Sunday, May 21, 2006

EU Statement Regarding Arrests in Syria

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union regarding the recent arrests in Syria

Recalling the Presidency’s statement of 19th January, the European Union expresses regret that the positive steps taken in January 2006 regarding the human rights situation in Syria have not been continued. On the contrary, the situation has substantially deteriorated. The EU expresses its deep concern about the recent widespread harassment of human rights defenders, their families and peaceful political activists, in particular arbitrary arrests and repeated incommunicado detention. The European Union calls on the Syrian government to fully respect freedom of expression and assembly as laid down in the Syrian Constitution and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Syria in 1969, which should be fully in force in light of the recent limitation of the emergency law to matters strictly concerning state security.

The European Union urges the Syrian authorities to reconsider all cases of political prisoners and immediately release all prisoners of conscience.
The detention of prominent dissidents has dealt a blow to hopes of political change in Syria, writes Rory McCarthy in the Guardian: Arrested development. He explains how the recent crackdown is motivated by a combination of fear on the part of the Syrian regime, as the Hariri investigation comes to another peek in June and Western pressure has been wratched up to exploit the issue Bramertz' first report, as well as Syrian confidence in its strength following the collapse of the Lebanese national dialogue and victory of Hamas.

Claude Salhani of UPI gives analysis in "Damascus` spring cools further." Warning: Landis quotes included.

UPI wrotes:
Five human rights activists who were arrested by Syrian authorities last week were charged Sunday with inciting sectarian conflict and disrespecting the state,' a national human rights group confirmed.

Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria (NOHR), told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in a telephone call that the prosecutor had questioned the five in the presence of NOHR lawyers and charged them with disrespect of state and inciting sectarian conflict, and dispraising officials and state institutions.'

The five were named as Anwar al-Bunni, Mahmoud Issa, Khalil Hussein, Suleiman Al-Shammar and Mohammed Mahfoud. They were among nine activists arrested last week after signing a declaration that called for an improvement in relations between Syria and Lebanon, urged the exchange of diplomatic representation and the demarcation of borders. All but one of the nine had signed the petition. No date has been set for their prosecution, Qurabi added.
Erdogan: Turkey Is Working On Nuclear Energy To Have A Competitive ...
In response to a question on Syria, Erdogan reiterated that dialogue between the people and government of Syria has increased recently. ''Women's movement is rapidly developing in Syria,'' stated Erdogan.
Adel Safty, President of the School of Government and Leadership, Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, explains how many Turks see the War on Terror in "The roots of Bush's confrontation strategy."


At 5/22/2006 07:21:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

"EU Statement Regarding Arrests in Syria"

Very Reasonable ... I just wish they do the same for Egypt and Jordan and saudi ...

But, again, I found this "pressure" language very acceptable. Unlike what comes out of the state department sometimes.

At 5/22/2006 08:54:00 PM, Blogger VIVA LIBAN said...

They were arrested for accepting payment from Syrian State enemies as payment for signing on a Zionist-Western neo Sykes-Picot document calling for the separation of one nation and one country into Two. So that the Lebanon part can be used as a bribes and corruption earned cash dump, and an expanded operation area for Jewish pimps to put to work all those young girls, kidnapped by Jews from Moslem states (Iraqi-Turkmenistan etc.) and former Soviet State to work as Sex slaves for $3 a trick. Just like those thousands of clubs sprung all over in curse it unholy dump where the Jews and Jesus lives.

Strange, that a devout Communist who spent all his life dreaming of a one world communist government would agree for mere few Dollars to put his name to the list and sign on a separation of his own country.

Well, we are (devout Syrians and Lebanese) very lucky to have President Bashar Assad is in full control and this prove it.

At 5/22/2006 11:55:00 PM, Blogger qunfuz said...

Viva Liban,
I must warn you that a combination of LSD and cocaine can seriously damage your health. If you must do drugs, just smoke spliffs. You'll feel much better, and before too long you'll find that you don't see any more Jewish pimps or feel the need to use the word 'Jesus' as an insult.

At 5/23/2006 03:54:00 AM, Blogger souria el hora said...

I think assad is doing all this because he knows the end of his dictatorship is coming to an end soon. He is afraid, and therefore putting everyone that could cause a threat in prison. But this will only make more damage to the country. Time isn’t our side here, we have to act. Am I the only one here that feels that I am not doing enough for my country? So what should we do? Whose side should we take? Should the whole country unite to take Assad down or should we all stand next to him and fight the international threats.
If the whole country stood next to Assad, what would happen???
We’ll have to say goodbye to any sort of democracy, the economy won’t get any better, the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer but Syria will be a secure place to live in if you don’t mess with the government.
Let’s look at the other option, what if the whole country got together and took Assad down. Then we will have democracy, but some pple will ask if this country is ready for democracy. Well I am sorry to inform those persons that the Americans weren’t the first pple to have democracy since it was there in the 6th century BC in Ancient Greece.
I have talked about this with a member of the national salvation front and he assured me that the constitution will be wrote in such a way that no party will be able to rule with an absolute power, so the people shouldn’t be afraid of the Muslim brothers since even if they wanted to, they won’t be able to implement religious laws.
The economy will boom, since most investors would want to invest in Syria, and Syrians in exile will come back and build the country like they always wanted to.
If all Syrians stood together, security won’t be a problem. There shouldn’t even be a period of instability since the opposition is forming a government in exile, so the country won’t stay not even for a minute without a leader and a government.
So it seems logical that if we all join the opposition, we will find ourselves in a better place, and the country we grew in will be safe for our children to live in.

At 5/23/2006 02:34:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I decided to post this comment here too after I did so on Ammar's site.

Last Wednesday, a 29-year-old Istanbul lawyer walked into Turkey’s highest administrative court, declared, “I am a soldier of Allah” and shot five judges. This Ankara court in February ruled against a head-scarved nursery school teacher. The assassin said he wanted to “punish” the judges for upholding laws that date back to the founding of Ataturk’s republic.

The above incident has been blamed on the religious government of Erdogan. The judges’ pictures had appeared in an extremist newspaper, and their requests for better security after receiving death threats were ignored by the government. The thousands of demonstrators criticizing the government have been urged to continue by the chief of the military. Mr. Erdogan denounced the shooting and then the general for butting into politics.

If Turkey can still experience such scenes after more than 80 years of authoritarian secularism, what hope would a country like Syria have should the Moslem brothers or other fundamentalists reach power?

Thus far, Bashar has shown no sign that he is qualified to lead this nation. Having said this, letting the country fall into the hands of a religious group would be far worse. As critical as I have been of this leadership, the truth is that Hafez Assad did have a honeymoon period between 1970 and 1978 when the country’s economy boomed. The Moslem Brothers of course had other ideas. Their attempt to topple the regime has put the country on a downhill slope ever since. The Alawi led regime has decided that this is about its survival. Under the façade of one Syrian people, the reality has been an “us against them” attitude ever since. I don’t think there is any point sugar-coating this fact.
A lot of people keep asking why Bashar does not do what is good for the country. What they seem to assume is that Bashar feels as the leader of one country and one people.

I beg to differ.

At 5/23/2006 03:23:00 PM, Blogger Alawites for Syria said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/23/2006 04:12:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/23/2006 04:13:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/23/2006 05:53:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Keep deleting. This will not delay the fall of the Assad Regime a single day.


At 5/23/2006 06:45:00 PM, Blogger souria el hora said...

Don't you think that if we keep thinking that way the country will never get better. If we always say that this and that may happen if assad is out of power we will always remain a poor country and the education is going to get worse and therefore people will get more and more religious and extremist. So time isn’t really on our side, we can't wait any longer, we have to act before this gets out of hands, because before you know it Syria will be just like Afghanistan.

At 5/23/2006 07:20:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Yes Sir,

As you may know, I have long argued that time is not on our side and that our challenges as a country are immense. I never said that if Assad were to be removed “we will always remain a poor country”. It is socialism that is keeping us a poor country. It is the lack of private sector vigor that is holding us back. Our education system also needs a massive overhaul as you pointed out. To have scores upon scores of graduates with such poor foreign language skills is shameful for example. But, we cannot ignore the risks involved with religious extremism. These tendencies have been bottled up for years and once they are allowed to expand and take over, it will be mighty hard to reverse that trend. This is a hypothesis of course. A lot of people (my own old father for example) claim that Syria is a different country and that religious extremism will not find a foothold in our society. I am personally not entirely convinced.

At 5/23/2006 07:26:00 PM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

Ehsani I see you use Turkey as a good anology to Syria in many respects. I ask you and others whether one could draw meaningful analogies between Syria and Pre-Islamic Revolution Iran. ie I wonder if Assad fell, could a similiar regime could rise up and strangle Syria? I know the Iranian people in general are not too religious and the women especially would prefer not to be so restricted in public. Is this a scenerio that you could envision happening in Syria? I don't know much about the similarities between the Iranian and Syrian people, so I really can't form too much of an educated guess. Would enjoy anyone's take on the matter.

And interesting issue with Turkey. But I don't think the ruling so-called 'religious' government of Erdogan is to blame. With no real knowledge of internal Turkish issues, I'll venture to guess that this kind of incident is a result of a general feeling among Muslims that Islam is under attack. America's "War on Terror", invasion of Iraq and the Prophet cartoons have all contributed to this feeling. And so we see a 'fight or flight' human reaction--in this case this misguided man chose to fight.

At 5/23/2006 07:29:00 PM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

Souria El Hora, do you even believe your storybook scenerio of Syria without Assad has even a small chance of happening? Economy booming--with such uncertainty of a new untested regime??? Exiles coming back--when there is no longer a strong security force to make sure they are safe? Unfortunately I think this is a dream--it is far more likely that either one group takes rapid control, or more liklier that there is a power struggle. The people will not stand united--“The mob has many heads but no brain.” Even worse is a mob with many heads and a cunning exterior brain willing to exploit this mob.

Alex, I would prefer even more be done for these activists. I hope these words are being backed by more threats in private. This kind of thugery of the regime should not be allowed to happen--not by people of conscious.

At 5/23/2006 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

I hate to agree with you on this post, I hate to think that most of the Syrian peoples has been living with sectarian minds, but most of the facts on the ground do points to your conclusion!! It's a sad fact that The regime\MB choose travel this road.

At 5/23/2006 07:58:00 PM, Blogger souria el hora said...

If we keep saying that, we will never have a change!
The opposition was never that united. The inside and outside opposition are working together. The only excluded opposition leaders are farid alghadri and rifaat el assad, and the country will be better off without them.
I don't believe there will be a struggle for power since there will be a government in exile already in place which will take power as soon as assad is dealt with. This is not a dream, but the nearby future. But if everyone keeps saying that it's impossible well its going to be harder.
Nothing is impossible; it’s just how much we are willing to go to reach our goal. Hypocrisy will play an important roll now since people will start saying that a person less wouldn't make any difference, but they are wrong, a single person can make the difference between freedom and suppression.

At 5/23/2006 08:41:00 PM, Blogger syrian said...

souria el hora,

Name one person who has the credibility and the following to unite the people behind him.

Khaddam and the MBs may as well join up with Ghadry and Rifaat because they are just as credible.

From what seems to be the consensus, you either unite behind people who you cannot trust (the external opposition) or behind people who cannot agree (the internal opposition.) Until a strong and credible figure emerges, I think most Syrians will bet on the relative security and the goodwill of the current regime.

At 5/23/2006 08:44:00 PM, Blogger syrian said...

I hope George Ajjan will share the results, prelimnary as they maybe, from the syriapol with us soon.

At 5/23/2006 09:05:00 PM, Blogger George Ajjan said...

yes, there will be preliminary results of syriapol soon. I am sorry for the delay. There were technical problems and more importantly the website was partially blocked from being viewed inside Syria. No, it was not by the Syrian government. I will explain all of this very shortly. I look forward to sharing the results with everyone.

At 5/24/2006 04:32:00 AM, Blogger souria el hora said...

Khaddam and the MBs are better suited to lead us than bashar is. At least for a transitory government, the experience and knowledge of khaddam and the big supporters of the MBs is more than enough, it's perfect. The MBs are a political party with a lot of supporters, its views have changed and now they want a democratic government where state and religion aren't associated. Khaddam is a very intelligent man, he can keep the country united and he has a lot of connections that are vital to the opposition both inside and outside Syria. He also has his supporters, mostly outside the capital.
And who told u that the internal opposition is divided, well I can assure you they are all united for one cause.


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