and make few small sorties as a show of face for President Assad. But now that they see the end in Syria and guess who’s next, they may well behave and get ready to move into a political and social movement in Lebanon before they risk loosing all.

Finally, what make you think that Syrians at large will be supportive of Khaddam-Shihabi-Riffat-Douba-Ghadri-Moslem Brotherhood ticket. No one will trust or believe in this, they will in the beginning to get the ball rolling out of desperation. But we will see afterward that most of these plotters removed and the outcome will be a struggle between the Nationalist Democratic forces and the Moslem Brotherhood. Nationalist, will most likely side by Bashar and Shawkat forces and together bring on the Wahhabi’s onboard to fight the Moslem Brotherhood weight.

At the end of day it may look pretty good. The Nationalist will protect Bashar and Shawkat and their Alwites siders, because they need all the armed men and cash they got.
To confront the Moslem Brotherhood. The losers will be the plotters, because no one will care about protecting them after all in the end.

Based on this analysis, my feeling is either someone is daydreaming or bluffing to secure his comfortable and peaceful retirement in Paris lime light, enjoying the publicity they are used to and the meeting of all the rich and powerful rather than retired and never be heard of them again, forgotten.

Metaz K.M.Aldendeshe
Syrian Republican Party
Commited to teh National
interests of Syria

At 1/04/2006 10:52:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

They blame Bashar for not cleaning a thirty year coruption in five years and they ask us to trust khadam who was in the corupt establishment for thirty years to corect Syria ,his only job will be to deliver Syria Arabic stand to the west and Israel on the bodies of Hizballa and the palestenians so he can continue to rob Syria.

At 1/05/2006 12:43:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

But... but... but... I thought that Khaddam said that he had a good relation with president Assad!

More seriously, we should get real and consider that this development as positive.

At 1/05/2006 03:21:00 AM, Blogger Joe M said...

Remember your post about how Steven Hadley was asking the Italians for a replacement for Bashar? Do you think the CIA and/or the Saudis paid Khaddam and are trying to groom him as a successor?

At 1/05/2006 05:04:00 AM, Blogger zadigvoltaire said...

The Assads (they top the list of killers), Jumblatts, Geagea, Aoun, Berri and of course Sharon and their cohorts are all war criminals that should be prosecuted and locked away for a very long time.

They have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands over the years.
Today these billionaire princes are destroying the future of tens of millions of young people.

They do not care about creating opportunity and wealth. They do not care about employment, education and health.

They care about their wealth and their power. They do not care about your average Mohammed, Ali or Elie.

They want power at any price.

The people should stop believing their excuses. They do not care about the Palestinians, they do not care about freedom or social reform, they do not care about the innocents that died alongside the politicians and political activists in Lebanon.

They care about keeping or grabbing power.

Enough of those murderers. We want philospher kings or rather business kings for rulers. We want the likes of Mohammed Bin Rashed of Dubai.

We do not want illuminated crazies like Bin Laden or Ahmadinijad or like the Likudniks in Israel.

We want peace and prosperity.

We are sick and tired of politics and violent death.

We just want to live a normal life and dream of a better tomorrow.

At 1/05/2006 06:20:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

I wouldn't trust Al Seyassia. But if it was true then the Saudi's have declared a full fledged war on Syria. but i highly doubt that Khaddam is that dumb. as said earlier my feeling is that Khaddam has accepted to become the pawn of his masters in riyadh and is not really looking or expecting for a come back to the political life in syria anytime soon.

At 1/05/2006 07:02:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

John Bolton declared that "no one is immune the obligation to provide evidence to a legitimate judicial inquiry".

Andrea Bianchi, a professor of international law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, disagrees:

«Il n'y a en effet pas de précédent, c'est un événement totalement nouveau», analyse Andrea Bianchi, professeur de droit international à l'Institut des hautes études internationales de Genève. Mais innovation ne signifie pas forcément révolution: «La portée juridique de cet événement restera malgré tout très limitée. Certes, la commission a émis le souhait d'entendre Bachar el-Assad. Mais elle a besoin du consentement de ce dernier, qui n'a aucune obligation juridique de répondre à l'invitation. Et on peut d'ailleurs bien imaginer qu'il n'y répondra pas! La Syrie rejette les conclusions de la commission, l'accuse depuis longtemps d'être manipulée politiquement. En témoignant, le président perdrait la face.»

The Syrian president has "no legal obligation to answer the invitation".

Who is right?

At 1/05/2006 09:01:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Interesting comment from internal Syrian opposition/refom group.
excerpt: (see ailaf site)

واعتبر بيان التيار، الذي يتخذ من لندن مقرا له، ان هناك محاولات عربية ودولية للالتفاف على مشروع المعارضة السورية في تحقيق إصلاحات جوهرية والعمل على استبداله بترقيعات تجميلية يتبناها وينفذها المنشقون عن النظام تحت الوصاية الخارجية وغني عن الذكر إن خدام لا يتحرك منفردا بل مع جوقة كاملة من الذين لفظتهم السلطة ولا يجوز وطنيا التعامل معهم ومنحهم صكوك البراءة إلا بعد الإعلان عن براءتهم قانونيا في ساحات قضاء حر مستقل .

Interesting because we did not think they are that sophisticated and informed to notice the ploys at work by what we call DESPARDOS.

At 1/05/2006 09:19:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I checked , and did not find the report above.

At 1/05/2006 09:24:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...
The second article down as of now.
loks like the very new first one too should be checked out.

At 1/05/2006 02:27:00 PM, Blogger shamee27 said...

You read the comment of one Syrian and then you give a general statements about all Syrians!!!
"I truly despise Syrians for they deserve to be put down like slaves and treated like sheep. Here is one above saying that Khadam is the most "credible". I am amazed at how the Syrians think!"
I advise to speak to more Syrians to know how Syrians think, but are you interested in what we think or what we want?
I told you once before that if the majority of Syrians would choose an Islamic government if they are given half the chance but you ridiculed me for saying that.

At 1/05/2006 02:36:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Shamee27; I would choose a truly Islamic system, but how do we decide what is really Islamic and wht is not? Whow will represent Islam? Beynouni? Keftaros? Boutis? Habashes? Just let me know.

I just don;t believe that most of those calling themselves Rijal Al Deen (Sheikhs) represent Islam any more than you or I!

So, really, in order to define what an Islamic system is, we need those who want to push this ides to present us with a plan, and define exactly what is Islamic and what is not. It is not enough to say they will have the Shariaa law, for the Shariaa law is subject to intrepretations as you know. Do you still want to cut hands, chop heads? or what? thanks


At 1/05/2006 03:27:00 PM, Blogger shamee27 said...

Sharia law is more than just chopping hands and cut heads off, not that I disagree with those punishments.
There are issues which are subject to interpretation and issues which are not.
My question to you if Syrians people chose an Islamic government what would secular people like you do?

At 1/05/2006 03:35:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

In an exclusive telephone interview with the AP, Khaddam called for political change in Syria, saying the Damascus regime had outlived its time and was unlikely to survive much longer. Asked whether he supported change in Syria, he replied “yes”, adding that he had no personal interest in leading the drive to oust Bashar. “This is trhe least of my concerns. What concerns me is for the Syrian people to recover their freedom and their ability to decide their own fate,” he said.
He went on to say, “I am convinced that the regime committed big mistakes against Syria and Leabnon..And consequently it must shoulder its responsibility in front of the Syrian people. I think the regime has no chance of surviving in the long term. The regime has weakened itself as a result of wrong vision and mistakes made on the domestic and international fronts. The mistakes had weakened the regime beyond repair to the point where it can no longer reform itself. It has become like a model 1916 car”. He denied that was encouraged to publicly break with the Syrian regime by Saudi Arabia or any other country and said such talk was “baseless”.

At 1/05/2006 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

His talks are ridiculous. He is ridiculous.

If he says the regime is wrong, it must be right.

That is how most people inside Syria see things. He has given a lot of new credibility to the regime, simply by him being against it.


Why don't you try to live in Saudi Arabia for a while, or with the Talibans? or even in Iran?

At 1/05/2006 04:02:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

The gangster comparison is made by the Washington Post's David Ignatius in his January 4 column headed "Mob War In The Mideast"

"In the gangster movies, you know all hell is about to break loose when one of the disgruntled old dons decides to switch sides and rat out the young Godfather. Something like that is now happening with Syria -- and it provides a new year's bombshell for an already turbulent Middle East."

Full article:

At 1/05/2006 04:41:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

A negatively biased article about Dr. Landis calling him a Bashar 'apologist' (note: I agree with most of it, but the tone is too agressive).

"Landis's stance on Bashar Assad, which previously could have been dismissed as excessively hopeful and trusting, has become increasingly indefensible and odious as Syrian acolytes have embarked on a campaign of murder and terror in neighboring Lebanon. Landis, challenged by the fact that his previous thesis is irreconcilable with recent events, has nevertheless tried his best to excuse the actions of the Assad regime. "
The Spectator

At 1/05/2006 04:41:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

A negatively biased article about Dr. Landis calling him a Bashar 'apologist' (note: I agree with most of it, but the tone is too agressive).

"Landis's stance on Bashar Assad, which previously could have been dismissed as excessively hopeful and trusting, has become increasingly indefensible and odious as Syrian acolytes have embarked on a campaign of murder and terror in neighboring Lebanon. Landis, challenged by the fact that his previous thesis is irreconcilable with recent events, has nevertheless tried his best to excuse the actions of the Assad regime. "
The Spectator

At 1/05/2006 05:38:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Given The Spectator's right leaning political views, it is not surprising for one of its contributors to criticise Dr. Landis's apparent liberal views. Having said this, I personally think that the author makes some valid points.

At 1/05/2006 06:04:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/05/2006 06:04:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

It's so amusing that people like Jumblatt, the Lebanese Christians, and the West 'know' that Syria is behind all the killings, yet they're gonna 'wait' for the investigation... What a bunch of BS.

This is clearly shaping out to be an Old Guard (backed by the West and the Saudis) vs Bashar and the new Guard (backed by Iran, Russia & China) power grab. Who's gonna win in the end? will this lead to a larger conflict on the world stage? or is Syria just not worth much, and its allies will drop it when they find it too costly to protect? We'll see soon, I guess.

At 1/05/2006 06:16:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

One of the thoughts that occurred to me this morning is the similarity between religion and a person like Bashar. Let me explain:

A person’s Religion is handed to him/her effectively at birth. A newly born baby in a Muslim/Christian family will inherit the religion of his parents. It has always intrigued me to see the fervor and passion by which humans defend their religion even though they had participated precious little in making their choice in the first place.

Back in the summer of 2000, Syria’s so-called parliament took a mere 30 minutes to amend the constitution and proclaim that a freshly minted eye Doctor has been elected as President. Just like newly born babies, the Syrian “people” also had precious little participation in this decision. Precisely like they support their religion handed to them at birth, they have spent the next five years defending their leader as religion. Never mind that there has been incredibly little to support. The religion of Bashar has grown in the heads of his subjects in spite of all the recent events. Just like religious matters, anyone who questions the unquestionable is immediately branded as a traitor to his homeland and an agent of the west.

Dr. Landis can be proud of being a leading member of our country’s newly found religion.

At 1/05/2006 06:24:00 PM, Blogger Lebanesepride said...

This is to all the syrian, smelly, dirty rats...yes, ALL u syrian monkeys (and Joshua Landis that pro syrian fucker) FUCK YOU ALL, FUCKIN RAT SYRIANS AND YOUR MONKEY LEADER BASHAR!! MOOOOO??!!! LOL...U FUCKIN LOSERS!!



At 1/05/2006 07:11:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Dr Josh is strongly reprimanded for being an apologist for Assad by Patrick Devenny in his article "Assad's Academic" (American Spectator, link from Vox. P. above)

But the author's concluding words show that like many of us he is asking Josh to please stop wearing those bunny ears because we know he's capable of doing better. He says:

"Landis, otherwise a brilliant and entertaining observer of Syrian history, should stop wasting his considerable intellect excusing the thugs in Damascus. They are not worthy of his talents."

(From American Spectator, 1/4/2006)

At 1/05/2006 07:43:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

The defection of Khadam makes Professor Joshua Landis right in his foresight after all. He was insisting that Bashar was getting rid of the old guard who were resisting his reform attempts of a brutal regime that Hafez-Khadam were running. Finally, the truth is coming out, and today, Khadam spoke again on the French TV calling for Assad to resign and describing the Syrian regime as unbearable.

The Thug Khadam does not remember his years beside the dictator, and what they did to Syrians and Lebanese, and what he personally stole from Syria, and he obliged every body to do any thing through bribing his companies, and not even allwoing other people from starting new businesses except through him.

The Syrian people support Bashar for sure in this apparent struggle, and the Syrian people did not want to change the regime so thugs like Khadam can run the show again. We want these thugs out, and in prison if possible.

Thank you

At 1/05/2006 07:57:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

1- Are you shooting the messanger or the message? Suppose that the interview and all the quotes were attributed to Mother Teresa rather than Khaddam, would you still support the regime? You go on and on about thugs of the old regime somehow implying that Assad Senior's wife gave birth to a saint who is busy undoing his father's misdeeds. You paint a picture where the young man hates his father and what he had done and is therefore dismantling what his Daddy had built. I have news for you. Were it not for Hafez-Khaddam (your thugs), there would not be a Presidency for this young man in the first place. It is not exactly that 20 million elected him. As my comments above highlight, it took 30 minutes for his confirmation. Please cut out this nonesense. Both ruined this country. Stop this new religious idiocy of clapping to mistake after mistake.

At 1/05/2006 07:57:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

the rumors in Syria that Husni Mubarak and king Abdullah discused providing exile place to bashar al assad and his family,Mubarak went to Paris to see if Chiraq agree to allow Bashar to live in France, in return for his abdication.

At 1/05/2006 07:57:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...


There's no room for you trash and drivel here. This is a civilized forum. If you want a forum that caters to your IQ of 20, please visit soc.culture.lebanon...

At 1/05/2006 08:20:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...


Who is supporting the regime?

Take the balance of my posts and you see that I am not supporting the regime.

However, I am not an ideologue. I deal with each point separately according to merits. Now, the battle that is opened is between the regime of Bashar Assad, headed by him, and the opportunists that are using Khadam's talks to fight Bashar Assad. In this case, my position is clear: There is not even any hesitation to say that the shoes of Bashar Assad are a million times cleaner than the face of Khadam, and I will not support a regime that lean toward using thugs like Khadam to replace Bashar. Syrians know very well what Khadam was, and no one needs to teach them anything, and I mean Syrians inside Syria, not those who have sites on the internet.

At 1/05/2006 08:25:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Do you think Bashar is qualified to be President? Yes or No answer.

At 1/05/2006 08:28:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Now it does not matter, for his battle is with my old enemies.

At 1/05/2006 08:29:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

you did not answer the question

At 1/05/2006 08:33:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Some how, he was able to get rid of every single one of the old guard, and that is not something just any one can do.

I am just hoping that he will prove his true color shortly. I mean that he will show us what he really after, and then, I and others will support him or continue to fight him. Just in case that he was really taking his time to consolidate power and that it took him that long ( I am giving him the benefit of the doubt), then, We must wait few weeks and see.

At 1/05/2006 08:34:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

you are yet to answer a simple question with a simple yes or no answer

At 1/05/2006 08:37:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

5 years on the job training may have given him the qualifications equired by now.

At 1/05/2006 08:43:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I still don't see an answer. When you make up your mind, let us know

At 1/05/2006 08:48:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I need to wait for few short weeks, and see if the 5 years were productive for him, or totally wasted. The next few weeks will tell if he was hindered by a power struggle with the old thugs, or that he is really no different. I am willing to give him the benefot of the doubt now, and I can't say whether he is / was a qualified president or not. In a normal country, he would have failed, because every thing is screwed up in Syria, but given the influence of what his father team and his father team has done to Syria, I am willing to wait and see now.

At 1/05/2006 08:55:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

To summarize, at the present time and as we speak, you still don't know and cannot confirm whether you think Bashar is fit to be President or not. I will leave it at that

At 1/05/2006 10:15:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Yes Bashar is the best hope for Syria,s economic and politecal reform Syria needs help and the US is not helping Syria or the Syrian people they put Syria on the list of country supporting terror long befor Bashar came to power which made syria,s economic reform hard to acheive what makes me sad that syria did alot for the US without any return Syria was the first country to denonce Saddam invasion of Kuwait Syria helped with troops who fought along side the American the when it came to victory selebration in NY the Jewish loby objected and in 1976 when nobody wanted to stop the fighting in Lebanon Syria steped in and 14000 Syrians gave their lives ,remember Ehsani no American ever killed or kidnaped in Syria no American was put in front a cangaroo court in Syria like they do in other countries MR Ehsani2 syria deserve appreciation from the us and help in economic and politecs,Asad is the best man to lead Syria toward the future if the US realy care about the Syrian people for very simple and important reason ,he is not corupt and has no blood on his hands and did not want the job in the first place.yes he needs better help around him but just remember president Bush is no doing better in Iraq .THe Us tried force for politicalchange in Iraq and we can see what happend and we tried the shamfull elections in Egypt, i think the US needs to try chang by inticment and organisation skills which will work well in Syria.

At 1/05/2006 10:57:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

I wish i had the same faith that you have in the international system of justice,when Syria agrees to what they want they will ask for more like what happend in Iraq ,the only reason that they agreed to intervew the Syrian officers outside the middle east was because of president Asad harsh words and what he said makes now more sence than ever they want Syria to kill itself so they can control it ,after the president says things on the record then they will claim that he is a lier which will colaps the Syrian political system and destroy the contry,i say again it is time to stand up to the saudies and the american who i think are behind the sean moving to appease the islamist by changing Syria from a secular country to a country run by paid for represenatives like Lebanon,where another plan is in the work which is to change Lebanon to a constitutional presidency with the christian president has no power all that is appease the Islamist and their freinds in Saudi Arabia ,remember few month ago the kings of Saudi arabia and Jordan complained about the rise of the shea in iraq and the conection between Hizballa ,Syria, Iraq and Iran and what we see is America,s rewards to Saudi Arabia a chang in Syria and disarming of palamentenian paid for will be in power .

At 1/06/2006 01:20:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

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At 1/06/2006 01:23:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

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At 1/06/2006 01:39:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

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At 1/06/2006 01:40:00 AM, Blogger annie said...

I am with Bashar but would it not be better should there be free elections and he would become an elected President ?
I have no doubt he would get the job but then he would have to give some space to the opposition too.
Some of the best people in Syria have been or are in jail.

At 1/06/2006 01:48:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

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