Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Syrian Bloggers Unite at Syria Planet

Syria Bloggers Unite: 111 Syrian blogs in both Arabic and English are now aggregated on Syria Planet. It is a great way to get introduced to, or updated on, the many wonderful Syria blogs. Ayman Hourieh is largely responsible for the aggregation, but others, such as Sinan, Ayman, and Yazan have also put their shoulders to the wheel. If you have a Syria blog and aren't signed up already, you can add it on Syria Planet.

al-Jazeera will air a program on Political Prisoners today - Tuesday March 14 - at 11:05. Yassin Hajj Salih, Ghassan Jaba`i, and Faraj Bayrakdar will be highlighted. It should be interesting.

الأصدقاء الأعزاء
يوم الثلاثاء الحادية عشرة وخمس دقائق سيعرض فيلم في قناة الجزيرة ضمن برنامج أدب السجون يشارك فيه غسان جباعي وفرج بيرقدار وياسين الحاج صالح ومن إخراج هالة محمد
مل أن تجدوا فيه ما يفيد

Syria blocked award winner Haytem Maleh
Bette Dam
March 12, 2006

Syria refuses lawyer and human rights activist Haytem Maleh to travel to The Netherlands on March 12th to get the prestigious award the Geuzenmedal. Maleh is awarded - according to the organization Geuzenverzet 1940-1945 that commemorates the resistance the Dutch ‘Geuzen’ made in the second world war against the enemy- because of his ‘brave initiatives for defending human rights’. According to the organization, Maleh should get more international media attention for his ‘courage in face Syrian repression by talking about human rights, the emergency law and the death penalties members of the Muslim Brotherhood can get in Syria’. Other award winners were former president of Tsjech Vaclav Havel and Ingrid Bentancourt, the Columbian politician who has been in hostage for years now.

Maleh is not allowed to leave Syria after he criticized the emergency law, three years ago. Despite heavy pressure from the United Nations and the Dutch foreign affairs department, Syria refused to make an exception for Maleh to travel to The Netherlands. What is more, Maleh is expected before the military court in Damascus for insulting the Syrian president and the military staff. The first trial was in March but the case was postponed until April 6th.

Maleh wants to express his apologies to the Dutch Geuzenpenning-organization for his absence, he said in an interview by telephone. “I am honored to be awarded this prize and I was really ready to leave Syria for this price,” Maleh said. Last week the 74- year old lawyer and the organization in Holland spend a lot of time getting information about the travel status of Maleh. Often, they contacted each other to get the latest news about the decisions the Syrian government would take. Maleh postponed his travel date but in the end - when he arrived on the airport on Thursday night - he was not on the list of those to be granted exit-visas and had to return home.

The Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs Ben Bot will now present the award to Maleh’s sons Anas and Iyas – who will represent their father in Holland. Maleh hasn’t seen his suns ‘for years’ because they are not allowed to travel to Syria. Anas and Iyas live in Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Members of the radical wing of Syria's Muslim Brotherhood played an important role in the 9-11 bombings. Syria role in helping the West to track them down was "comprehensive and without reservation," according to Western security agents.

Germany says Sept. 11 hijackers called Syria, Saudi Arabia
BY JOHN CREWDSON, Chicago Tribune

Within hours of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, German agencies learned that, during their student days, Atta and his co-conspirators had been in close touch with al-Qaida's principal representatives in Hamburg, Mamoun Darkazanli and Mohammed Zammar, both Syrian expatriates who became German citizens.

Spanish authorities later prosecuted several other expatriate Syrians in Madrid with links to Darkazanli and Zammar, most of them members of the Syrian wing of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. One, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, was sentenced last year to 27 years in a Spanish prison for providing the hijackers logistical assistance.

The German report submitted last week notes that in the days after Sept. 11, Syria and its intelligence service offered their cooperation to the United States and West European nations, "comprehensively and without any reservation."
Syria to Issue a Law on Antitrust
Tuesday, March 07, 2006 - 08:15 PM, SANA

Cabinet on Tuesday discussed a draft law on competition and antitrust as well as the establishment of an independent commission called “Commission of Competition and Antitrust.” The move comes in the framework of the Syrian government efforts to reform economy and shift to the social market economy.

Syria Abolishes Organization Formed to Include Hatay
By Cihan News Agency, Istanbul
Published: Monday, March 13, 2006

"Iskanderun Salvation Organization," which was formed to include Hatay in its territory by Syrian intelligence, Al-Mukhabarat, was abolished upon the order of the Damascus administration.

The process was confirmed by Turkish intelligence when it was understood that organization staff were being reassigned.

Reportedly, the winding up of operations started after the deportation of the terrorist organization Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1998 with the Adana Agreement signed between Syria and Turkey.

Syria, one of the target countries in campaigns to combat terrorism, initiated by the United States in the aftermath of September 11, accelerated the process to remove its image as a "terrorism supporting country." This attempt was assessed as Damascus abandoning its rights on Hatay.

The Baath regime that claimed Hatay was invaded by Turkey had demanded the city be returned. In this frame, the then Syrian President, Hafiz Asad ordered Syrian intelligence to establish the "Iskenderun Liberation Organization" in 1989.

The organization aimed to conduct operations in Turkey using Nusayris, who live in Hatay, and trained about 1,500-2,000 Turkish citizens militarily and politically.

The organization that was observed closely by Turkish intelligence due to the increase in violent operations in the region by 1990 was seriously damaged in the operations of the security units.

According to intelligence sources, the chief of the organization was Turkish citizen, Fuat I., who fled to the United States after he was identified and later died there.

The Washington Post's Al Kamen wrote a little send up of Jumblatt
Is U.S. Eating Jumblatt's Bitter Words?

The enemy of my enemy, as the saying goes, is a truly wonderful chap -- even if he had also been my enemy.

Back in 2003, after insurgent rockets missed then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz in Baghdad, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt famously said: "We hope that next time the rockets will be more accurate and effective in getting rid of this virus and his like, who wreak corruption in Arab lands."

In early 2004, he noted: "We are all happy when U.S. soldiers are killed [in Iraq] week in and week out. The killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq is legitimate and obligatory." He said he felt "great joy" at the 2002 space shuttle disaster because an Israeli astronaut died in it.

He has also said that the real axis of evil is one of "oil and Jews," and called President Bush a "mad emperor."

"The oil axis is present in most of the U.S. administration, beginning with its president, vice president, and top advisers, including [Condoleezza] Rice . . . . while the axis of Jews is present with Paul Wolfowitz ," he continued.

Jumblatt had been denied a visa a couple years ago on the grounds that he endorsed terrorism.

But he's coming to town next week to meet his pals. Such as? Well, Rice -- who visited him at his home in Lebanon last week -- national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and, yes, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

On the Hill, Jumblatt, who's a member of the Lebanese parliament, is visiting with Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) and John E. Sununu (R-N.H.) and others.

How did this happen? Simple. Jumblatt became anti-Syrian and even joined the mighty Coalition of the Willing in 2005.

"It's strange for me to say it," he told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, "but this process of change" to democracy "has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

Jumblatt. A guy you can count on.


At 3/14/2006 01:35:00 AM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...

When will they burn Banias????

The latest on Dr. Sultan -- from NYTIMES:
Shortly after the broadcast, clerics in Syria denounced her as an infidel. One said she had done Islam more damage than the Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, a wire service reported.

DR. SULTAN is "working on a book that — if it is published — it's going to turn the Islamic world upside down."

"I have reached the point that doesn't allow any U-turn. I have no choice. I am questioning every single teaching of our holy book."

The working title is, "The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster."

At 3/14/2006 01:55:00 AM, Blogger The Rise of The Beast Amen / Marduk said...

Allright with me. I will publish my book Amen, aka Jesus the beast and talk about Jew god Yehwe bullshitting for 40 days on mount Sinai with another fittitious and ideotic charachter invented by the beast Amen named Moses.

Sultan my ass, nothing but a Mossad paid Jew from Tunisia, calling herself Moslem!!! we got the whole scoop on her. but will wait till she come up with the book to make it public. That will make an interesting confortation now between Jews and Moslems, rather than Christians and Moslems.

What a crack. This planet is going to the dumpster soon. I am thinking about a Cyberian hideout now. Lake Baikal maybe a nice home.

U know who

At 3/14/2006 02:17:00 AM, Blogger The Rise of The Beast Amen / Marduk said...

"Jumblatt. A guy you can count on."

Yes Golda Meyer and Ariel Sharon used to say that all the time to visiting diplomats. What a Socialist scumback.

At 3/14/2006 03:19:00 AM, Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Members of the elite Druze regiment of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) even have their own “syncretist” flag combining Hebrew and Durzee theological symbols… No wonder Druze war criminal Walid Jumblatt got the red carpet treatment in Washington and was effusively greeted by a phalanx of Neocon grandees!
Jumblatt met Secretary of State Condi Rice yesterday ostensibly to discuss peaceable topics such as “regime change” in Syria and neo-colonial Western interference in Lebanese affairs…

But, like him or not, President Bashar Al-Assad is the only (relatively) secular/modernist ruler left standing between Istanbul and Delhi: toppling the Baathist regime of Damascus at this precise juncture would surely wreak havoc across the whole Middle-East- precisely what Paul David Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld must have had in mind when they decided to invade Iraq 3 years ago.

I hope Gen. Aoun will (re)send to jail notorious war criminals who have massacred tens of thousands of innocent Lebanese civilians from 1975 to 1990: top of the wanted list is a certain Walid « Beyck » Jumblatt who, after having supervised the ethnic cleansing of the Chouf area, was rewarded with the “ministry of refugees” by Khaddam and Hariri père so he could better siphon out all the money earmarked for the orphans of Damour and Souk el Gharb- it’s kind of as if Adolf Hitler had been nominated « minister of death camps survivors » back 1945 !!

At 3/14/2006 05:11:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

The woman has every right to say whats on her mind. If she wants to curse every holyman in Islam on air then so be it, nobody should listen to her if they dont want to.

And Victorino stop copying and pasting every single comment from your blog. get a life man.

And for the record, i disagree with much of what she says, but i still think her and many others saying is very healthy

At 3/14/2006 06:14:00 AM, Blogger ugarit said...

Dr. Sultan does not claim to be a muslim. Judaism , Christianity and Islam have "holy" books which can be used to commit mass murder or perform acts of kindness. It almost does'nt matter what the "holy" books say but how the people behave and frankly I'm ashamed of how many Muslims act.

At 3/14/2006 08:37:00 AM, Blogger FRANCIS said...



At 3/14/2006 08:55:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

"........Palestinian prisoners surrendered but the targets of the siege refused to come out despite Israel's threats to kill them......"

Thought capital punishment is outlawd in Israel. But the GOYYIM for the Jews are expendable garbage.

What a Jewish mentality.

At 3/14/2006 12:28:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

UN probe of Hariri killing reports progress

By Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Reuters) - The U.N. inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri reported progress on Tuesday in identifying how the killing was carried out and said it believes the plotters were experienced in terrorism.

But the investigative commission's latest report to the U.N. Security Council said its inquiry was in a particularly delicate stage and it could not yet name the perpetrators, even though an earlier report had tied the crime to Syrian security officials and their Lebanese counterparts.

"The commission is closer to a more complete understanding of how the preparatory work was undertaken, how those who participated on the day performed their respective tasks, what those tasks were before, during and after the attack and of the overall modus operandi employed by the perpetrators for the attack," the commission said.

It referred to the killing as a highly complex "terrorist operation" and said those involved in carrying it out appeared to be "very 'professional' in their approach, as they planned to a high percentage likelihood for success, and conducted the operation with high standards of individual and collective self-discipline."

"It must be assumed that at least some of those involved were likely experienced in this type of terrorist activity," it said.

The inquiry, led since January by Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz, said cooperation with Syria had improved in the past three months. Earlier commission reports, issued by the probe's previous leader, German Detlev Mehlis, had faulted Damascus for inadequate cooperation.

It said investigators would meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Vice President Farouq al-Shara in April in connection with Hariri's Feb. 14, 2005, assassination.

Assad had previously indicated he would refuse to be interviewed by investigators. An October commission report had accused al-Shara, then Syria's foreign minister, of providing the commission with "false information" in a letter.

Probe closer to understanding blast that killed Hariri

A UN investigation is closer to understanding the circumstances surrounding former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination and has received better cooperation with Syria, according to a report released today.

Yet the chief investigator, Serge Brammertz, refused to disclose many more details about the progress of his investigation into Hariri’s February 14, 2005 assassination in a car bomb that also killed 22 other people.

The 25-page report did say, however, that one of those killed in the blast had not been identified and was possibly one of its perpetrators.
Irish Examiner

At 3/14/2006 03:20:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

More details:

"A significant number of new lines of inquiry, identified since January 2006, have already enabled faster-than-expected progress in two important areas," the report said.

Investigators were also still trying to establish that the Mitsubishi truck used in the bombing had been seen in Syria shortly before the killing and had been driven into Lebanon by a Syrian colonel, as stated in an earlier report.
Reuters, updated

The latter refers to Hussam Taher Hussam's testimony in the first Mehlis report:

"98. The witness visited several Syrian military bases in Lebanon. At one such base, in Hammana, he observed a white Mitsubishi van, with a white tarpaulin over the flatbed. The observations were made on 11, 12 and 13 February 2005. The Mitsubishi left the Military base in Hammana on the morning of 14 February 2005. The Mitsubishi Canter van, which was used as the bomb carrier, entered Lebanon from Syria through the Bekaa border and a military hot lane on 21 January 2005, at 1320 hrs. It was driven by a Syrian Colonel from the Army Tenth Division."
Mehlis report

Hussam later recanted his testimony.

At 3/14/2006 05:43:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Third report of the IIIC established pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1595, 1636 and 1644 (first part)
The Daily Star

I think that the new report still points the finger at Syria, but in a more subtle way, for example:

"3. Those who enabled the crime

36. The Commission believes that there is a layer of perpetrators between those who initially commissioned the crime and the actual perpetrators on the day of the crime, namely those who enabled the crime to occur. Participation in enabling the crime can be tangential or central to its perpetration, and can carry differing levels of criminal liability."

The Lebanese generals would fall into that category.
Or the following:

"4. Those who commissioned the crime

39.The Commission has also begun conducting a series of interviews aimed at clarifying the existence of an alleged informal oral agreement referred to in its previous report as the "Damascus Protocol"."

It is very interesting that Brammertz frequently speaks of "the blasts" (or "the blast/s") instead of "the blast", referring to the possibility of a "combination impact" of two simultaneous blasts, underground and aboveground.

At 3/14/2006 07:50:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Dr Wafa Sultan is beginning to somehow not quite compute. There’s something strange here.

Any agreement and interest I felt when I first starting hearing her comments in mid-2005 is now swamped by doubts and suspicion of her tactics and motives.

Not only is she now revealing how inexcusably ignorant and insensitive she is about key historical and political realities of the Middle East but she is suspiciously focused on stroking Jewish egos and promoting Zionist perspectives. (And selling her book and being a celebrity on Israeli-sponsored circuits).

I thought I was hallucinating when I listened to her on a popular Israeli radio program where the interviewer choked with emotion declared:“You shook my soul with your moral clarity”, then keep repeating at intervals “I love you”.

Dr Wafa responded “I love you too”, then eagerly agreed with him about how much Syrians hate the Jewish people and went on to say schoolchildish things about how to achieve peace. Listen for yourself on http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=19607_Wafa_Sultan_Interviewed

Others are coming to the same conclusion about her. See for example http://www.aqoul.com/archives/2006/03/how_to_be_a_mus.php and http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=1674_0_25_0_M

What a fool! It is a big shame and a wasted opportunity because many thinking people in the Middle East would agree with many of the points she makes.

At 3/14/2006 09:03:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Naseef was killed in Syria, by the police, no trial,he was accused of being Moslem, and aiding the Iraqee resistance,we were told he is terrorist, I do not know anything about him, but I feel much better if he was tried,and found guilty, I believe this is typical of disrespect to human life,and human rights.

At 3/14/2006 09:24:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Two points ,Naseef did not surrender and left no chance for a trial ,The west is allways eager to hounor people from countries they want to embarrase ,they would have been better off hounoring Azmi Bashara who under Israel discremination is fighting every day for the christians and muslem Israelies the right to live in the naibohoods they want and to have equal education and health care but do not expect as they will call that antisemetism.


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