Sunday, June 25, 2006

Odds and Ends

I will be traveling for a week and won't be able to post, alas.

Here are a few worthy articles:

In the "American Conservative," Divided & Conquered: A visit to Syria, Israel, and Palestine reveals the barriers—physical as well as political—to Mideast peace: By Scott McConnell, July 3, 2006.

Syria cracks down on dissent by Anoushka Marashlian, for "Open Democracy," 19 - 6 - 2006.
The domestic, regional and exile pressures on Bashar al-Assad's regime are still a long way from threatening regime change in Damascus, says Anoushka Marashlian.

Compare the al-Hayat story by Walid Choucair to Slackman's
Syria is Not Iran - Jun 24, 2006: It is natural for Syria to want to open up to the influential Arab states at this stage. The question that is mostly raised in the ...

Wary of U.S., Syria and Iran Strengthen Ties
Michael Slackman and Katherine Zoepf in the NYTimes June 25, 2006

SAYEDA ZEINAB, Syria, June 24 — For a long time, the top-selling poster in Hassan al-Sheikh's gift shop here showed President Bashar al-Assad of Syria seated beside the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon. A few weeks ago a slightly different poster overtook it, this one with the Syrian president, the Hezbollah leader and Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr. Sheikh's shop is on a bustling street in Sayeda Zeinab beside the entrance to a Shiite shrine that shares a name with the town, and both have been packed with Iranian pilgrims, many more than in years past.

Those changes illustrate what may well be a worrying phenomenon for Washington as it seeks to contain Iran and isolate Syria: the two governments, and their people, are tightening relations on several fronts as power in the region shifts away from the once dominant Sunni to Shiites, led by Iran.

This is, in part, the result of the American installation of a Shiite-dominated government in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-led government. But it is also spurred by the growing belief in Arab capitals that the Bush administration may soon negotiate a deal with Tehran over Iraq and nuclear weapons.

Arab governments once hostile to Iran have begun to soften their public posture after decades of animosity toward Tehran. President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt met Iran's national security chief, Ali Larijani, in Cairo recently, and Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, visited Tehran this month and declared the two nations to be good friends. In addition, Iranian officials recently sent messages of friendship to every Persian Gulf state.

Amid all that activity, Syria has managed to inflate its power in the region by playing a subtle double game and setting itself up as a possible go-between.

On one hand, it is offering Iran the chance to develop a strong and unified crescent of influence extending from Syria to the Palestinian territories, now led by Hamas, a Syrian and Iranian ally. On the other, Syria, which has a secular-oriented government but is made up of different religious sects and ethnic groups, has held itself out as an important player in the Sunni effort to limit the spread of Shiite influence. That has helped it with Arab countries and has attracted investment from the around the gulf, diplomats and political analysts in Syria said.

"Syria will work to use its role as a pivotal point to get the most from both the Arabs and Iranians," said Ayman Abdel Nour, a political analyst and Baath Party member who works for more political freedoms.

Syria's strategy has helped it win crucial support at a time when it is cut off from the United States and Europe. But political analysts and government officials say it is also a risky strategy, one that could weaken Syria if Iran cuts a deal with the West over its nuclear program — and abandons its ally in Damascus.

"Syrian officials are worried about America making a deal with Iran," said Marwan Kabalan, a political science professor at Damascus University. "Syrians fear that Iranians will use them as a card to buy something from America."

At the same time, Iran's efforts to bolster Shiism in parts of Syria come as the government here is confronted by the rise of radical Islamic ideas that many say are being exported from the gulf region. Though relations with Iran are widely perceived as a political alliance rather than a religious one, the confluence of the two forces could aggravate sectarian rivalries. Tensions among Syria's many religious and ethic groups burn so hot beneath the surface of the society that newspapers are forbidden from identifying sects even when reporting on Iraq.

Syria and Iran began establishing closer ties decades ago, but the real strides have been recent.

Syria has signed expanded military and economic agreements with Tehran covering everything from telecommunications projects to higher education. Syria will buy missiles from Iran. Iran will build cement and car plants in Syria.

At the same time, Arab nations that have been cool to Syria are now reaching out to it. Syria received the king of Bahrain this month, he met Thursday with Mr. Mubarak, and this week President Assad held a telephone conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan. Relations between Amman and Damascus became strained when Jordanian officials accused Syria of allowing Hamas to smuggle weapons across Syrian territory and into Jordan — charges Syria has denied.

"Iran injected Syria with a lot of confidence: stand up, show defiance," said Sami Moubayed, a political analyst and writer in Damascus. "Iran is giving them advice. This is certain."

European diplomats here said that Syria's turn away from the West — and toward Iran and other Eastern countries — had also been part of a domestic power struggle between two forces within the government. Those who favored at least trying to keep a foot in the door with Europe have been silenced, and those seeking to shift Syria toward the East have been empowered, said the diplomats who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid aggravating tensions between their governments and Damascus.........

Damascus (AsiaNews) Syria Poses Conditions for Dialogue With Beirut
The Syrian Information Minister Mohsin Bilal, said that first "we have to wait until internal Lebanese dialogue is concluded" (started in Beirut in March and going on intermittently since). He told a delegation of Lebanese journalists, including the AsiaNews correspondent: "When you have finished your meetings, you will be welcome in Syria".

Bilal emphasized the availability of his government to start sincere dialogue, without mediation, between the two countries before dealing with practical issues. "Don't expect Syria to ask anyone to mediate between us and Lebanon," he warned, underlining the importance of existing agreements "which must be respected." This was a response to calls by the anti-Syrian coalition in Lebanon, which is demanding a review of all agreements Lebanon signed with Syria in the past.

The minister clearly said Damascus will receive anyone who wants to go to Syria, "on condition they don't pass through Washington or Paris." Lebanon has asked for a meeting with Syrian officials, but Damascus has been reluctant to invite Prime Minister Fuad Siniora for talks. In a wider context, the reference here is to international pressure exerted by the United States, France and Great Britain, which have promoted a series of UN resolutions regarding Lebanon. The most unpalatable for Damascus is Resolution 1559 of the Security Council that calls on Syria to end its interference in Lebanese affairs, to define its borders and to establish diplomatic ties with Beirut. Bilal called on the French government "to play its historic role", distancing itself from the USA, which is only following "its self-interest" in the region.

Today, the Syrian press reported government sources saying that yesterday's meeting between the Syrian President, Bashar Assad and his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, mediator in the Lebanese-Syrian conflict, "did not yield any positive outcome". Damascus even took the opportunity to reiterate that "for the moment, the issues of the border and diplomatic ties will be not discussed."

Already at the beginning of the week, the Syrian Foreign Affairs Minister Walid Muallem had said that "this is not the right time to establish diplomatic ties" between Syria and Lebanon. However the Lebanese MP, Saad Hariri was more optimistic. Yesterday, in Paris, where he met President Chirac, the son of the ex-Premier Rafic Hariri, killed last year, said diplomatic ties with Syria "are possible".
Exiled leader of Muslim Brotherhood in Syria ready to hold peace ...


At 6/26/2006 03:56:00 AM, Blogger Lira = 1500 said...

[URL=""]Assad in his latest interview, Al Hayat newspaper[/URL]

At 6/26/2006 09:58:00 AM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

congratulation, Mauritania.
I hope Syria has similar changes,plus make the officials accountable for the money they stole. and the crimes they commited, we need freedom, democracy, and an end to corruption.

At 6/26/2006 10:04:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Hi Joshua, sorry to hear that you will be travelling for a week. We will miss your "Baathist" comments.
I found that you are one of the most open-mindedly informed Americans about conditions in Syria. What you may
lack about in-depth readings regarding Syria and Arabism history, you make up for with your first hand knowledge and contacts with many Syrians.
Have a nice trip and we hope that by the time your back, the Cedar revolution would have came back to thier senses, Brammertz has found Al Harriri conspirators, the Muslim Brotherhood has struck a deal with Israel and the hardheaded Syrian authority has been replaced by a more modern, liberal, elightehened and open-minded than now, Hizbullah has been disarmed, the 14 th February true saviors of Lebanon has overcome the resistance of thier foes and have managed to unite Lebanon and all its's other " minority" factions under its flag -of course in their strive to achive democracy, soverignity,independence,economic development, nice touristic season, and of course to eradicate al-fasad in Lebanon -and elsewhere of course- but after they clean thier own house, Olmert has finished off what is left of the Palestinians, or the Palestinians have after 60 years of resistance had decieded to listen to advice and has agreed to Israel's terms and conditions, whatever the heck those conditions or wishes are, Iraq has finally began to enjoy the blessing of US democracy and is really in control of its natural resources for the benifits of its people, bin laden has been caught and exposed for who, what and why he did what he did, the Muslim World has come around to understanding the "truth" that whatever the US Admin is doing is really done in the interest of its well being, and , ahhh.. that Ahmad Najad has been assured by the West that nobody bids him ill well and has decided to give up his nukes peaceful or otherwise, what else could we wish to be accomplished by your return......???
I gusse the above will be sufficient for the time being.
Have a nice trip, consider launching a blog dealing with eradicating world poverty, containing HIV, dealing with the enlarging hole up in the sky; they will be more fun subjects and a lot less demanding than the blog you are handling right now.
Nice Trip

At 6/26/2006 11:44:00 AM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

I think you missed so many other things, like things in China,Bolivia,and yes Las vegas.

At 6/26/2006 01:57:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...


You are right as the list is long, but I hate long goodbyes.

At 6/26/2006 02:16:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

I think Josh is going to Syria.

At 6/26/2006 04:32:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

This comment has been removed because it linked to malicious content. Learn more.

At 6/26/2006 05:53:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Alex, his comments are pathetic...I hope he hires someone to write the bullshit and spare himself the disgust.

You told me on my blog to wait 5 years before things will be normal...with official people and views like that -and he was supposed to be moderate and a new face, may be my grandson (and I am still not married) has a slight chance of going back in 100 years.
Enough "maskhara" comdedy,
and Freedom for Michel Kilo

Also an friendly advise Alex, don't even waist your time trying to ask for Kilo's freedom from him, it would be a pure waist of energy, just ask him to be original and try to come up with new excuses next time to justify "Istihbal Al Sha3ab" thingking the people are dumm and stupid.

At 6/26/2006 06:03:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

I also would like to add that his comments and contribution are a disgrace to the Creative Syria website. He should subscribe to a new website that I'll create for him and his masters "How to Suffocate Syria and Lebanon"...

I can't decide whether my future grandson in 100 year would be under Hafez the 3rd or Bashar the 3rd or Maher the Second from the Assad Clan, or may be Makhlouf will do a white coup and it would be Rami the 3rd...It could be the Shawkat clan however and in that case Assef with Hafez still a possibility...It is hard to focus when the choices are too many. Why can't Bashar be immortal and rule for 500 years since his first 6 were so enjoyable...But wait he won't have enough land to build prisons on...may be he'll have space contracts to send them to Mars or Hell...

At 6/26/2006 06:28:00 PM, Blogger HARBOOK said...

Revolution does not begin with crude bitching. Start from a higher road.

At 6/26/2006 06:41:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...


I don't know if you are addressing me, but I am not calling for a revolution, all I am asking for is Freedom for Michel Kilo which apparently is too much to ask for.

Since we don't have freedom of speech in Syria, and we have it here then I am intending on using all methods and styles of writing to get my points across and who ever has 2 ears or in the blogs case 2 eyes then they might listen or read!

At 6/27/2006 12:13:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6/27/2006 12:39:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Fares (and Ammar, if you visit here),

Reading your comments today I got the impression that Syria is led by this doctor .

First, I assume that you want me to play “devil’s advocate” again.

I will next assume that you and Ammar found both Dr. Moustapha’s article this week at Creative Syria, and the President’s interview with Alhayat to be:

1) Not honest, misleading: But since when are politicians supposed to say the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth? … would you disagree with me if I claim that almost every interview or speech by any national leader out there could include a mixture of truth, half truth, non-answers, and the most common: generic answers that are meant to avoid giving the real answer while hinting to it. Why is it that Bashar should be held to a uniquely high standard? … when you become a soldier, you should be prepared to kill, a political leader? .. you should be prepared to play the game like your fellow club members play it. Seniora is “a nice person” Bashar too, and he was simply matching Seniora’s sweet words, but not very sweet actions.

2) Foolish, wrong: How do you know? How does Ammar know? … is the game over? Did the Syrians lose to the Lebanese? To the Saudis? The Americans? … if the Lebanese/Saudi/American press is not giving their Syrian “opponents” good marks, does that mean I should accept them as fair judges?. I am not saying Syria is consistently doing the right thing (as the regime men claim) but I am not stuck in last year’s mentality when it looked like Bahsar and Co. are totally lost when it comes to playing the games of international relations. That impression was after Syria was forced to leave Lebanon (which was a good thing) and it LOOKED like they surely killed Hariri and it LOOKED like they will be caught tomorrow because they were so stupid in the obvious way they planned the assassination. As we know by now .. we know nothing yet. That impression we got was mostly the making of the less-than-reliable Lebanese and Kuwaiti press. A lot of last year’s stories, and analysis was simply a bunch of wishes. So I don’t find it prudent to make final judgments on the success or failure of Syrian foreign policy. I am of the opinion that we should not get happy or angry yet. We really do not know the final results.

But I agree that in general we do have a P.R. problem. It seems the Syrians are much more focused on appealing to the Arab masses at the expense of their ability to communicate with the west.

Although, there are some efforts to improve things . Not all reports are negative.

At 6/27/2006 12:39:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

As for Michel Kilo. You know my opinions there. But point (1) above also addresses the case of having political prisoners. “bad” … but they all do it. The “wrongs” in his case are:

1) The regimes in the Middle East have no tolerance to different opinions, which is sadly the case for most people as well, not only the regimes.

2) They assume they ALWAYS know better.

3) Michel’s signing on the Lebanon declaration was a bit confrontational, knowing the mood between Syria, and the current Lebanese government. I am against forcing Syria to send an ambassador today. This is a loaded issue. Next year I would love to see that Ambassador in Beirut, but I think Michel’s support of this pressure today was not wise.

4) In general, western reporters who interview Michel (and Anwar) always drop the nice things that these opposition intellectuals say and publish instead the most powerful criticism parts. This gives the impression to the Syrian regime that Michel is “not honest and not fair”. I know for a fact (from a friend who is an American journalist who interviewed Michel) that Michel said some nice things about Bahsar… those never make it to the final print.

At 6/27/2006 12:58:00 AM, Blogger HARBOOK said...


I feel that your friend must be free. His intellect languishes. But we must realize the truth which keeps this yoke about the neck. The Syrians are content. They have no pen or sword of dissent, for there is no passion in its draw. The masses remain coddled and asleep. They have that laissez faire attitude it seems…let it ride on black baby as the wheel swirls. A president for a month, a year, a quarter century. It is as dramatic as an Egyptian soap. How can you expect the Syrian population to dream Kilo free. His freedom is a drop in a box of rain. We are a civil society without a care, drunk and daydreaming in a sunlit field. Blame it on Assad dammit. Blame it on King George and his occupying army from the far shore.

Find their pulse and that will be the locks key.

At 6/27/2006 01:35:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6/27/2006 01:37:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...


I really congratulate you for telling me now that Michel Kilo was confrontational! What does it matter if he said something or he did not! he should be entitled to his opinion, it is not like he has 5 million followers waiting for his order to grap power!

And again you amaze me how comfortable you feel defending the regime knowing really well that they don't intend on doing anything except preserving their power, and in the process assassinate anyone internal or external who poses the slight danger to them (assassination could be physical or virtual-like putting people in prison or firing them from their job or threatening them or their families or putting their name on the border, you name it).

Bashar might not be Dr Evil (it is not really comical to compare him to a funny character), but he is certainly Evil junior and he is not showing me that he is in control or he must be the dummest person on Earth and he should be fired for ignoring the basic steps to get Syria forward, he brought all the pressure on one told him to extend Lahoud's term or kill Hariri or ally himself with Iran or putting people in prison. In that same interview of Al hayat, he said: "This is an internal matter and no one tells them what to do!" who is he :GOD!!!!!!!! the Syrian people were not created by him and don't owe him anything...His diapers were being changed when Michel Kilo started writing!

But like you said people should accept other people's different opinion or point of views and I accept yours because I know that you chose this role out of your love for Syria and certainly not of love for these criminal thugs.

Don't free Michel Kilo, just kill him so he does not suffer would do the world a service since he is probably a member of AL Qaeda that are now prospering in Lebanon because Bashar's useless army left the lebanese soil. Anything for public consumption even for the americans is welcome news, he is going to succeed Kadhaffi pretty soon as the arabs clown.

At 6/27/2006 01:50:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Harbook, thanks for your pessimism...this is currently the hopeless mood that we are in...But Michel Kilo will create thousands of him and justice will prevail.

Tyrants will be brought down sooner or later, the more mistakes they commit the more they incriminate themselves and no matter how powerful they look and how they can crush all weak and helpless people...

Revolutions don't start out of nothing but they do start and Assad is burning all his cards slowly, his regime and society is already becoming more islamic and that will burn him. Iran will become his biggest headache and the arab regimes will be happy to see him humilated like Saddam Hussein or worse.

At 6/27/2006 07:17:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Sam F. Ghattas still can't make up his mind:

Syria vs. Islamist militants: is it hype?

Let's see: there have been confirmed incidents of al-Qa'ida terrorism in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. When somebody sneezes on Pennsylvania Avenue it is terrorism (with CNN Breaking News coverage), but when there is an incident in Syria it is just "terrorism" and hype. Give me a break!

At 6/27/2006 08:54:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

Syria: Plain sailing?
885 words
1 July 2006
Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Middle East
Business Middle East
Number x
(C) 2006 The Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd.
The IMF has lent weight to government claims that the economy is in good shape, despite falling oil output and the pariah status of the Bashar al-Assad regime. But there are important caveats

The good news is that the non-oil economy is showing robust rates of growth, the balance of payments outlook is positive and the fiscal accounts have shown marked improvement over the past two years, even though oil-related proceeds have declined by almost 6 percentage points of GDP. On a more sobering note, the IMF observes that the dwindling of oil reserves poses a serious challenge to fiscal and external sustainability, that the unemployment situation is “precarious” and that the business climate is clouded with “growing political uncertainties”—a reference to the pressures faced by the Assad regime owing to its presumed role in the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, in February 2005.


The prompt publication of the IMF Article IV mission’s statement in late May was a first for Syria, reflecting a more open approach to economic policy matters since the appointment of Abdullah al-Dardari, the regime’s principal champion of economic reform, as first deputy prime minister for economic affairs in June 2005. Likewise, the appearance of last year’s full Article IV report in October broke new ground in terms of disclosure. At the same time, however, the IMF says that the government should not become over-reliant on the technical assistance it receives from international agencies, and should devote adequate resources to develop an autonomous technical capacity to design and monitor policies. This observation can be seen as an implicit, but gentle, warning to Mr Dardari of the pitfalls of using the IMF and donor agencies as proxies in the internal debate on economic policy.

Shortly before the IMF report appeared Mr Dardari announced to a business conference in Damascus that real GDP growth in the non-oil sector was 5.5% in 2005, reflected in higher non-oil exports and a big increase in tourism income. Mr Dardari omitted to give a detailed breakdown, and the published reports of his remarks did not include any reference to overall GDP growth, including the oil sector. The IMF report offers some illumination. It states that preliminary data suggest that a strengthening of domestic demand, together with a robust performance of exports, “may have boosted non-oil growth” to about 5.5% from 5% in 2004. It appends a footnote stating that “overall growth was limited to 3 percent, given the decline in oil production”.

The IMF also notes that economic growth was fuelled to a large extent by excess liquidity in the Gulf Arab states and by a loosening of credit controls in Syria itself. Its analysis of the sharp increase in credit to the private sector in 2005 notes that most of the new funds came from state-owned banks, with a strong bias towards consumer loans. It adds that this rapid expansion of credit is likely to have weakened the quality of the banks’ loan portfolios. It was also an important factor in the rise in consumer inflation to 7% at end-2005, compared with 4.5% in 2004.

The IMF also provides some critical context to the improvement in Syria’s fiscal indicators, with the non-oil budget deficit narrowing by 2.5 percentage points of GDP in 2005, following a 1.75-point reduction the previous year. It notes that the main reason for this was a sharp rise in public-enterprise surpluses, arising principally from the government’s share in expanding mobile-phone revenue and from public-sector bank profits. As such, the IMF comments that this raises questions about the sustainability of this “ostensible improvement”, particularly given the poor accounting standards in Syria and the opaque way in which public enterprise accounts are consolidated. The overall budget deficit remained unchanged at 4.2% of GDP, owing to the decline in oil revenue (higher prices failing to offset falling output).

Mr Dardari has frankly acknowledged the challenges that Syria faces in light of its historic legacy of poor economic performance and in the context of dwindling oil revenue. He has drawn up a five-year plan aiming to accelerate economic growth to 7% by 2010 and to bring down unemployment to 8% (from about 20% now). The plan includes a strong fiscal consolidation strategy, with the introduction of value-added tax (VAT) in 2008, and envisages a major increase in private investment in response to structural economic reforms. The IMF applauds the government’s intention to bring in VAT, but urges the authorities to apply the tax to virtually all goods and services, rather than to limit its coverage to a few sectors in a bid to shield the poor from price increases—that latter goal can be better achieved through imposing thresholds and targeting financial assistance. The IMF also strongly recommends that the government phase out petroleum price subsidies, and press ahead with its plans to float the Syrian pound. Some aspects of the plan come in for criticism, in particular the provision for a 7 percentage-points of GDP increase in public debt, which the Fund describes as imprudent.

At 6/27/2006 09:06:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Chinese whispers:

Syria accuses Lebanon of sheltering al-Qaida linked militants

Obviously based on a misleading AP headline:

Syria claims Lebanon shelters militants

And here is what Bashar al-Asad really said:

Islamic extremists hiding out in Lebanon: Assad

"We are chasing a lot of groups and a number of them have escaped from Syria to Lebanon because it's closest and easiest through mountainous roads," Assad said in an interview with the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat.

At 6/27/2006 09:17:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...


The last thing I wanted was to get on your nerves. But I hope you can consider that there are good things that some people do that end up causing bad outcomes. Here are examples

1) When Kilo got into the Syrian Lebanese conflict. There is no question that in an ideal world (as Joshua says) he has the right to advocate publicly his opinions and vues. But when you look out from your window and see two sides with machine guns fighting over something, this is not the best time to go and show support to one of the two sides, even if you have every right to do so.

2) Those wonderful journalists who interview Kilo and the other secular opposition leaders and filter out all the comments except the most heavily regime critical comments, gave the impression to the hardliners in the regime that Kilo is so one-sided in his hate to them. This is simply not true. As I told you, I already heard some of his unpublished opinions which were very balanced and mentioned the good and the bad.

So again, well intentioned western journalists end up doing their additional role in getting Kilo in jail.

Fares, I hope at least you agree with me that while many of the secular Syrians (regime and opposition) are too busy fighting each other, the fundamentalists are left in peace to advance their goals and setup new realities in Syria. Sami Moubayed wrote an excellent piece today that I hope you will read.

So my approach is: Michel Kilo was doing exactly the right thing until he exercised his right to express his solidarity with the Lebanese demands. I wish he did not do that. He should be out there putting some sense into everyone's mind.

And finally, what counts is impressions and not facts. Since Kilo is a Christian and since he worked for (and got paid from) an "anti Syria" lebanese Christian newspaper, he, should not risk giving the impression that "Syrian Christians are siding with Christian Lebanese against their country" ... an impression that many regular Syrians got, as you noticed on the many Arabic Syrian news sites.

And finally, some of the regime men that you dislike are not as bad as you think. They just know how to control their right to express their opinions in order to continue being a moderating force for change, instead of ending up on the sidelines ...for nothing.

At 6/27/2006 09:26:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Mr. Kilo most likely got into trouble for his “obituaries” article more than the Syria-Lebanon declaration, as many seem to think. I encourage everyone to read the article that I cite. I was personally astounded that he would write such a piece. Unless Mr. Kilo thought that he was living in Norway, I cannot possibly see how he could have personally been surprised by his arrest.

At 6/27/2006 09:47:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Ehsani can you (or anyone) post that article or its link?

At 6/27/2006 10:00:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I am trying to find the original Arabic version. The above link has the English one if you scroll to bottom I believe.

At 6/27/2006 10:49:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Alex, Ehsani...

The original translation of the article in French is on my site, one of my dear friends did it and the link that Ehasanni posted badly translate it into English

and here is the introduction in English

I'll comment on your wonderful arguments later

At 6/27/2006 10:52:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I think that only the original Arabic version does the article full justice.
It was posted by one of the participants in the comments section here a while back

At 6/27/2006 11:13:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Burhan Ghaliyoun last week in an interview with an Arab newspaper ... it implies advice to the western powers trying to modernize Syria and Iraq ... start with economic reforms that show results instead of going into a fight with the existing regimes.... political reform comes naturally after.

- لكن هل يمكن القول أن مشروع
التحديث ليس أمامه أفق؟

عندما تعطى الشعوب أملا، كما فعل الاتحاد الاروبي مع تركيا - ليس فقط بوعدها الدخول في الاتحاد، بل باستثمار المليارات من الدولارات التي تخلق فرص العمل، وتطور الصناعة، وتعطي للانسان شعورا بأن للحداثة فوائد وفيها ايجابيات، وليست كلها قتل وضرب وسجن، كما هو الحال في البلدان العربية - عندما يتم ذلك، يحدث التحول. في هذه الحالة، حتى الاسلامين تحولوا من الداخل، واصبحوا مقتنعين بالعمل مع الغرب الحديث، وادركوا أن الحداثة منظومة دولية، وواقع تاريخي. وهكذا فهموا أنه ليس أمامنا اختيار، فإما أن نفاوض حتى ندخل الحداثة الحقيقية المنتجة والمبدعة لقيم أخلاقية وإنسانية ومادية أيضا، أو أصف على قارعة الطريق واقبل بحداثة هامشية. فنحن لسنا مخيرين بين القبول بالحداثة أو الاحتفاظ بالتراث. لم يعد احد قادر على الحياة في التراث ولا العودة إليه، مهما حصل. إن ما هو مطروح علينا، إذا لم ننجح بانتزاع شروط حداثة منتجة ومبدعة وبناءة وحيوية، هو البقاء في نموذج حداثة رثة، فقيرة، ضعيفة بدون قيم ولا روح.

At 6/27/2006 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...


A few weeks ago I ahd some respect for you when you said that putting Michael Kilo in prison is wrong.

I see that you are trying to finess your position now, by blaming the problem partially on his outspoken remarks at such a critical time for our nation and at being misrepresneted by journalists.

So are you comfortable to live in a country where security services read the papers in the morning and then make a judgement call on who they should arrest. And are you comfortable in the role of the intellectual who will defend these practices?

At 6/27/2006 12:34:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


You will be surprised at who else agrees with you and me that putting Kilo in prison was a serious setback for Syria. Things are not "us against them". Ther are good people on "both sides".

There are two options to achieve desired change in Syria:

1) revolutionary
2) calculated, continuously adaptive.

The first one is the type that might be more effective when most of the environmental conditions are friendly.

They are not. There was this perception last year that the Syrian regime is totally lost, totally weak .. and that the Lebanese/French/Americans/Saudis will help the internal opposition to get rid of the regime with ease.

It is time we admit that this is simply not the case. And we also need to admit that a majority of syrian people are still more interested in their peace of mind and safety for their children. They want economic reforms and fighting corruption, and that I always advocate and push for. I am simply not more revolutionary thatnt the gret majority of the Syrian people.

So the second approach to change is to put aside the ideal wolrd hopes, and start with a more realistic step by step type of change... again, something that takes the path of least resistance.

We all would love to sometimes scream out loud against all the things that are wrong in Syria ... but what's the net result? Kilo in jail, Ammar in Washington ... seculars and intellectuals on the side.

The rules of the game for today, are: you can ask for reform, you can work hard for education and economic reforms, you can criticize everything internal without naming specific names.

This gives us a lot of options to do good things. Not everything is on the table of course. But are we going to wait until we are allowed (by force?) to get political reforms before we do anything good for Syria?

At 6/27/2006 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Alex keep dreaming for better put your faith in the wrong people. In fact they are turning Syria into an islamic state while secular people like yourself applaud them.

All what Bashar is capable and wants to do in terms of reform is listen the Austrian opera performs in Damascus...but he does not mind inflaming the people at the mosques with security-Mukhabarat people like Abu Ka3ka3, or burning embassies in Damascus or becoming an ayatullah the process becoming a toy in Iran's hand, promoting Islamic forces like Hamas and Hizbullah, and weakening up all secular national people in the middle east. Lebanon is our only remaining window and all you do is justify Syria's position in making it an enemy.

You are hoping to get something from the regime (reform wise) but they are playing you and you know that but you have no alternative but to blame the victim.

Nafdic great comment, you saved me an answer

At 6/27/2006 01:59:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


We will have to agree to disagree for now.

I do not think we can afford to be emotional. YOu knwo I am not "blaming the victim", and not making "lebanon" an enenmy. But Jumblatt and the other corrupt war lords ARE not exactly friends.

Aoun/HA replacement would prove to be a much more solid and respectable Lebanese leadership. It also could do wonders to the Syrian Lebanese relations. I hope the Syrians would reciprocate with a few gifts in the process ... like sending the Ambassador to Beirut. It won't happen with the current set of corrupt politicians/war lords.

As for the Islamists and their success in changing Syria to their liking ... well too bad. As long as the seculars (regime and opposition) are busy confronting each other this is what we will get. And I am blaming both sides .. not the victims alone.

The regime will not leave. You are happy with that outcome?

You do not respect anything less than all or nothing .. what do you think will be the result? ...

nothing... and less than nothing: a negative move towards fundamentalist vues.

I'm happy with the 25% to 50% improvements i am looking for.

And time for me to go back back to work, today I spent two hours here. So if you want the last word ...

At 6/27/2006 02:35:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Some think that economic reform is the priority, and political reform will follow , naturally, How NAIVE, is this view ?, political reform must precede economic reform, for the later to be successful, in despotic regime, only the royal family and the regime loyals,will prosper, look at the people in Syria, they are much poorer than before,their wealth is only due to property inflation,properties that look so dirty from the smoot that cover it, salaries,even they are higher, they are way below poverty level, here in the USA.
calculated ,continuously adaptive. this is possible in Democratic ,country where human beings are free, and respected,anyone who believes in it, is a dreamer, previous history,of the middle east shows that change will be violent, and the people deserve it this way.

At 6/27/2006 04:03:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

After the Pharaoh; Who, or what, will replace Hosni Mubarak? Some say democracy, others chaos. It's the question all Egyptians are now asking. No one has an answer.
By Christopher Dickey; With Stephen Glain and Vivian Salama in Cairo

3 July 2006
Newsweek International
International Edition

Copyright (C) 2006 Newsweek Inc. All Rights Reserved.
During his recent weeks in prison, one of Egypt's best-known bloggers, Alaa Abdel Fateh, had a terrible fantasy. What would happen to him if Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 78, the man he loves to hate, passed away while Abdel Fateh was in the slammer? "I'm sure millions are actively praying for his sudden death," he wrote in one of several postings that were smuggled out. "Normally I'd be happy. But now that I'm in jail it's a scary thought."

His nightmare scenario? That it would take months for order to be established, with who knows what result. The 24-year-old blogger wrote from the four- by six-meter cell he shared with five other prisoners: "Most likely no one but our immediate family will remember us until it is over. In my mind most people will continue living their lives normally. The huge bureaucracy will chug along, but all security organs will be paralyzed. No officer will wake up the next day and head for his post. Which means [the] prison will be abandoned." What might follow, he dared not imagine.

The irony of Egypt today is that many people, even those who detest Mubarak, share Abdel Fateh's misgivings about a future without the man who has been their ruler, their protector and some would say their jailer for almost 25 years. No matter how much they want to be rid of him, they cannot imagine, quite, who will be in charge and how order will be maintained. Will they be liberated? Or locked down even tighter than they were before? Will power pass from the father to the son, the suave 42-year-old Gamal Mubarak, as many expect? Or to the military? Or to the Islamists? Or will the country descend into chaos as all the contenders compete? The stability of the region, and what's left of the fragile U.S. policy there, depends on an orderly transition. But so much political dust has gathered in Egypt that, once it's kicked up, years could pass before it settles.

Just last summer, a contagious excitement about democratic change was sweeping the Middle East, encouraged and sometimes inspired by Bush administration policies and rhetoric. There had been a massive turnout for Iraq's first elections, then huge protests that drove Syria's troops out of Lebanon. In Egypt, Mubarak decided to allow opposition candidates to run against him for the first time in presidential elections.

But since then, the Iraqi quagmire has deepened. Lebanese politicians now live in terror after a long string of assassinations. Mubarak's leading opponent in last year's vote, Ayman Nour, languishes in prison with no further chance of appeal; Egyptian parliamentary elections were cut short and the results shamelessly rejiggered to limit the gains of the Muslim Brotherhood; new municipal elections have been postponed. Judges who rebelled at being forced to endorse the parliamentary fraud were prosecuted, reprimanded or reined in. The opposition has not been silenced, but fear hangs heavy in the air.

At the slightest hint of street protest, cohorts of riot police seal off whole sections of Cairo. Hired thugs with police protection are let loose on the dissidents. Mahmoud Hamza, a judge who tried to film one such crackdown in April, was left with internal bleeding and a broken arm. "I believe I am under surveillance and my phone is tapped," he says, adding that his cell phone was taken and the calls on it traced. Hundreds have been arrested. Most are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed but also tolerated as a useful political enemy by a government that wants the threat of Islamism to be the only alternative. The Brothers are now the second largest party in Parliament, with 20 percent of the seats.

For many in egypt, lastyear's dreams, this year's bare-knuckled beatings, and the coming years' growing uncertainties resemble the magical realism of Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, whose works are popular throughout the Middle East. In his "Autumn of the Patriarch," a decaying dictator has an "irrepressible passion to endure," but dies just the same. So now for Cairenes. "You feel like you are walking in its pages," says Ibrahim Issa, an outspoken columnist in the daily Al Dustour. "There is a political culture of uncertainty." Ghada Shahbender, an English teacher who cofounded the dissident Web site last year, worries about who, or what, might replace Mubarak. "If there is 'divine intervention'," she asks, employing a euphemism for the dictator's death, "what can we fall back on? Will it be the military? The judicial system? Or chaos?"

Searching for a road map to the post-Hosni Mubarak future, intellectuals and businessmen in Cairo are talking about models that might guide Egypt's course. As they mull over the China model, the Turkey model, the Algeria model, the Mexico model and so on, they sometimes sound like blind men trying to describe an elephant, each touching some separate part and coming up with a wildly different picture of the beast as a whole. Yet, from each description one learns something significant about the elephant--about Egypt and about the whole notion of democratic experiments in the Middle East.

"The Chinese model," for example, is shorthand for a system in which the government remains strongly authoritarian while opening up its economy and profiting from free markets. With a little well-polished discourse about a "process" of political reform, this is essentially the design put forward by Gamal Mubarak, who now heads up the politburo of his father's National Democratic Party. The reformist cabinet he helped install two years ago has won praise from the international financial community, and the numbers look good. The economy is growing at almost 6 percent a year. Foreign investment has tripled to $6 billion in three years. Tourist facilities have improved. A recent conference of the World Economic Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh was a showcase for Egyptian modernity and efficiency.

But there's a major problem with the Chinese analogy: Egypt is not China. On the one hand--and this is good--even with the crackdowns in Cairo, the Egyptians allow more freedom of speech than Beijing. On the other hand, while Egypt may be a big market in the Arab world, it's puny compared with the powerhouses of the East. The United States and Europe are not going to excuse Egypt's political repression, as they basically do China's, because of the potential to make enormous riches in the world's biggest market. In fact, there's a joke, repeated often in Cairo's financial circles, about Mubarak chatting with Chinese President Hu Jintao before a state visit to Beijing. Hu asks him how many people he has. Mubarak replies: "70 million." "Ah, well, then," says Hu. "Bring them along!" The bitter truth for Egyptians is that the world economy has not discovered any pressing need for what they have to offer. "In America there are Chinese goods everywhere you look," says Issa. "Do you see any Egyptian goods?"

Many members of the Egyptian elite hope (indeed, some pray) that the military will be the great stabilizing force in Egyptian life if politics takes a sharp turn toward Islamism or chaos after Hosni Mubarak dies--especially if Gamal tries, and fails, to succeed him. "Gamal is weak, he has no credentials," says Hisham Kassem, editor of the independent daily Al Masri al Yom. "A civilian cannot run Egypt right now."

The military analogy many people talk about is Turkey, where the uniformed services form what's been called "the deep state," the bedrock of stability. But there are problems with this model, too. For starters, even if you accept such a role for the brass, Turkey's generals are wedded to a secular ideology, while the Egyptian military has no central idea to hold it together. (There are also concerns that the ranks may have been penetrated by Islamists like the ones who killed Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, during a parade in October 1981.) Moreover, the jealous rule of Hosni Mubarak, an Air Force general, has badly weakened the officer corps. There is no known equivalent of Pakistan's Gen. Pervez Musharraf ready or able to step forward, and almost any Egyptian general who starts to look popular finds himself retired to a governorship, or worse. Field Marshal Abdul Halim Abu Ghazala, who saved the regime 20 years ago by rolling tanks into the streets to stop a mutiny by the riot police (yes, the riot police, who burned several hotels near the pyramids), has spent most of his time since then under what some of his friends describe as virtual (if comfortable) house arrest.

In the Algerian precedent, political liberalization was embraced by a would-be reformer at the top in the early 1990s, then crushed by the generals when Islamists scored massive victories at the polls. The civil war that followed cost hundreds of thousands of lives: not a very happy prospect for Egypt, but not a completely implausible one, either. As in Algeria, the military and security leadership might try to keep a low profile, pushing various civilians to the foreground. In Algeria during the worst fighting, people wouldn't even name top generals. They referred to them collectively as "le pouvoir," the power.

A few people make analogies between Egypt's developing party dictatorship, based as it is less on ideology than on patronage, and the long-running rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico. From the 1930s to the 1990s, all Mexican political life, such as it was, took place within the party. Any external threat, like the far left in the 1960s, was quite literally slaughtered. But one saving grace of the Mexican system was the commitment to one and only one term for any given president. That kept the political dynamic inside the party, at least, from becoming fatally rigid. Egypt has no such provision. Far from it.

Ultimately, of course, Egypt is Egypt, where the model of the pharaohs' dynastic rule goes back 5,000 years. The machine is getting ready to put Gamal in power if Hosni can ever be persuaded to give up his throne. Yet Gamal, like most young pharaohs, has been guarded by the palace priests for so long that he may have very little idea how the Egyptian people live or act or think. His entourage is a nomenklatura of consumerism, comfortable in and with the West, but deeply unpopular on the street. His National Democratic Party (NDP) is a tired machine bereft of ideas that bases its power on thuggish coercion and shameless patronage. A party ought to have structured cadres, training, discipline, loyalty and a good feel for the grass roots, says American researcher Joshua Stacher: "The NDP is as legal as it gets, and the Muslim Brotherhood is about as illegal as it gets, but the NDP has none of these things and the Muslim Brothers have all these things."

While Gamal Mubarak continues to cultivate his image in the West as a business-friendly leader, the opposition forces are discovering and cultivating each other--in prison. Soon after the long-haired, leftist Alaa Abdel Fateh was released on June 22 he told NEWSWEEK that he'd developed a great rapport with his fellow inmates, the Muslim Brothers. "It was a really incredible thing for me--the solidarity we experienced," he said. "We were all arrested together supporting the same cause." No longer willing--or able--to depend on Hosni Mubarak's irrepressible passion to endure, Egyptians are, by design and default, shaping their own model for the future. Whatever that may turn out to be.

At 6/27/2006 05:28:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip I

See post today on entitled "Secularism in Syria - fast evaporating"

At 6/27/2006 06:47:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...

Thx Ehsani for pointing out the Michael Kilo article. In a sad way the article forsees the unbreachable divide between the thinking Syria represented by Michael and the savage Syria represented by his jailors.

At 6/27/2006 07:39:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

I am sure somone will Agree and DISagree with you in the same time !!..

At 6/27/2006 07:47:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


I agree, in thanking Ehsani for linking the article, but I disagree on the very negative "savage Syrians" expression you used.


At 6/27/2006 08:27:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

I knew it !!

At 6/27/2006 08:39:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


I am very impressed.

On a different topic should I dump those Google shares I have been hoarding ;)

At 6/27/2006 09:01:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

What a waste, I see so many talented personalities, being misused by this awful regime,

--The regime will not leave. You are happy with that outcome?---
I may not happy!!, please remember, nothing will last for ever, it may feels like the regime is still standing in the face of the wind of change,. NOT for long
I am watching the bad news form Gaza tonight, I am fearful ASSAD & company may read the escalating conflict in the Gaza strip incorrectly, they may see an opportunity of diverting attentions; try to gain sympathy and run head-on into a new adventure which may cost the people of Syria dearly!!

At 6/27/2006 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Dear Atassi,

If you want, you can write me an email. I will maybe reply with a bit more.

At 6/27/2006 10:00:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Italian Prime minister today agrees. Remember my reward system as part of an offer to Syria?

واتفقنا على فكرة مهمة هي أنه من دون تنمية اقتصادية حقيقية لن يكون هناك سلام حقيقي. رأينا كثيراً فشل الجيوش في هذه المهمة، فالتعاون هو الطريق الصحيح»

At 6/27/2006 10:19:00 PM, Blogger Ithel... said...











At 6/28/2006 12:23:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Try this Blog

He studied in Syria. He should be able to help you.

At 6/28/2006 01:11:00 AM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

perhaps you should write your queries directly to Joshua's email address provided at the bottom of the blog.

At 6/28/2006 06:37:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...


1)I just do not see what was so great or strange about Kilo's city/country side article. It was a while ago.In my own opinion, it has added nothing to anyones information. Soldiers the world over come from the Country side while City people are proffessionals, merchants and civil servants. So what is new in his article??? What was new to be honest with you is his article " think" -and I am a city man- is a mischievious subtle attemp to use certain words to make certain groups feel antagonized. But I do not think anyone one put him away because of such an article.
2- While not knowing who Kilo is other than he the uncle of one of my sisters friends, I really do not know who is with or behind him, what he stands for. I do not ofcourse know why he was put wawy but I have to assume that it is because he betrayed his country by signing that Syrian-Lebabese petition. And do not you tell me that such a thing is , signing such a petition at a time like this, was the good/smart/ right thing to do. When Syria is attacked by Jumblat, Hariri Jr, and the likes of Aridi and Jemayal and even Jajjaa; then it is not the time to for a "smart" Syrian to supply them with more powder for thier guns. I did not see read him defending the Jordanian, Guntanamo Bay detainees, the arrested Egypyian Judges, or any other unfortunate people so "courageously".
- Finally, I guess after reading some of the blogs during the past few days, that many Syrian who call themselves Liberals, are getting affected by the Lebanese-bird-flue Syndrom. That Syndrom can be summed up as being 1)Educated or Semi, 2) Financially on the better side of things, 3) away from your country to make money primarily, but you blame it on the unbearable conditions in your country, 4) Lacking in political, historical and cultural depth, but ready to voice or support any anti-authority stand, otherwise, how can you justify, and abdicate your own guilty self from the fact that you are living well above average compared to your countrymen. Of course there are many outside due to political reasons, but the majority are not. Do not worry, this happens all across the world, from Egypt, Jordan, Israel, India, China, Russia and of course greater Lebanon.

So what is the solution?? Bad mouth Syria and the Regeiem every day. Fall i love with the US/Israeli administration and join some well-to do voice-over opposition group. Go back and acept to live under the same economic situation your other 20 million fellow citizens live under and use your experties trying to make things better. OR??? Are you only going back once Syria has flourished economically, has the most liberal political system in the world, when al-fassad has stopped totally, and when peace is signed with Israel and it is totally safe to back home???

What about a real, good, self-critical stand with yourselves before bestowing your words of wisdom upon...and do not forget that we have duties not to Syria but to the Arab Nation as well, so the above might take some time, especially with Syrian-People-Supporting Friends are abound around us...

Incidetly, I am also a well to do Syrian who has been living abroad for while. So as they say: haretna daia'a, wi beneref baa'adna.

P.S. to those Harvard graduates among us, sorry I did not spell-check, grammer-check the above depending on your superior linguistic ability to decipher my words.

At 6/28/2006 09:24:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

Dear Ausamaa,

I will not defend myself against your Lebanesation accusation.

But a small comment on your call for solidarity with Syria at a moment of crisis.

Syria has been occupied by this regime for over 30 years. Using police state techniques that they have perfected in the their long tenure the regime has made virtually impossible for Syrians to remove it.

When Hama occured the Syrian poeple saw how far this regime is ready to go to defend itself and how little support they can expect from their Arab, Muslim or human brethren.

Given this situation my personal opinion is follow the false cry for national solidarity when the regime is in trouble, but on the contrary. Our only hope for salvation is to hit the regime when it is at its weakest, as we have no chance of hitting it when it is strong.
So if I fault the opposition for anything, it is for missing the opportunity that presented itself after the Hariri debacle to put all its power in an attack.

Now unfortunatly the situation seem to be changing and we might have to wait for another decade or two before such an opportunity presents itself.

At 6/28/2006 11:12:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Aussama, I try to avoid your comments because they make me sick...However if Michel Kilo's is your sister's friend uncle then how come you are so happy that he is in prison, what kind of human are you? can't you at least sympathize with your sister's friend or with your sister if she is upset about it(because if she is not, then she is not a friend)...all what you deserve for this attitude is to be spit on.

Also, you forget that Syrien Regime started all the recent troubles in Lebanon with all their crimes and terrorism, so if some lebanese decide to stop it or face up to it then I don't think you can blame them. If someone killed your relative or friend then you'll know what I am talking about.

Don't give me the regime lecture on how Kilo was a traitor, all that declaration was doing is trying to create an atmosphere of better relations with Lebanon because Syria get nothing if it puts Lebanon as an enemy.

Anyway since when few people who sign something in Syria have any power...why is the regime attacking some weak people...they are acting like the ottomans who hanged our martyrs, but the ottomans were kicked out 2-3 years later, and yes the Arabs allied themselves with England and France to get rid of them...that's what Syrians need to do ally themselves with any devil to change things.

Plus why do you want us to go back? so you can put us in prison? or make our life hell? or be part of the corrupted oppressive system...

Your comments don't benefit anyone...go teach and braiwash people inside because as soon as someone leave Syria they know what kind of shit they were in...

At 6/28/2006 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

One thing I do not feel too good about is that Syrians, like most Middle Easterners, do not handle a conversation with someone with a different point of view with ease.

Earlier, my friend Atassi posted a funny comment on my habit of agreeing and disagreeing with those I argue with.

I enjoyed the humor part, but now it is my turn to make a long and boring lecture out of it.


You are all educated and obviosuly intelligent people. Yet, those in Camp A seem to never find anything to agree with those in Camp B, and vice versa.. is this logical?

And you expect that if we have democracy today in Syria, those who are less westernized than the group who participates here, will be able to handle the diversity in a civilized way?

Besides, why the ultra-emotional style? ... any engineers here?

So, (here we go again): I agre with those of you who are sick of all the bad things that are taking forever to change in Syria today (like continuing to arrest our outstanding intellectuals like Michel Kilo), but I still respectfully disagree with the wisdom of your enthusiastic call for democracy today.

There is a lot of work ahead for Syria. Education and improving economic conditions, with incremental measures for improving the political atmosphere and trust between the different mentalities.

I know one of you mentioned that you can not have economic improvements without a total overhaul of the politcal system. I disagree. I disagree. Here is one way to improve things:

If outsiders are putting their money in Syria, at least we hope that somehow, things are expected to be not going in the wrong direction:

State and UAE company plan to build Syrian Internet City

The Syrian Telecommunication Ministry and the UAE-based Global Investment Company are planning to build specialised office district for information technology companies in Damascus at a cost of USD 3bn, UAE Gulf News reported on June 27.

The company will start by building a sky scraper over 3,000 square metres which will contain offices for IT companies, along with internet cafes. In time, the company intends to expand the project into over 232, 257 square metres.

The Syrian government hopes to replicate Dubai's Internet City which is a strategic and cost effective platform for information and communication technology companies targeting emerging markets. Syria is struggling to find other sources of revenue to replace its declining oil industry.

“We in Syria aim to become a centre for IT production and research,” the Telecommunication Minister Amre Salem said in a press conference he held in Dubai on June 26.

Global Investment will finance the project and the Telecommunication Ministry will offer lands, labour and legal cover.

At 6/28/2006 01:03:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Israeli warplanes fly over Assad home
28/06/2006 - 18:44:12

Israeli warplanes flew over a home of Syrian President Bashar Assad early today, military officials said, in a message aimed at pressuring the Syrian leader to win the release of a captured Israeli soldier.

The officials said the warplanes flew over a residence belonging to Assad in an overnight raid near the Mediterranean port city of Latakia in northwestern Syria.

Israeli television reports said four planes were involved in the low-altitude flight, and Assad was home at the time.

At 6/28/2006 01:11:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

I Disagree with you Alex, Syria need an overhaul of the political system FIRST. It's a must, SEROUS " I am using capital to emphasize the point" international investors are in business for Growth, profitability and success , They are not willing to go into the a RISK mode, unless they see some visibility and rewards for contributing their skills and money. Don't be misled by the wave of PR " it cost $150 to post a PR!!" ..
I Don't believe Education and improving economic conditions for the Syrian is on the regime TOP list. As Dr Bashare told the WORLD.. Security is, Security of the regime. Alex, YOU need to agree on this :-) ..

At 6/28/2006 01:17:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...


I try to avoid any confrontation with you or people that know how to discuss things and agree or disagree long as the other people are willing to respect or understand the position of the other side.

But when people try to bulldoze people's basic rights and justify regime's position like it is the Koran or the bible then I have no sympathy or respect for these attitudes.

I can bite the bullet once, twice, 3 times and for whatever it takes but we have been doing that for too long.

Your strategy of leaning on people that you can lean on and not tell the regime or the other side what they ought to do won't work for that long. Specially when I see not even a 2 percent budging...where are the results of working with the regime???

There is a minimum acceptable and it is not democracy, it is called human respect. When they start treating people with respect and dignity then the country will move forward.

It does not matter how much money gets pumped into the country and the corrupted pockets, that won't advance the country. You can decorate a tomb with so much gold and luxury but it is still a tomb with dead people in it.

Plus your attitude on the Lebanese makes me very confused. When Jumblatt and Harriri were used by Syria they were ok, now that they want independance they become war lords!!!Most of lebanese politicians are corrupt and have dark pasts but at least the country wants and can advance...If you want to attack corruption then you can start with Syrians and clean your own house before the neighbour houses.

Freedom for Michel Kilo, and respect for human dignity...there is no dialog before that, and no need for one either

At 6/28/2006 01:47:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

I too feel that it is totally unproductive to talk about how another commentor should be "spit on".

I too feel that no matter what a citizen writes or expresses, there are no possible justifications for imprisoning that person. It doesn't matter what politically inopportune moment it is.
However, the main point of Ausamaa's argument was that there is a trememdous amount of hubris behind the demands and accustations being made. As well, there is hypocrisy.

This is a valid point.
It is much easier to stand outside your country and shout about how bad it is and claim that the only thing that will change full scale upheaval (a coup) or an invasion.
why are some of you so willing to have warplanes do your job for you? Because the other option is to go participate in your society to change it.... in the long tedious, effortful manner that would be required to make sure the the next generations of syrians have a new perception of themselves and their government, and their place in the world. This is just too hard it seems, so there are clearly many who would prefer to have some throats slit.

Ironically, the end result would likely not even be some new paradise of liberal life. As Alex, pointed out, the fine people on these blogs can't even have a civilized debate, so how are the plebes in Syria going to suddenly manage their own freedom and have the wisdom of tolerance for diversity.

I believe it is a sign of maturity and critical thinking to always be able to strive to see the inherent merits in other's arguments that we don't agree with. It is great achievment to position oneself to make concessions to other views and interpretations, despite our disagreements. In fact, this is not just crafty argumentation, it is an exercise in humility and in keeping an open mind. Furthermore, 'REALITY' and 'Truth', never are on one side or the other, so it serves us well to see always how many viewpoints can have validity simultaneously. After all, things actually ARE that complex.

At 6/28/2006 01:56:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


Great news on the Internet city if this thing goes through it will be a real positive step that Dr B has done.

In order to take an engineer view that you advocate how about going through history and finding examples of countries that moved to democracy through gradual modification and those that did it through revolution. We can then establish the criteria for success in each group and see to which group Assad's Syria belongs.

At 6/28/2006 02:09:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Zenobia, Alex:

You are putting salt on the wound...I know where are you coming from and how civilized we should be but we are not the cause of the problems...we can't take it, being hit from all sides...yes may be some of us are emotional but most are reasonable and they can recognize change in attitudes when it happens...

As for both of you arguing that we are better than the Syrians inside, that is not true, you are not giving enough credit and justice to the people inside. Syrian people are so smart and can adapt to better situations very quickly. I used to have a lot of conversations and debates with other people when I lived in Syria, and not just friends...

The regime is the problem and you are asking for a generation or 30 years for people to advance, which means go back to pre assad mentality, i would say another 30 years of regime would mean 60 years needed to undo that, we are going backward not forward. They know it and they come every day with new excuses on why is the case and how the world and the US is against us...

Anyway you chose to be in the middle and if that makes you feel good then that's great.

I chose to call for Michel Kilo's freedom and may be I have a personal reaon for it so I won't be happy until he is released.

Alex, before they build internet cities, they can start by fixing the phone lines as my mom and her friends failed to call people in Aleppo the last few days.

to understand better my position, please go to

For a better Syria

and yes Syria is not Sweden or Norway like Alex and some people have said and iterated million times so still spitting works when someone is a disgrace...and that is a common angry syrian expression like "Tfef 3Aleik"

Zenobia great answer on Ammar's blog, you made me feel better about your position regarding human rights and basic freedoms...

At 6/28/2006 02:34:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

Yes, It's much safer and secure for us to be outside the county to speak our minds, I no issue with that, I don't even feel guilty about it!! In the other HAND, if you are talking about hypocrisy!! Let's not forget the regime's HAMA rule. They are willing to use this RULE any time they feel threaten. The Assad's have it's best trained, feed and equipped ARAMY around Damascus ready to apply the HAMA rule again if needed. NO ONE is asking or willing to support any kind of an outside powers upheaval the regime. When the time is right, and the people are ready for change "FEAR will move form the people to the regime".

At 6/28/2006 02:50:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...


ok, well, maybe I have been misinterpreting the strong language of those here who are pressing for ousting the regime to mean that they intend for this to take place by any means necessary including outside force and intervention.
It is unclear to me how and by what means the advocates of entire government change or complete "overhaul of the political system" intend to bring this about. ???
If not by outside force, this can only mean internal force. But still the ability to achieve this end (lets suppose i even agree with the end , for a moment) depends on the will of the people. If it is done regardless of the will of the mainstream people, then you are suggesting a coup by a small group, thereby, starting a new leadership that is at it inception, by definition, undemocratically achieved.
It seems to me, a problematic contradiction.

Clarification, as to what you, Fares, or any other has in mind for what "total overhaul" looks like.... would be very helpful.

At 6/28/2006 02:56:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

oh yeah, and I didn't realize spitting was a well established national expression !... glad to be informed.....

At 6/28/2006 03:07:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Zenobia, can you ask yourself one second what does the regime lose by releasing Kilo and the others arrested recently (well 45-50 days now)...then ask yourself why don't they do it (free them).

The conclusion is they want to humilate us and have their boots on our necks. It is called suffocating Syria and Lebanon.

Once they start playing nice and show us that they intend to rule in a more civilized way then as far as I am concerned they can stay.

BTW talks of Israeli planes spread to my office now and I am so happy to see Bashar humilated, he deserves it. Next time they should send him a stronger signal.

At 6/28/2006 03:08:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

The last thing I said, "When the time is right" "and the PEOPLE are ready" for THE change "FEAR will move form the people to the regime".
THIS IS IN NO MEAN A COUP, OR starting a complete new leadership !! But the dominant role of the Assad family and the Baath party needs to reduced to allow a program of transition to a democratic and free society.

At 6/28/2006 03:26:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

Ok, then, it seems we are not so far in disagreement! after all......

but what makes the people "READY"? for the 'CHANGE'.....

surely, publicizing the inadequacy if not crimes of the regime is important, but as far as I can tell, this has not achieved much. As was pointed out, the 'street' has not moved but two inches towards demanding a new government.

To my mind what will move the people to be READY for CHANGE... is NOT so much their outrage and frustration (the syrian people seem to have endless tolerance for deprivation and govt abuse! sadly...) No, what will envigorate them.... is the desire for economic advantage and for the abundances they see enjoyed by the rest of the world.

Internet City!!!...... I have faith in TECHNOLOGY and SEXUAL appetites!... to bring about change.... call me crazy... but....
the people will be SEDUCED into wanting MORE....and into DEMANDING more.... IT IS THE YOUNG...who will do that. They see too much, they want too much.
My most pious cousins, who still fancy themselves so religious and obediant, still can't keep their hands off their computers and the internet. Nor can they stand this waiting....till they are 35 when they might be able too afford a they can indulge in the erotic necessities of being alive.
There is your Revolution in the making....!!
do i sound like a nut?

At 6/28/2006 03:49:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


I am glad you are bringing back the argument to discuss ideas rather than weather we live in AlHasake or Helsinki.

Once we agree that this regime is a cancer and that the longer we leave it to destroy our culture, economy, land, the good-will of our neighbours and our social harmony the more generations of Syrians will have to bear the burden of repairing its damage, we can start thinking on the best way to extract this cancer.

Of course many cures can be thought of:

1) Peaceful internal revolt
2) Armed internal revolt
3) Coup leading to another doictatorship
4) Invasion by a "coalation of the willing"
5) Embargo that leads to collapse
6) The regime reforming itself under the leadership of a white knight (a gentelman, an officer and a Doctor)
7) A combination of the above (death by a thousand cuts)

My personal opinion is to go for option 7 and since this regime have survived for the last 30 years we know it is quite resilient.

My understanding you, Alex and Oussama all think that 6 is the only acceptable option.

OK now you can blast me as an agent of the enemy and that I want Syria to be pludered by the US, etc, etc

At 6/28/2006 04:09:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Direct Zarqawi - Ain al-Hilweh link emerges:

SIDON: Gunfire echoed across the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp for more than 40 minutes Tuesday night as news of yet another youth's death in Iraq was "celebrated" after reports emerged that he had allegedly died with Al-Qaeda's former commander in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

According to the reports, Saleh Qilawi died in the US air strike on Zarqawi's hideout, but security sources could not confirm the information, and only said the victim fell in Iraq.
The Daily Star

See also:

Local families take pride in relatives 'martyred' in Iraq

"They thus earn the blessing of jihad by either dying or winning," said Abu Obeida, who recently returned from Iraq.

Abu Obeida said that the militants were "teaching the infidels a few lessons in fighting."

"We are proud of these youths who sacrifice their precious lives for the sake of their nation," Abu Obeida added, holding the pictures of the fallen fighters and one of Al-Qaeda's former commander in Iraq, Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, recently killed by a US air strike on his hideout in Iraq.
The Daily Star, June 28, 2006

Yet another Abu Obeida, I assume.

At 6/28/2006 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalism Eternally said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6/28/2006 04:46:00 PM, Blogger Joseph-Ali-Mohammed said...

I am wondering how come Professor Joshua Landis did not pay attention to the great debate in "FOREIGN POLICY" magazine of Jusy 2006 about the Israeli Lobby in the US?

At 6/28/2006 04:49:00 PM, Blogger Joseph-Ali-Mohammed said...

At 6/28/2006 06:02:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6/28/2006 06:09:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...


No, I am not married to #6 at all.
I have no allegiance to keeping the Assads as leaders or any other entity of the oligarchy of Syria.

Personally, I am in favor of 'Peaceful Internal Revolt' otherwise known as CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.

As well, I think Arm backed Internal Revolt may be necessary, to prevent oppressive backlash, but generally what I think is NOT acceptable is BLOODSHED
I even think it is possible to have an acceptable Coup of a govt (with the rulers deposed, not killed) provided that the leadership of a coup has established its popular legitimacy over time and has the overall support of the majority of the population.

What i am truly against, is the use of War and armed conflict, no matter whether internally driven or not, in the service of bringing about progress.
I don't think progress is ever really achieve this way.

At this stage in human development I think we have many other means to bring about change with more beneficial results. In addition, the Middle East has already suffered enough violence as it is.

At 6/28/2006 06:59:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Foreign affairs is right to say that the Bush revolution is over, and the USA is no longer interested in international military intervention, this will help Bashar Assad.
if regime change occurs in my beloved Syria, the Assad family will no longer steel the revenue from oil, this will come back to the syrian people, also the previously stolen money, most likely come back, this is estimated at 40 billion dollar, certainly this will have impact on the lira compsre to dollar, also many officials will go back out of Damascus, to their old towns, this will make houses prices drop to less than half, probably to reasonable values, also relations with Lebanon will improve considerably.
these mean that political changes will cause economic boom, Syria did,nor will ever witness like it.
by the way in Iran they are delighted, they are saying our enemy (USA) get rid of our other enemies,(taliban and Saddam)

At 6/28/2006 07:34:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


I apologize for putting you in the Basahr groupies camp.

Our positions are 98% identical.

At 6/28/2006 08:42:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

The Soviet Union started politecal and economic reform at the same time to end up failing economicly and politecaly and the Soviet Union desenegrated while China chose economic reform first to see China now one country with economic power ,where every American company wants to do buisness and open factories while they shunned Rusia in spite of politecal reform in Rusia,other example is Spain when Franco was in power spain improved economicly then when Franco died it was easy to implement democracy as spain had a wide Midle class ,the reason for our well to do status in the west and especialy in the US is because of the economic System and the legal System in the west where we are equal under the law ,the politecal System has litle to do with our well being as we all know less than have the American population are eligble to vote and of these about half vote and of the people who vote about half vot for the president in power so basicly less than 12.5 %of the population elect the president,but everybody has the chance to succeed.for Syria to get to politecal reform it should first have midlclass then teach democracy at school , in the US our kids are elected to eat with princple, electe as student of the month , best dressed , most likely to succeed ,school goverment, class president ,all these are meant to teach democracy and make the kids and the future members of society understand that it is OK to lose an election and they do not have to take over by force if they do not get what they want,and they should try harder to convince other kids of their vews ,we all know that never happened in Syria at least when i was there ,so Syria should move toward reform but like the kid who needs to drink milk first then soft food and food from Jars then slowly advance to eating Mehshe and Kubie and like what happens to the kid if he eats Kubie when not ready that will happen to Syria which propably will be total desenegration on ethnic and religous bessesand lines.

At 6/28/2006 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

I think you made some very interesting comparisons Norman, and I like your examples.
yeah, what about China. Makes one have to ask what the ultimate goals really are in terms of our priorities, economic prosperity? freedom to vote? political freedom to assemble? freedom of expression? etc etc.

In many ways, the USA is hypocricy more than democracy.......

At 6/28/2006 09:44:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

fellow readers, i invite you to comment and debate on my new article which surprisingly has nothing on Bashar...sorry I have not been very diplomatic with some, but it has been very frustrating politically lately when it comes to the prisoners issue.

adding logic into the Arab/Israeli conflict and arab leaders

At 6/28/2006 11:11:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

wow, I missed a whole day's worth of discussions!

I don't think I can comment on every point that Fares, Nafdik, and Atassi raised.

But I'll try to pick a few;

1) Fares: first, please notice that I said elsewhere that I believe Aoun and Nasrallah have a better chance in leading Lebanon into a safer future. I never liked the War lords like jeajea or Jumblatt, even when Jumblat was pro-Syria. I liked the late Hariri because he was a moderate, effectuve, and wise leader. But he was ultra corrupt, if you have not noticed. SO I have some tolerance to corruption in teh Middle East, because almost all are corrupt. So I tolerate corruption when the leader is doing a better-thatn-average job saving lives, or avoiding violent conflicts.

That's my preference, please do not take it as a right-or-wrong case. This is not physics.

And by the way, the way you assumed things about the rest of my opinions is another typical Middle east ... stereotyping instead of listening. For example, by now you assume I repeat evrything the regime likes.


Another point: waiting for good things to happen takes years, not days or weeks. Not in the Middle East. I know that freeing Michel Kilo can theoretically be done in a minute. But It won't happen that fast. Whatever mistaken calculations they made whn they decided to arrest him (see? I am against the regime in this case) those calculations still apply.

One of the reasons I keep sounding as if I see "Lebanon" as the enemy (your words), is that I know that many bad things happening today are partically the result of the foolish mistakes of those in Lebanon who said: "we will not stop until we remove the criminal regime in Syria" ... You want to accelerate the release of Michel? .. put your anger aside, put your emotions aside, and put "fairness" aside ... go and campaign for Aoun and Nasrallah's alliance to make it to power in Lebanon.

when Syria is more comfortable to what is going on in Lebanon, you might see that one of the first signs of that comfort is perhaps the freeing of Michel.

And there is a better chance of getting aoun to the presidency in Lebanon that ... changing the regime in Damascus... unless you want to wait.

Another effective (and I am not caliming it is a just way) to improve the chances Michel could be freed, is to have Ysrian intellectuals calm it down a bit. That too would make the regime less confrontational with them.

Again we might disagree on this one, but, if you want to see how you can maximize the chances Michel would be freed ... this is another potentially helpful factor.

So, while I do not know, but my guess is: Michwel will be there for few more months ... until things get better on the Lebanon front at least.

Now, please do not attack me for being comfortable with the regime who puts Michel Kilo in jail... anger is not helpful in this case.

At 6/29/2006 12:05:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Now Nafdik:

I like options 1 and 6. Nothing else. Gandhi was able to liberate India peacefully, so I do not see why this option (#1) is looked at as a silly possibility.

But for option #1 to materialize, I suggest two things are missing:

1) We don't have a population that is mad and frustrated ... all the talk on these blogs not withstanding. I estimate that 3/5 to 4/5 of the Syrian people are ok with the regime staying with a bit more acceleration int he reform process.

2) where is this charismatic, honest, brave and wise leader who will make the Syrian people follow him into civil disobedience mode?

Khaddam, Banayouni, won't do. Kilo won't do (Christian), Ammar won't do (too emotional), Rime Allaf maybe (hi Rime!).

Option 6 is much more likely for now... and that's where I am putting my energy.

As for your other good suggestion about learning from history about the chances of reaching democracy without a bloody revolution ...

I don't care ... I'll wait 20 years without "democracy" if I have to. Knowing the Middle East today, I don't want it now.

But I want educational reforms. And economic reforms.

And bravo Nafdik for being the only one who even cared to comment on the potentialy huge announcement of the internet ciry in Syria .. the rest gave us the predictable: "oh this won't make any difference .. the regime will take all those billions ..."

At 6/29/2006 12:21:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Dear Bloggers,
I seem to have upset some by some remarks I made regarding Kilo, the benifit and possibility for regiem change. Zanaobia, was able to discern a lot of what I meant with thanks.
I do not like, digest or accept anyone going to prison "unless" I "see" his actions as directed or being used and overused by the "other camp" of the moment. If we read history and current affairs, this "other camp of the moment" includes many, unfortunatly. My point is why this uproar over such an issue. I watch certain TV newstickers, and if arrest a stray cat in Syria, this makes headlines. Same as all western footage shows only the donkys and carts when a picture of a middle easrtern city appears. And my other unsaid word, or said and repeated again, is we do not really need to keep searching for Solzientisens -spelled wrong of course, and dammned if I am going to spend five minute looking up the correct spelling. So take it easy, the arrest of Kilo's and the 45-50 arrest is never a thing that makes anyone happy, unless he is a person in power and wants to send a signal as to what is OK and what is not at any given moment. My other point, is that I, who consider mysellf an over reading person, has never had the chance to see Kilo as a serious 'Thinker', "politician" or "revolutionary educator" who had produced a political program and had organized masses to follow him. He maybe a great person, but at best he is just writer who chose the wrong moment to issue the wrong message at a time when the authoreties are fighting a battel against the US/Chirac/HArriri Jr. Camp. If he wants to be a Munadel; let him pay the price for his beliefs. It happens the world over, so do not logically expect total political freedom in Syria when the claimed leader of the World democracy gives its agencies the rights to spy on US citizens and to detain hundreds on mere suspisions.Wake up and smell the roses. .
Or did any one think that power comes to self-proclaimed "unsatisfied groups" and "opposition groups" on a silver platter. Ask the Baaathists, the communists and even the MB (despite allowing themselves to be used by the US and others against Syria); and they will tell you what it takes to build a grassroot movement that may qualify to have a rightful claim to power.
AS to defending the regiem?? what is the best advice??? Stand by, stap the regiem in the back and have rice thrown over the tops of the Liberating/Invading US/Israeli/Junblat Melitias?? When Hitler invaded Russia, and Russia was under Stalin not Bashar al Assad, do you know what the Russian people did? THey fought for Mother Russia.THey stood by Russia, not Stalin or whoever, in the face of foriegn enemies.All, Despite the incorrect analogy between Stalin and Al Assad, but this is exactly what I am talking about. This is not the most proper time to sharpen the Syrian knives against the Syrian regiem. Especially if those Syrian knives were plastic ones, paid for by others, or stupid enough to appear so, and have no "organized, structural support", and especially if SYRIA, not the SYRIAN REGIEM has always been in the sights of those enemies.Unless you 1)either deny the existance of such vicious imperial intersts in controlling Syria, or, 2) you support such a control just for the sake of overthrowing the regiem and take your chasnces with the following one and accept the risk of a bloodbath untill those invaders leave.
So enough Wataniya. Flights to Damascus leave many cities of the world on daily basis. Book a seat, get to Damas, rest for a week and then go start thinking up or organiizing a true people's movement. You may endure many hardships, least of them the fact that you will can get your scotch on thr rocks only in a long glass but not in an old-fashioned one at the five star hotels which,I am sure will be a good starting point for revolutionary/educational meetings. And never mind al Mukhabarat, I do not believe they have heard of you, besides they must be busy with more important things now.
Bunnuing aside, have patience, I am not saying give up on whatever you want to achieve as long as it is within the aspirations of the whole nation, try to contribute in a positive matter, promot Syrian trade in your country of residence, promot or creat Syrian Business People associations, create a Syrian club, pettition your congressman, senator, representative oe whomever, not against the Syrian Regiem, but against those enemies who bid "YOU', the "Regiem" and "SYRIA" ill. But do not loose your semses lashing out against Syria t time when your support is needed. And do not build castles on imaginary 'opposition". As opposed not to being "fully Satidfied", of "totaly happy" with the regiems actions. NO one is.And I bet you Bashar al Assad himself is not all that happy with what he has. Be reasonable. But things take time. And, needless to say, they take longer time with a crazy US admin on the rampage in the area, and with Israel being your next door nieghbour.
I hope I sound less confrontational this time...

At 6/29/2006 12:23:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Alex as always great regime analysis...

So in other words, Michel kilo will be free when the whole middle east problem will be solved...great let's prepare for his funeral in jail because I don't see that happening pretty soon.

Again what does it matter who rules Lebanon with Kilo being in Jail, I don't see the relation, Michel Kilo is not lebanese and he did not ally himself with anyone, he was just saying let's open a new page.

He did not write for Anahar in a long time and the Quds magazine is palestinian and not lebanese, he did not represent the christians of Syria (he is an ex communist-may be still is I don't know) or those of Lebanon, otherwise Christians in Syria would be boiling over his arrest.

why Aoun is now the good boy while he waged a big conflict with Syria in 89/90. Both Aoun and Nasrallah and their forces caused a lot of blood to be spilled so don't make them angels just because they are playing Syria's game. Why should I campaign for them! I don't like them and I don't like their alliances and their games! wallah 7ilwe...

So from now on Syria will be friendly with Lebanon when the leader a little puppet in their hand but very agressive when someone is not following her.

Last time I checked Lebanon is not a province like Aleppo or Tartous, it is an independant state...

Anyway I prefer for Kilo to stay in Jail rather than tone it down or oppress Lebanon as well.

Again I am not angry or attacking you...but there is no hope for this regime...they have to understand how to be above conflicts not to cause them by their belligerant attitudes.

Bashar is a human (not GOD) who made a lot of mistakes and he is not willing to admit it or face up to the consequences...why should we adapt to that! Lebanon wants Syria to leave them alone in Peace, I don't think they want to destabilize it once it is friendly to them regardless of what they say.

At 6/29/2006 12:42:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

it seems like Aussama and Alex are the same person, Alex is the more open minded and Aussama is the patriotic who says stupid things that don't make anysense but the points of view are very similar, it is just the methods are different, not a coincidence that they posted at the same time when no one else is around! But that is just a theory, I need both of you to deny it.

Anyway Aussama, Hamas could send suicidal people to do things, but we are not that stupid to risk our lives for nothing and go inside to be a nice meal for the mukhabat's appetite.

And if Kilo does not impress you and does not have any followings why do you support him being in prison?

No one is out to get Syria, they would have killed Bashar today if they wanted to, the is very easy for them but he is an agent for them and he does what they need him to do, crack on us and suffocate Syria and Lebanon.

No one will fight for Assad, they will start fighting after he is dead or out of the picture. Times have changed and Stalin did not kill millions during the war, he did it afterwards as a thank you for his people's resistance. May you join him in hell...

At 6/29/2006 12:45:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

one last comment before I go to sleep, then very wise Zenobia of the west coast can follow up.


1) Again this emotional attitude towards Lebanon .. if you look at the map ... do you really think there will be 100% Lebanese independance from Syrian wishes?

2) again, saying I like Michel aoun only because he is a Syrian ally ... didn't I just tell you that I always disliked Jumblatt even when he was a Syrian ally? didn't I just tell you that I liked Rafiq Hariri, even when he became an opponent of the SYrian regime (last few months)?

You are guilty of what you accuse me of ... YOU seem to be consistently disliking any Lebanese figure who accepts to stop confronting the Syrians today. You call Aoun and Nasrallah weak and Syrian tools ... Nasrallah is not weak. Even Zenobia from california found him a strong character who can lead Lebanon or Syria (On Ammar's blog).

At 6/29/2006 12:52:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Anyone can be Nasrallah if they have the weapons and money that they have and the backing of both Syria and Iran and a million Shia supporters...your points 1 and 2 logically contradict each other...

I am not here to discuss Lebanese politics and I don't care who do you like! and I am sure you don't care either, and I am not emotional about it, they can all go to hell, Batikh yikasser ba3do

Again Michel Kilo does not belong in Jail, regardless of what is happening in Lebanon or Syria or the opposition

Have a good night

At 6/29/2006 01:35:00 AM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

"I am not emotional about it, they can all go to hell, Batikh yikasser ba3do" LOL!

Please Fares, try to reign yourself in, no need for paranoia to start.... Ausamaa=Alex... laugh
what is it with this? when anyone gets frustrated on the blog that there is more than one person disagreeing with them, they have to start suggesting that it must actually be all the same person! Couln't possibly be that more than one person critiques your viewpoint?
Frankly they are not even vaguely close in their language. And only partly similiar in their attitudes.

And is it really necessary no matter how frustrated you are... to declare that Ausamaa has only "stupid things" to say that "don't make any sense"...?
Why do you have to be so demeaning?
You are going to force me into a defense...... even if I don't agree with it all.
Ausamaa makes me laugh.... because these are passionate words... delivered with a sense of humor not less (and some of you could obviously use a little of that); a

And despite the obvious struggling with the language - a hell of a lot of it DOES MAKE SENSE.
So, I will be back with my rebutal/ interpretation... shortly.

At 6/29/2006 01:53:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Who ever wants to laugh they can at aussama or me or whoever...

who also likes the regime and say that "farfur zanbo maghfur" --our beloved can do whaever and is always forgiven, fine again...

and who ever does not care about any problem in Syria and attack the people who want it change for the better, fine again, it is probably the majority of Syrians anyway...

I was joking about Aussama and Alex but who knows, Alex have posted under different ids in the past.

all I ask myself what am doing here and why do I care about Syria if everything seems to be normal and I seem to be the odd person out...

I happened to follow aussama and his comments in the past and he seems to have moderated a bit
but refer to

and read comment #3...

It is funny how people twists things around and the victim becomes the oppressor...Alex, of course you won't see a Mandella because the regime knows how to divide the people and turns their attention to virtual enemies like Kilo, Lebanon, France, you if they, Ammar...I have been in Syria once the last 17 years and I have no appetite or desire to visit whatsoever...

At 6/29/2006 02:29:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Dear Faris, Zannobia, Alex

I honestly declare, but with a bit of jealousy, that I am not Alex. Alex is more organized in his response and more correct linguistically. If I have toi guess, I would think he is either a high standard accademic or from the highest echolon of the Deplomatic corps. He has the time and passion to put his thought in a very neat and presentable manner. On the other hand, I am not, and Zanobia noted the difference in the use of even language. I just do not really have the time to sit and do it in the impecable manner does, primarily because I have a busniess to run -during which time I take a look at this site among many others, and post my nationalistic/defiant/mocking reactioin as fast as I can. So the Style is different. Do not worry we are not one and the same.I only hope Alex would not be upset by your assumption.
As to stalin, please read history before you compare whether he did "before or after" the Great War.
As to Nassrallah (and while I am not a shiiet, actually I only knew I was Sunni when I was at school in the US), please at least have some respect for people who provided us with self respect. It was not only because he had so many backers, but because they have a cause and are willing to sacrifice for it despite great odds. One of those odds are Isreal and its IDF/Mossad who are more leathal than Syrian intelligence. They were not afraid of going to Jail as you are in order to achieve what they want. Israel armed little Jaajaa and Co. and thier assistance was more leathal than Syria's assistance to Hizbullah, but they failed miserably when push came to shove. So please do not be so onesided.
Finally, I never said I liked seeing Kilo in jail, but let us not kid ourselves. There is always a price to pay when you choose your path in life. When you want to becam a "Munadel", then you have to pay the price. If he thought he can play against the regiem and then he can go home safely and have supper and go to be to write another piece, then I really pitty him. I believe, he either knew what was in store for him, and he made his choice, out of courage, anger, third-party support, I do not know. But please do not portray him like an innocent vergin who entered a downtowwn night club expecting to come out safe and sound. Again, even your beloved US has political prisoners and human rights abuses, to say the least.
And, while the analogy is not the resemblant of the current situation in Syria, change does not happen because we wish it, it happens because we are ready to undertake the struggle for it and pay the price. And when struggle is the only option. And I do not believe it is at the top of the Syrian People list right now.
But yuo, you want to change the Syrian situation from far away because you are afraid of the regiem as you said. Apparently "little afraid" only, otherwise you would not get into such talk on semi open air. Others chose to stand up for their causes and payed for such a stand with blood, tears and suffering. Look at Gaza now for example. And it is conscious choices made by concious decission makers.
What is your choice??? Curse the Syrian authoreties for the next ten years, or find a more constructive way and hope/work for change in a different manner.

At 6/29/2006 03:12:00 AM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said... know.
I actually did read that prior rant by Ausamaa a few weeks ago, and I had pretty much the same feeling: WOW, what a rant.

But the reality is that these feelings are the exact feelings of soo soo ssooo many Syrians ... it sort of equates to: "who the fuck are you (outsiders in the west) to tell us how we should be or whether we should kick out our government!"

And WHY do they feel that way?????? Is it because Syrians are so proud of everything in the country or the gov't or the leadership? NO, no NOT AT ALL. that is not it at all.

The Syrian people are not defending their president because they think he is a god, or even that he is so effective, no, they defend him because they feel they need to stand aligned without division with their govt in order to protect and defend their country. They stand behind Syria in it totality! right or wrong. And the people have every historical reason to be mistrustful of the West, to feel threatened, and to mistrust the external figures who appear to be advocating for the same outcomes (even if for different objectives) as the Neocons in Washington D.C. How can the people NOT be paranoid about the motives of those who want to bring down the government.

In addition, I think what Ausamaa's sentiments express so passionately, which cannot be dismissed easily, is that those in the West and many syrians who had the luxory to leave and become of the West (so to speak) are F-ing HYPOCRITS.

How are we hypocrits????

Well, as an American, every damn day, I am horrified at the atrocities that my own country's military is bringing about on the other side of the world. I do not blame the soldiers; I blame my Government - this administration- the Pentagon, the State Department. This country already has a tarnished and tainted history of shedding other's blood around the world - or at least being the catalyst for bloodbaths.

We call ourselves a democracy. We afford our citizenry a level of representation and democratic participation, but hypocritically, we do not treat the rest of the world democratically AT ALL. AMERICA dominates, and the world must submit. This the worst hypocricy.

So, here we are....outraged by the abuses of human rights.... going on in Syria, rightly so. We can speak with some fury about it. We can document the historical record of oppression.
But is it not also hypocritical????? too.

I am an American. I feel impotent to stop my own government, whose crimes are far worse!
My heart aches,,, when I think of those men.... locked on the island of Cuba (more irony here) having tubes forced down their throats to deprive them of their only attempts to protest their imprisonment.
Where is my representation!!!! as an american here! Who gave us a referendum, an intitiative, a vote, a voice. Who asked the american public if we wished to torture these men, holding them on an island.... against all the laws and the central foundation of the WRIT OF HABEUS CORPUS! so basic to american liberties for more than 200 years.... NO IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW.

These TYRANTS in the White House and the chambers of power... have even now tied the hands of the highest court in the have their way. This is nothing less than a totalitarian move at its best.

So WHERE IS MY DEMOCRACY? Who asked me, a citizen, or the more than half the country who didn't vote for this president..... if we want to wage 'WAR' in Iraq?

My heart burns......
for the Iraqis!..... to imagine that people in uniforms authorized under the guns of my country's military,,, are using power drills to pierce into the guts of their countrymen!!!!
Is this what our freedom loving America has wrought!!

How are we not HYPOCRITS! In the face of this. In the face of it all...
and how could any country like SYRIA even the violence of its regime.... compare to the carnage American has brought around the world.

Why should Syrians not tremble in fear to even be on the radar screen of the American 'regime' and its might?

They know that Syria has a legacy that is despised by the neoconservatives in Washington and the Israeli supporting elements of america. It is SYRIA who has dared to defy every goal of the americans in the region and in relation to Israel. Syria has dared to say 'FUCK YOU' to American ambitions to control her and her surroundings.
So, the people know....they may blood for that... they are waiting.....for it......

Can we blame them, if they cower behind their leader, or if they stand stubbornly behind their suffering and misguided ideas.

Who are WE to stand in Judgment.

At 6/29/2006 03:26:00 AM, Blogger SimoHurtta said...

I understand perfectly well why some are suspicious of those US Arab citizens demanding regime change in Syria. Whose interests are more important for a double passport person - the interests of their home country or the interest of their ancestors’ country? Certainly Syria’s and Syrians interest differ very much of the interests of USA, no matter which kind of ruling style there exists.

The truth is that both Iraq and Afghanistan are perfect examples that USA can’t plant a “democracy” by force in a cultural environment it doesn’t understand. Establishing a democracy is easy on paper but exporting it by force it to a country without a democratic history with US double passport “opposition” politicians and experts is not. People do not want the solution USA forces them to swallow neither do they not trust to those leaders USA has chosen to represent them. Actually USA and its western allies have not created a single democracy with military force since WW2. USA has instead managed to overthrow several democratically elected governments in Latin America, Asia and Europe (Greece). Indonesia and Philippines are good examples of a peaceful way to democracy. When the people in those countries got fed up with their US contributed dictators (Marcos and Suharto), they went to the streets and demanded democracy and got it. East European countries became democratic because the people in those countries wanted it, not by the guidance of US proconsuls and army.

Using language of the “bad terrible” regime in a similar way, that we can se in different Iraq blogs comments made by single passport US pro-war activist about Saddam, doesn’t make the regime change case anymore convincing. The present Syrian and the former Iraqi regime do not differ with their regime style and behaviour very much from the “friendly” Arab countries. Actually there is no western style democracy in Middle East (not even Israel – democracies do not treat millions like Israel does). Syria is not worse than Egypt or Saudi Arabia. The only difference is that USA (and Israel) for a strange reason doesn’t like Syrian regime. The world against Syrian regime as Fares describes it is a very “optimistic” viewpoint. Well if Israel and USA are the “world” Fares is right.

If the single passport people in living in Syria (or in other Middle Eastern country) want democracy it is up to them to establish it. So have all democracies been created.

PS. A person (Fares) who wants Israelis to send a “stronger” message to the president of Syria can hardly call himself a Syrian patriot. An American nut is a better description for such a person. Syria’s “crime” in this present crisis is that it lets some Palestinian resistance leaders live in their country. But so do many other countries. USA and Britain are full of “Chalabies” of different nations, who are considered as war criminals, terrorists and freedom fighters (depends from the viewer’s viewpoint) in their home countries. Threatening a country by military force because what others have done in an other country is simply not acceptable. Does Russia send military planes over London if rebels of Chechnya have taken a Russian soldier as a hostage?

At 6/29/2006 09:33:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

Dear Zenobia,

You said:

"The Syrian people are not defending their president because they think he is a god, or even that he is so effective, no, they defend him because they feel they need to stand aligned without division with their govt in order to protect and defend their country."

I agree with you that this is the case and it reminds me of one of my favorite few lines of poetry (sorry I cant type in Arabic):

"Nasahtouhom amri bimoun3araji alliwa
Falam yastabinu al-roushda illa sabihata al-ghadi

Wa hal ana illa min ghaziyata in ghwat ghawatou
Wa in tarshoud ghaziyatu arshoudi"


I gave them my advise at the tribal counsil
But they did not see its value until the day after

Howver, I am a son of my tribe, if it is foolish then so am I
and if it is wise I am wise too.


The tribe was preparing for war and the poet advised on a different strategy. He of course followed the tribal decision even if he did not agree. Next day the tribe was dessimated, his brother was killed, so he wrote one of the most beautiful poems in Arabic litterature.


1) Note that the poet said what was wrong and was right in his mind before and after the battle (ghost of Michael)

2) Note that the tribe gave him the lattitude to disagree

3) He did his duty and fought in the battle

4) Many poeple died because of the wrong decision

5) Note that our poet followed the will of the tribe and not of the tribe's leader

I am all for following the will of our tribe, as long as the tribe lets me voice my dissent and that I am not following the will of a bunch of usurpers who claim to represent the tribe.

At 6/29/2006 10:43:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...


Thank you so much for your kind words. I just hope Fares does not think we are still the same person, because this process of thanking each other won't look too good in that case.

And your last comments here were very diplomatic. If you stick to this tone, you'll probably find out that it actually takes less time overall, because when you filter out your own confrontational language, you will save yourself the time of coming back with more arguments to defend yourself against personal attacks instead of only having to defend your ideas.

But there will always be some personal attacks even if you try to be diplomatic. Middle Easterners are passionate. That makes them fun to interact with, but it makes debating issues a bit less efficient as it seems to always get into personal character attacks.


What I am trying to tell you over the past few comments:

First, you need to decide why you are putting all that energy for

1) You are here hoping to accomplish some specific goal?

2) You need a platform to express your anger at all the bad things the regime is doing.

If the later is the case, then you are free to do so. you have been relatively polite in your anger compared to others. And you have every right ot be angry at all the wrong things "the regime" is doing.

If you are hoping to accomplish te release of Michel Kilo, then I believe your anger is hurting your cause. I do not know if you realize it, but you ended up siding with anyone who confronts the regime ... you are calling for stronger Israeli agression on Syria (the president), and believe me, your defending Jeajea and Jumblatt's side will not get you many fans among Syrians.

As for Nasrallah, if you want to know why I respect him, it is not for being "pro Syria" or for his well armed army as you stated earlier, I hope you realize by now that I am not a fan of violence.

I respected him for the way he refrained from the many attempts by Jumblatt to get him to lose his temper and get drawn into personal attacks the way Jumblatt is doing so well. After all that Jumblatt said, Nasrallah still shoock hands with him and smiled to him and offered him personal protection by HA security guards if he felt threatened for any reason.

It is this ability to remain logical and focused on his original goals, rather than get drawn into taking revenge from a Jumblatt, that made him "successful".

And befoer you conclude again that I only side with pro Syria politicians, I will say that Jeajea is also showing some signs of maturity and balance this year.

The same way you sign off with "for a better Syria" I will sign off again with:

Democracy needs the right mentality to succeed. We need to start with educational reforms ... for a better Syria.

At 6/29/2006 12:34:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Nafdik that was very interesting.

The only thing I can add is that not all of us are sure the Syrian tribe will lose the battle tomorrow.

I was discussing few years ago (by email) some mideast issues with Zvi Bar'el, a very moderate Israeli journalist, and I told him I was starting to get frustrated at the lack of progress in anything in the Middle East. He told me that he used to feel the same way at some point but by now he sees the Middle Eastr as an endless book ... everyday we will turn a new page ... the story will go on and on ...

Last year, the Lebanese and Saudi controlled "liberal" Arab newspapers were full of opinion pieces advising the foolish Syrians to reverse policies .. or else they will follow Saddam Hussein's fate and Damascus will be the next destroyed Baghdad. Mamoun Fandy, Abdel Rahman alrached, and others used to write almost weekly to ridicule the Syrians.

This year ... the word "Syria" totally disappeared from all their columns.

So until the next chapter, this chapter is mostly good to the Syrian regime.

At 6/29/2006 12:42:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...


that is wonderful parable, or poem. Really nice, and of course, wise.

I think I hoped only to articulate why I think so much of the populace stands so stubbornly behind their leadership despite perhaps the wisdom of change, and certainly the rightness of confronting unjustness.

the decision of the 'tribe' may turn out to be wrought with folly.

I believe as you - with no reservations at all- that we have to protect the voice of dissent. To listen to our metaphoric canaries.
For anyone not familiar, an old American linguistic usage refer to those who are our "canaries in the mines".
This refers to the habit of miners who historically used canaries to take down into the mines. If the mines became too toxically full of carbonmonoxide, the canaries would begin to sing! (or I suppose fall over dead) as a sign that the miners were in mortal danger.

Regardless, if people make wrong decisions, we must, for certain, protect those who are our canaries, and never imprison them for singing out.

At 6/29/2006 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Alex, I advise you to apply for lebanese citizenship since you are so interested in Lebanese politics.
You seem to have made up your mind who is good there and who is not even though positions and attittudes change there by the hour.

Jumblatt is paranoid (and I am not defending him) because he is a Syrian target while Nasralla is pretty safe (except when it comes to Israel). The whole purpose of me advocating Lebanon's independance is for them to be spared from the Isreali/Arab conflit, they have suffered too much and more than 250 thousands killed during the civil war, and millions of displaced and emigrated people. Nasrallah does not see that and wants to keep flexing his and Iran's muscles thinking he can libarate the rest.
Israel exited from South Lebanon mainly because it did not need it anymore. If you fail to see that then accept another 100 years of violence and lost lives.

As for loving the USA, I hate most of their actions in the middle East and the rest of the world. I am and still is a strong war opponent and my love (sarcasm) is well known for Bush or any american who plays against the arabs.

However I see the Syrian regime doing for Lebanon and people in Syria the same of what is US is doing in Iraq or the Israelis for Palestinians. So who is the hypocryte now...

As for Syria only sheltering some refugees, I have strong doubts about that, they control Hamas/Jihad big time and they push the buttons whenever it suits them just like the big massacre of Hamas (killing elederly people aged 70+) during the arab summit in Beirut. Syria fuels the tensions there and they don't care since it is palestinian blood which end up being spilled.

The Hypocrisy here, is what does Syria achieve by confronting the US and the West, what does the US want from Syria? how come a lot of countries who made up with the west advance and have a lot of freedoms (look at Puerto rico/Dominican republic for example and compare them to Cuba, or Poland versus Belarus) and people who calls for confrontation end up being oppressed by their rulers. They even have Israeli/US blessing to stay in Power (middle east). Saddam Hussein was their agent and he still is (why do you think he is still alive). Bashar is another who plays their game just like his dad did, but the people don't benefit and their enenrgy is wasted on conflicts that don't get us anywhere.

As for Michel Kilo, regardless of what I said in the past and I was more polite and less confrontational, nothing got achieved and you saw the political lines/directions that you got from your useless regime, so what is the point of begging for something that won't happen anyway. It is not like they care about my or anyone's position anyway...

As for Zanobia that I can tell never lived in Syria, you don't know the real support of people for their regime because they are manipulated, specially the young people who don't know anything else. Ever since I grew up people from all kind of spectors were always pissed at the regime but they saw no alternatives...

Alex, thank you for deciding for the Syrian people that they can't afford and don't want democracy...I bet similar romanian people decided that during Chawchisco, and Chileans during Pinochet...the list is long.

Eastern Europe and South America made so much progress the last 15 years, Asia made so much money during the same time and we are still debating whether it is right or wrong for someone to be put in Prison.

Learn from Serbia and Montenegro who just few years ago were bombed like Hell from the americans, now they are ready to open a new page(not advocating violence here) but I am stating how the people are ready to overlook the past for a better future.

Congratulions all, you just got a PHD in Syrian Politics.

At 6/29/2006 01:01:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...


Perhaps the GODS Heard me yelling about it last night as 3am!

For the Supreme Court of the Land has taken back its authority from the Tyrants!

AMERICA has some redemption, after all........The law of the Land may survive.......and the prisoners may be free........

Supreme Court Blocks Trials at Guantánamo

"The Supreme Court today delivered a sweeping rebuke to the Bush administration, ruling that the military tribunals it created to try terror suspects violate both American military law and the Geneva Convention."

At 6/29/2006 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

Hey common FARES!
Rejoice a little with me! You FREEDOM lover.

I thank you for the PH.D..... that's how happy I am.

You are right, I constantly need more education...I give my opinions, but there is always more to learn.....

At 6/29/2006 01:19:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Zenobia, great canaries story, very needed.

I was not trying to teach you anything, that is my style of writing, you know a lot but sometimes people get fooled by the appearances...

Regime is great in marketing the street and people support idea just like the communists did and look where they are now.

Not all americans are behind their presidents who keeps telling them they are in danger, why do all Syrians have to follow blindly their leaders that got them nowhere...

At 6/29/2006 07:02:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...

I finally found the Arabic text for the poem. It is by Duraid Ibn AlSumma an pre-Islamic poet from the 6th century. Notice that crude notions of democracy exited then in arabic culture, and we are still told in the 21st century that we are not ready yet (we just need a few decades more)

دريد أبن الصمة

أمرتهم أمري بمنعرجِ اللوى

فلم يستبينوا الرشد إلا ضحى الغدِ

فلما عصوني كنت منهم وقد أرى

غوايتهم أو أنني غير مهتدِ

و هل أنا إلا من غزية إن غوت

غويت وإن ترشد غزية أرشد

At 6/29/2006 07:08:00 PM, Blogger SimoHurtta said...

Fares actually Puerto Rico is part of USA and the president of Puerto Rico is the US President. How ever Puerto Rico’s citizens can’t vote for their President – strange democracy isn’t it. Why Fares?

Poland got its democracy with no US help. Gorbatshov can take more credit for that peaceful process than Reagan and Bush Sr.

Romania’s dictator was Nicolae Ceausescu (not Chawchisco) , who was thrown out of power by Romanian people, not by US Army or CIA.

Sadly Fares you failed in international politics exam.

If a president of a "great democracy" tells stories to his citizens about non existent WMD's, is ready to paint spy planes with UN colours to get a reason for war, establishes gulags, allows torture, spies his citizens, throws people in prison without no change of a trial etc (the list is long), we could spend a little while analyzing these two presidents. Has Syrian president done more in trying to make his country more democratic, than the US president has managed to create behaviours that we can see normally in dictatorships? I would say that Syria has gone slowly in better direction, when USA has gone in fast the wrong direction.

At 6/29/2006 08:15:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Thanks to Zenobia for her inspirational story...
Syrian Dead Canaries

I summarized a lot of my relavant quotes in there so it makes it easier to understand my position. But I don't think it anyone would change camp

Comments are welcome on my site

At 6/29/2006 08:58:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

I doubt very much the story that Bashar was in that Latakia palace at the time Isreali plane pass over it, and no Syrian guns were fired, nor there was any missile launched, in fact there were some syrian planes flew later but they were there 20 minutes after all isreali plane left completely the area, there was no chasing, nor was any confrontation.

At 6/29/2006 09:04:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...


I am sorry If I offended you with the spelling of Ceausescu, I knew it was wrong, I just did not have time to research it.

I am aware that Puerto Rico is in the Us, I was there recently, they are nationalist people and they chose not to elect the US president :::It is there choice not to be a state to preserve their heritage, nothing to do with the US here. What I was trying to say is you can look at the economics indexes and quality of life for them and Dominican republic and compare them to Cuba who have pretty much the same background and proximity, except different policies and you'll see who wins. I went to all these islands and Cuba by far was very disturbing with their poverty, prostitution and crimes...

As for Poland, I did not say that the US helped them but they do help them now, so much money was invested from the US and Europe, they hated the soviets big time while neighbouring Belarus still suffers under a dictartorship rivaling that of Assad, in fact they are pretty good friends.

Again I do not give credits to the US in the romanian revolution, it was a different point illustrating that you can't really measure the people support for dictators and you can't decide what is better for them as Alex and others are doing for Syria.

History and Political analysis is one of my strong points and so is logic.

Bush may be is bad for the US and the world. Bush is agaisnt democracy, I was boiling for 2 years because of the Iraq war and before the support of Israel. Israel is bad for the region too...

but if arabs and Syrians don't change their current way of resistence and confrotation and if the Syrian regime keeps behaving like it is the 80s thinking that Iran is the Soviet union that can back them, they are in for nasty surprises. Syrians are known for being good business people, open up the country for them instead of increasing the isolation and yes it pays to have good relations with the Us if you have not noticed that already.

Why is Lebanon who went through 15 years of civil war and has barely any natural resources 5 times richer per capita than Syria...they were pretty equal in the 50s...

If your vision is for Syria to keep dodging bullets and stay steadfast then enjoy military rule and poverty forever

At 6/29/2006 10:11:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Just wanted to say that the two posts using my signature above are/were not mine. Thanks.

At 6/29/2006 10:26:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Alex ,can you define to us the problems that Syria faces then open a debate after your openion to solve them without shouting the regime down or up.present one problem at a time.

At 6/29/2006 10:53:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Norm, why do you need Alex to do it, you can do it yourself

Just Split 3 categories
1) External Problems
2) Internal Political Problems
3) Internal Social and Economical Problems

The list is long and the regime is doing nothing to solve them except arrest whoever tries to help

At 6/29/2006 11:50:00 PM, Blogger Abu Kareem said...


At your request, here my comments about this debate. It took me an hour to go through this string of comments!!!

Fare, I admire you passion. Remember though that it is not only Michel Kilo who is languishing unjustly in jail. With regards to your debate with Alex, I respect his approach though I am skeptical of its effectiveness given how ingrained this regime's influence is. If Alex knows for certain that there are true reformers working from within, then all the power to them. The bottom line is that all Syrians who want change but differ on how to achieve it should be working together rather than hurling accusations at each other. To me all approaches short of violence are valid and all should be deployed simultaneously. This means Alex's approach but also your approach and much more of both. The regime has to know that there is consequence to their action.

As for Aussama, I don't quite know what to make of his shifting comments. He is consistent on the idea that all Syrians should rally around the government in times of crisis. I disagree; if the crisis is caused by an incompetent regime, why should we support it? Both Bashar and George W. use the same tactic to disenfranchise opponents: you are either with me or you are not patriotic. As to why Syrians outside are more vocal, it has nothing to do with wealth or education, it has to do with the simple fact that we can express our opinions freely.

As to what I would like to see happen in Syria, I know what I don't want: neither Iraq '06 nor Lebanon '76. Of Nafdik's list I would pick #1 first then #6. Both may be wishful thinking; reality is never that cleancut.

This regime, and here I disagree with Alex, has sown the seed of its own demise. It will self destruct at some point. The hope is that in the meantime, enough reform has occured (the Alex model) that a regime collapse will not mean descent into total chaos.

At 6/30/2006 02:28:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Dear Fares,

By now it is clear to me that you see what you want to see in my comments, and you distort the rest to look like easy targets that you can shoot down with ease.

It is great that you are always polite. Politness, however, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a productive dialogue.

Consistently shouting down ALL my ideas, clarifications, arguments, and counter arguments that you did not innitially like is not something that can be masked through politeness... and your obvious good intentions are not sufficient either.

I realize by now that you prefer to express your opinions with some anger. True, that makes your comments interesting to read... a good monologue.

Just in case one day you are interested in a dialogue rather thatn using all of us as audience to your speeches, May I suggest one standard and elementary technique: After finishing typing your comments, read them again and try the following:

1) Any paragragh that has no value but to express your anger, delete it.

2) Any arguement you base on your own personal opinions (and not on solid facts), be a bit modest when you present it. When there is no certainty, reduce the absolute words (never, always) and replace them with probabilistic terms (some, a majority, likely, perhaps)

Again, the above is not meant as a general attack on your character, it is limited to explaining my opinion of why we are not able to establish a dialigue. And I am convinced if we meet one day we will be friends, away from Syrian and Lebanese politics.

Time to go to sleep for me, but when I wake up I will add my comments on Abu Kareem's excellent comments, and I will think about Norman's big question... big because it will hopefully start a long list of additional comments.

At 6/30/2006 07:03:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

English translation of Bashar al-Asad's Al-Hayat interview now available: Part I, Part II.

Lebanese leaders agree that al-Qai'da infiltration into Lebanon is taking place:

"Participants also discussed the infiltration of Qaeda members into Lebanon. According to Acting Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat of the February 14 powers, the infiltration is taking place through the borders with Syria.

But Sayyed Nasrallah who also warned against the infiltration said it is also taking place through Beirut's International Airport."

Berri: National Lebanese discussions went smoothly and positively

At 6/30/2006 10:19:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

Alex I am glad you bring up Ghandi :)

Ghandi was far from being a regime appeaser.

India's condition during his revolution was worse than Syria. Very low education level, nearly no middle class, sectarian violence, potential for country break-up (which happened).

The British did bring stability and progress and their human rights record was better than the current Syrian regime.

Ghandi's view was not to support the English and give them the time to reform India before they leave.

He demanded freedom immediately and gave the British no room for compromise. His revolution was fully confrontational and he accepted all the risks associated with fighting a much more powerful army without firing a shot.

In your opinion what would Bapu recommend that Syrians do with their regime?

At 6/30/2006 10:32:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Abu Kareem thanks a lot for your contribution. I am sorry that I just talk about Michel Kilo but I want all the prisoners freedom. I don't want oppresion anymore in Syria. Michel Kilo to me is the symbol but so are the other heroes, I won't be satisfied until all arrested people unjustly are realeased...It does not look likely that they will be released anytime soon and that is not making me happy at all.

Alex if you read my post "" you'll realize that I tried to avoid putting any blame on you(I took your name off). If you don't like my politeness then it is too bad.

But let's back up for a minute and resume what happened regardless of you comments of sympathy for Michel Kilo and I am sure they are very very sincere. I am also sure that Bashar Al Assad regrets jailing people just like W Bush regrets killing civilians in Iraq.

Karen Hughes failed in embellising America's image in the arab world, not because she was not smart or sincere or competant but because her government failed her with all the counter productive actions.

You on the other hand know how bad the recent actions of the regime are but you are constantly justifying it and saying that is the only way possible given the circumstances. Or saying it will change give it five years, or now just start education reform, after I kept relaying to you what the minimum needed is. The goal post keep changing regarding what the regime can deliver, what is the point of having a dialog, we don't have time to waste if no results happen. What is the point of agreeing on something or a strategy if there is no way or no means to make it happen.

Recently after it became clear that they won't back up, you shift your position by attacking Michel Kilo that he was a bit confrotational and he chose the wrong moment and he sided (or looked like he sided) with the lebanese, he did not side with the lebanese he sided for justice. Then you ask for the link to publish his last article to gain sympathy (I mean hatred) for him, then you start looking at Lebanon the same way or 80% how the Syrian regime look at it. Then you are talking about me that I am angry, then Aussama shows up (Josh I still would like you to check if Ausama and Alex are sharing the same IP or both come from Toronto)
and start giving us his bullshit and how we are unpatriotic, adds salt to injury by saying that he is related to his sister's friend.

Then you asked for civilized and saying that we are more advanced than the people inside. Please give them credit. I did not change my attitude on the regime when I left Syria It happened well before that and a lot of my friends felt the same way and yes they are very civilized. Syrians are one of the most polite people in the middle east. They are just frustrated and facing a dead wall.

Sorry I have to go...

At 6/30/2006 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Fares, I wonder if you realise that you just gave another example of what I meant in my last comments... you feel your post at your blog which criticized me without specifying my name was an example of your ability to participate in a productive dialogue ... and then, contrary to commonm sense, you are very simply insisting that ther is a serious chance that I am calling myself Aussama and then thanking myself (when "aussama" called me a diplomat or senior academic).

And earlier you justified your doubts by the fact I used other names elsewhere ... again you will make me spend time justifying something that was so obvious:

This is where I used two different names

It was so obvious I was joking ... I called my self Jasem and Tannous at the beggining of the two posts but I signed at the bottom with my Alex name to show that it was indeed me who is "tannous" ... I was making a joke on my friend Ehsani ... but you want to be blind and deaf and listen to your own conclusions, then go ahead and announce your speeches everywhere ... and then get so frustrated that the Syrian regime did not listen to you and free Michel Kilo the next day.

And then I also have to also convince you that I am not the Karen Hughes of the Syrian regime...

At 6/30/2006 12:07:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Alex ,can you please stop wasting energy on debating fares ,please get back to problems and ways to solve not just keep talking about how bad things are .

At 6/30/2006 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Norman, we are the only two not watching Germany/Argentina.

Actually I am watching the game as as I type.

I'll start with Abu Kareem. Your question and Nafrik's Gandhi hypothetical question are more challenging and will be better handled after the game.

Abu Kareem:

1) You supported the idea of simultaneously pushing for the two peaceful options #1 and #6. I am with you 100% there... I see number 6 being more probable, given the mood in Syria today, but if that mood changes enough for peaceful civil disobedience to become a powerful movement ... then I will support them. It is a matter of probabilities for me. Anything peaceful and probable is worth supporting.

2) Yes I know there are enough honest and capable reformers in the "Syrian regime". These reformers have to fight two types of "opponents": the corrupt majority in "the regime" who are only interested in their own personal gains, and the Syrian secular intellectuals who make the job of the reformers more difficult as they are fast to lose hope in reform ... in that respect they act like typical opposition parties in the west ... forgetting that it is one thing to come up with a nice set of goals (democracy, freedom of speech ...) but it is a whole different thing to try to achieve those ideal goals in reality. Instead of wasting (yes wasting) their energy on repeating fo the millionth time how corrupt is the regime, they can all (including the American and French parties who are interested in reforming Syria) concentrate on something positive and potentially useful: boosting those who are in the center (not he opposition) ... the honest reformers who can be trusted or tolerated by the regime to work slowly on fixing things.

very simply: we need to move enough forces to the center to give that center enough energy and momentum to move faster ... right now everything is on the two extremes: the regime, and those who call for the overthrow of the criminal and corrupt regime ... day after day after day. Not very creative and not very effective.

3) For your last paragraph where you said:

"This regime, and here I disagree with Alex, has sown the seed of its own demise. It will self destruct at some point. The hope is that in the meantime, enough reform has occured (the Alex model) that a regime collapse will not mean descent into total chaos."

The most significant qualifier to your point is: define "the regime" ... "the regime, to me, is all over "Syria" ... its "collapse" is therefore, something that can be achieved over the next few decades (continuously, not one shot in 2050) ... we have to start today with education ... so that My friend Fares and other good Syrians like him know how to participate in a political discussion without losing their logic and their temper.

I would start by removing these from our school text books and start teaching this instead...

We have more than enough passion in the Middle East, we need some balance instead.

At 6/30/2006 01:37:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Ok Alex, I am sorry about the suspicious Aussama thing (It just that I saw some sentences from him ressembling your style and the obvious way how he misspells things and you both came at the same time late at night the other day), but I have no more doubts now, see I can change my position on some things if I am wrong and I apologize.

I am also sorry that we don't see things the same way...We have the rights to disagree...

However don't expect us to sympathize with the regime regardless of their intentions, we need actions not empty promisses, we also need changes on how Syrian regime behaves with its people and it neighbours not just expect other countries or the people to adapt to what they want...

And I am not saying you are Karen Hughes or Georges Bush, I am saying that we can't applaud or justify regime policies, they have to listen and fix their mistakes.
I am not directing the attack to you so don't take it personally, I am just mad about a lot of people who probably share the same views out of hopelessness, since the regime decides the policies regardless of what people want (bunch or corrupt inside circle with no qualifications whatsoever just interested in making money and keeping power and bulldozing everyone in the process)

We have waited too long and we are very frustrated with the internal and regional situation. Regime is behaving with Syrian people the same way Israel behaves with the palestinians, just take and oppress and we can't even defend ourselves. Once they do the minimum then may be there is a chance of dialogue, you can't fight or debate someone fairly if he is in prison or his mouth is tied or hand coffed.

I remember ever since I was 5 years old, almost 30 years ago we kept being told that things will improve... when??? why when thinking where to live or move I can't even think about going back home...Enough!!!

Freedom for Syria

At 6/30/2006 03:49:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Dear Fares, Hi this is your "Ausamaa", and again I want to swear to you that I am not "Alex". I am an expat Syrian living in the Arabian Gulf right now not Montereal or Torrento or Porto Rico. I lived over at your side of the world long ago.But I could have lived -unknowingly- near Alex at one point, so we picked up the same manner of miss-spelling words in the same nieghbourhood. "Stuff" happens you know!!!
I come late at night sometimes or the other because of the time difference between "here" and "there". Solves the mystry for you?? I do not know where the hell Alex posts from, also.Joshua, can testify to that if he deems important or benificial.
Actually, this, and the fact that we subscribe to Joshoua site could be dangerous.What if this so called "Syria" is a snoopy site? You know; false-flag stuff, black-ops, part of the S ADmin effort to survey "who is not with us...". Come on man for God's sake. When you are so keen on finding who is saying what, then you are the one who qualify for a Mukhabarat role, not anyone else.

And please, do not put words in my mouth. I never accused anyone of being unpatroiatic (except for the stupid likes of Khadam, the MB,and whatever Syrian Opposition groups holding paid-for meetings in Geneva, Munich and DC. I just said, if you care about your country and its needs for reform; then put your words where your mouth is, and enoght "tanzeer". Go and help your country, inside your country rather than provide "theories, analysis and demeaning remarks" about Syria for the only benifit of those who are awaiting such God-sent Chalabies and Baynoni's (whose Jordanian/Iraqi/US supplied bombes killed so many in Damascus and Alleppo back when your were a child) which a lot seem to forget nowadays.The blood of those killed by them is more important to me than Kilo's spending few months in the slammer.And there is no denying the fact that thie support of those groups came from the outside. And, I am really suspicious of anything coming tho the Arab/Islamic world from the outside, even if it was putanical monetary or social advice. THe World bank is run by you know who now. So much for economic reform at the hands of those who destroyed so many good things in our world today. And who have really created a rift between us and the West because they neededa new enemy after the fall of the former USSR. We are the target of the "new world order" in case you have not got that figured out yet. Because of Oil, geostrategic position, and the pre-requisit of US imperialisem led by the US and by the needs of its corporatocracy;i.e. the militatry, industrial and banking group that in search for satisfying itself has destroyed everthing beautifull about America and the world.
I am not an idolouge, I am not a defend your country right or wrong person, I am not a Baathis, -although I respect all Bathists, communists, serious politicalparties- not for the results they achieved maybe, but for thier willingness to put thier cause ahead of thier own personal gains. I can tell you volumes maybe about where I think the Syrian government went right or wrong, and some times why. And I have told the same to many officials during the gatherings we have in Embassies here when we are invited for dinners and receptions. BUT. BUT, when I see the knives being sharpened against my country, Syria (and I know, and made to learn, that they are not sharpened in our interest but against it and against everyone who resents US hegemony over the area) nor yours or mine, then I have to stand by my country.And my country by no means has the worst economic, human rights, political, or development record in the area. Look at Egypt, Jordan, Saudi, Iraq, Morroco, etc..., and we are better off. Of course, I would like every one to be able to stand at the highest rooftop in Damascus and shout out critisim against the regeim if that was the priority of the moment.And I do not see that as the case now. And I do not love anarchy ala-Iraq, Somalia and even Egypt even, and I do not like to play to the tunes of others, unless it serves my country's and nation's interests.
And I also I am proud of many stands of My country. Call it defiance, nationalism, Syrianism, oe whatever. That is where I was born, that is where I got part of my education free, and that is where I was never hungery. THat is where I saw electricity reach the far away corners of the country without US aid.That is where I was scared when we were blackening out the windows and preparing the streets against the expected invasion of Damascus in 1967, and that is where we regained our dignity by reaching the shores of Tibries in 1973 untill the US airlift and Sadat's "accumen" denied us a victory that was so near, at a time when every one wrote us off as a defeated nation.
So for God's sake. And that is where-now- I see a "manifistation" of the genersity of some of our oil-rich brothers making its way to Syria after they realised that Syria, the Baath, Bashar, or whatever has not fallen and have managed to survive despite standing up to the mightiest challenges a small nation the size of Syria has faced.
That is where I come from, and from there I can write volumes about what is I see as write and wrong with my country, which is niether broke, defeated, hungry, nor accepting to kiss some ones but to make it survive. I see money going into wrong pockets, and I hate it, I see corruption, and I hate it, I see missmanegment and I hate it, but in the end it is not a perfect world we live in. It is a world where you have to reconcil the "availlable", with the "possible" to achieve the "best possible". It is a world where maybe ten thousand western educatedand, senior managers, technocrates, experienced "decision makers", bankers, and "bold mold-brakers" are needed more than anything else to make
a change possible. And those, unfortunatly, would not leave thier cushy $ 200,000 pa jobs to help thier country. And do not worry, the highest echolons, the good intentioned ones and there are many of them in power now even if you refuse to accept it as you only see evil around you; they know that this is what is needed most.But can the government afford it. And once you got those on site, then you have to break certain cycles. And ' then comes overcoming "esistance to change" which is no easy task. But it is achievable. That what "living" nations do, and that is how "kiving nations" join hands to build thier collective future.
They do not circle like volturs around thier country awaiting for it to disintegrate, so "maybe" things will become more to thier liking and they "proudly show" thier western girl friends or friends how Great the old-land has become. Not in our nieghbourhood anyway.
So please, I am not handing out certificates of patriotism, nor am I an old fashioned ideologe. I rwad, and I read, and I see what the the writers of Ha'aretz say, what appears on the Tomepaine site, and what is promoted on the site American Enterprise Instuitute, the Washington Institute, and what Anthony Cordsman says over at CSIs and what the CDI says, and I even venture into Across the Bay to see how bad Michael Young's hangover is. And I end my night by watching the murkey faces telling thier cheap lies on LBC and the Future TV. Then I go to sleep dreaming of a day when we all of us "read" and "learn" and " filter out information" rather than merely stick to cetain positions and parrot others positions.And I do not dream of or imagine monster-sized mukhabrat men whose only job is to through us in jail. I imagine many of them as patriotic men striving to protect thier country and I do see few them busy furthering thier own intersts. Which is normal all over the world.
THat is where I come from, and that is where I wake up, hoping-not dreaming- for a better Syria, a more reasonable US policy, and a less destructive Israeli tank, and more honest Lebanese politicians, and fewere dangers directed at us. And smarter Syrians who can really manage to get us to where we want to be.And I see many of them.I see them using PC's, surfing the internet, watching the space channels; learning and comparing and planning. And I know that they would not land from Mars or arrive on DC originated flight, they grow up from the masses and they trickle to thier country to help it get better. And I really see this country as a, prouder, safer and better place in the nieghberhood, but not as good as I, or even Bashar would want it to be.
Finally, pleae belive me, I am not ALEX...But if I was, why would it make a difference to you any way????
Have a nice Saturday, wherever you are. IT is Friday night here.

At 6/30/2006 03:53:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

The situation is different,now,1- oil revenue will decrease,not increase, 2-Hariri, and Saudi help,is not there,3-Syrian troops are out of Lebanon,and hariri murder investigation was not present at Hafez time, 4-Hafez fought Isreal in 1967,and 1973,5- inflation was not as bad as it is now, 6-syrian population was half what it is now.
probably Hafez participation in War against Isreal was his strongest assets, now Bashar is giving concessions.
Also the increase in population,will leads to fighting.
some believe that peaceful change, is the best way, those who thinks this way has no fight in them ,they sure are the loosers, the more aggressive you are the more likely to win, those who are passive,they will never reach their goals.Power is the best fortune.

At 6/30/2006 04:45:00 PM, Blogger SimoHurtta said...

Fares your vision of Syria is obviously a pro American secular democracy which would open the country for free trade and do in politics what USA (and Israel) commands. And donate most of Golan Heights to Israel. The only problem is that this kind of government is extremely uncertain to emerge by a peaceful process. A US financed military junta would be more probable option, but it would mean a much harsher ruling style than the present one (for example in the Indonesian coup CIA “donated” to the soldiers lists of the members of the left wing intelligentsia to be executed – result over one million killed in the “communist hunts” (even most of them were not communists)).

Let’s summarize the options of a change

1. secular western style democracy
a. pro American
b. nationalistic
2. democracy based on religious and tribal parties
3. military junta
a. pro American
b. nationalistic

Option 1a can be achieved in this post Iraq atmosphere only by repeating Iraq operation.
1b is highly improbable, because Iraq operation has made the support for such solution weak in Middle East and in these uncertain times people support the more “religious” and “tribal” options. A democratic option number 2 would most probably lead to a rather fragmented and weak government and which would be mostly anti Israel and American. And on a longer term it could lead to dictatorship by the dominant group or even to a civil war.

A military coup would be the “easiest” solution for USA to establish a regime it likes, but it would lead to a very bloody and hated regime – much worse as the present. An “enlightened” nationalistic (= not pro American)military junta could probably solve many problems, but not the main problem – relations with USA/Israel. And there is also the fear that the junta is not very enlightened.

PS. Fares your comments about Cuba are laughable. How could a country develop if its huge neighbour does everything to make it not to happen? Latin American countries did not get rich during the 200 year US domination. Now when they have taken a more nationalistic policy they are getting fast richer.:)

At 6/30/2006 09:35:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Ausama,what you wrote should remind every Syrian of what Syria did for them ,free education ,safty for our mothers and sister not seen in any western country and many other thinks good about Syria ,i just hope people who critesize Syria will offer help ,some great American once said ,(If you have the mouth to critesize then you should have the heart to help),so all Syrian who want better Syria ,please jump in and start helping .

At 7/01/2006 12:57:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Nafdik, if you are still here, here is my simple comment on your Gandhi question:

I don't know .. it is possible that he might have wanted to go with your preference to shake the status quo today. However:

1) Even though the president is married to a British citizen, that does not mean the reincarnation of Gandhi in Syria will consider it a similar case to the one he challenged in his previous life as an Indian fighting the British occupiers.

2) Gandhi is very wise ... it is quite possible he might look at the Iraq and Lebanon civil wars and decide that in the Middle East's tribal societies, people are not exactly ready for non-violence today

I would like to think that the Syrian Gandhi would decide instead to fight for ... educational reforms.

At 7/01/2006 01:29:00 AM, Blogger Zenobia of the East and West said...

Because I like Ausamaa so much, and think that he has many impassioned but worthwhile (or i should say and worthwhile, for their impassionedness may be part of their merit) things to say, I am reposting his last comment (June 30th with a small insertion from the prior day) …
It has been edited (and only slightly altered for clarity’s sake) by me. I hope he doesn’t mind. This way, anyone who couldn’t retain it due to linguistic deciphering or if they just are getting to the post, they can have an easier time…
Sincerely, Zenobia (for real)

Dear Fares,
Hi, this is your "Ausamaa", and again I want to swear to you that I am not "Alex". I am an ex-pat Syrian living in the Arabian Gulf right now, not Montreal or Toronto or Puerto Rico. I lived over on your side of the world long ago. It is possible that I lived -unknowingly- near Alex at one point, so maybe we picked up the same manner of miss-spelling certain words. "Stuff" happens you know!!!

I write on the blog late at night sometimes because of the time difference between "here" and "there." Does this solve the mystery for you?? I do not know from where in hell Alex posts. Also, Joshua, can testify to our separate identities if he deems it important or beneficial.
Actually, the fact that we subscribe to Joshua’s site could be dangerous. What if this so called "Syria" is a snoopy site? You know, false-flag stuff, black-ops, part of the S Admin’s effort to survey "who is against us...". Come on man, for God's sake! When you are so keen on finding who is saying what, then YOU are the one who qualifies for a Mukhabarat post, not anyone else.

And please, do not put words in my mouth. I never accused anyone of being unpatriotic (except for the stupid likes of Khaddam, the MB, and whichever Syrian Opposition groups are holding paid-for meetings in Geneva, Munich and D.C..
I just said, if you care about your country and its needs for reform, then put your money and actions where your mouth is! Enough "tanzeer".

(from previous day’s comment…) “Have patience. I am not saying give up on whatever you want to achieve. Strive for what you envision, as long as it in the service the aspirations of the whole nation. Try to contribute in a positive manner. For example, promote Syrian trade in your country of residence, promote or create Syrian Business Persons Associations, create a Syrian club, petition your congressperson, senator, representative or whomever, but don’t put your energies against the Syrian Regime. You should work most against those enemies who have ill will towards "YOU' and the "Regime" and "SYRIA".”

Go and help your country, inside your country, rather than providing "theories, analysis” and demeaning remarks about Syria which only benefit those who are waiting for the rise of such God-sent Chalabies and Baynoonies (those players on the world stage whose Jordanian/Iraqi/US supplied bombs have killed so many people from Damascus and Aleppo all the way back to when your were a child). So many people seem to forget this history nowadays. The blood of those killed by such agents of change is more significant to me than Kilo’s spending few months in the slammer. There is no denying the fact that the support of such groups in the past came from the outside interests. Therefore, I am (as many Syrians are) extremely suspicious of anything coming through the Arab/Islamic world from the outside, even if it was purely potential monetary or social influence. The World Bank and its policies are driven and dictated by you know who. So much for “economic reform”, as it has played out at the hands of those who have destroyed so many potentially altruistic things in our world today. It seems that these same powers have also most purposefully created conflict between the Middle East and the West, in part because a new world enemy is demanded after the fall of the former USSR. The ME region is the target of the "new world order", in case you have not got that figured out yet. Largely, this is because of oil, geo-strategic positioning, and the pre-requisite of US imperialism under the demands of America’s ‘corporat’-ocracy (comprised of the military industrial-complex, industrial and banking groups) and all those capitalist entities that out of their insatiable self-interests have destroyed everything beautiful and noble about America and possibly the world.

I am not an ideologue. I am not a “defend your country right or wrong” type of person. I am not a Baathist, although I respect all Baathists, communists, and such serious political parties- not so much for the results they achieved, but for their willingness to put their cause ahead of their own personal gains.

I could tell you volumes about where I think the Syrian government went right or wrong and sometimes why. And, I have expressed my opinions to many officials during the gatherings we have in the Embassies here when we are invited for dinners and receptions.
BUT. BUT, when I see knives being sharpened against my country, Syria, (and I know, and have learned, that they are never sharpened in our interest, but only against us, and against anyone- person or nation- who resents and rejects U.S. hegemony over the region) then I must stand by my country.

Furthermore, my country, by no means, has the worst economic, human rights, political, or development record in the area. Look at Egypt, Jordan, Saudi, Iraq, Morocco, etc..., I would argue that we are better off.
Of course,, I would hope to see a day when everyone is able to stand on the highest rooftop in Damascus and shout out criticism against the regime if the moment demanded it. I do not see that at this moment we can assert our right to do this. Moreover, I certainly do wish to invite anarchy a la-Iraq, Somalia and even Egypt even, and I never want to play to the tunes of others, unless it unquestionably, an unreservedly serves the people of my country and nation as a whole's interests.

I am proud of the many uncompromising stands of my country. Call it defiance, nationalism, Syrianism, or whatever….. That is where I was born; that is where I got part of my education free, and that is where I was never went hungry. That is where I saw electricity reach the far away corners of the country without begging for US aid. That is where I was scared when we were blackening out the windows and preparing the streets against the expected invasion of Damascus in 1967. That is where we regained our dignity by reaching the shores of Tiberius in 1973, …until the US airlift and Sadat's "acumen" denied us a victory that was so near. All of this took place at a time when every one wrote us off as a defeated nation.

So, for God's sake!…. this country is where-now- I see the beginnings of generosity coming to us from some of our oil-rich brothers. It is now making its way to Syria after the realization that Syria, the Baath, Bashar, and our country has not fallen down. WE have managed to survive despite standing up to the mightiest challenges a small nation the size of Syria could face.

That is where I come from, and from this vantage point I can write volumes about what I do see as right and wrong with the country. I see that it is neither broke, defeated, hungry, nor accepting to kiss some superpower’s ass in order to survive. Yes, I see money going into the wrong pockets, and this is deserving of hate; I do hate it. I see corruption, and I hate it. I see mismanagement, and I hate it. Certainly, it is far from a perfect world we live in. Nonetheless, it is a world where we have to reconcile the "available" with the "possible", and make concessions in order to achieve the "best possible".

It is a world where, no doubt, ten thousand western educated citizens, senior managers, technocrats, experienced "decision makers", bankers, and bold ‘mold-brakers’ or ‘out of the box’ thinkers …..are so clearly and desperately needed in Syria. More than anything else this is what would do the most in order to make CHANGE possible.
But unfortunately, those citizens are hard to come by who would willingly give up their cushy $200,000 paid jobs (hell, even their $60,ooo jobs) in the West to return and help their country!
You should also not doubt - that those good intentioned citizens still in the country, who are of the highest echelons and in positions of power (even if you refuse through your cynicism to acknowledge their presence and vital role) also know perfectly well what is needed most.
The question remains can the government afford to draw their citizens back home. And, in addition, if this can happen, is it possible then to break certain cycles of maladaptive behavior and social patterns? Of course, these are problems of overcoming resistance to change, which is obviously no easy task. But, I believe, it is achievable!
That is what people in "living" nations do, and that is how citizens in "living nations" work collaboratively to build their collective future.
They should not circle like vultures around the open wounds of their country, awaiting for it its body to disintegrate so that "maybe" things can be forced to take a form more to their liking (especially a form that they hope to proudly hold up to the Westerner as if to say: how fantastic the old-land has been so called advanced.)

So please, I am not handing out certificates of patriotism, nor am I an old fashioned ideologue. I read, inform myself, try to know what the writers of Ha'aretz say, what appears on the Tom Paine site, and what is promoted on the site of the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington ME Institute, and what Anthony Cordsman says over at CSIs and what the CDI says, and I even venture onto Across the Bay to see how bad Michael Young's hangover is. And I end my night by watching the murky faces telling their cheap lies on LBC and the Future TV. Then I go to sleep dreaming of a day when all of us will "read" and "learn" and critically examine information, using our minds rather than merely sticking to certain positions and parroting other’s positions.
I do not dream of nor imagine monster-sized mukhabarat men whose only job is to through us in jail. I imagine many of them actually also patriotic men, misguided maybe, but also striving to protect their country. There are always some whose only concern is to busy themselves furthering their own interests. This is the same all over the world.

Syria is where I come from, and that is where I wake up, hoping -not dreaming- for always a better country, amidst all the other hopes…… for a more reasonable US policy, a less destructive Israeli tank, more honest Lebanese politicians, and fewer dangers directed at our people.
I hope for smarter Syrians who have the capabilities and perseverance to manage to get us to where we all, after all, want to be.
I see many of these potential stars. I see them using PC's, surfing the Internet, watching the space channels, learning, observing, and planning for this future.
And, I know that they will not land from Mars or arrive on a D.C. originated flight. They grow up from the masses, and hopefully they trickle back to their homeland to help it grow too. I really see this country eventually becoming a more proud, safer, and exceptional nation in the Middle East, but perhaps, it will never be as good as I, or anyone, would wish it to be.

Finally, please believe me, I am not ALEX...( I am sooo much wiser than Alex) But if I was, why would it make a difference to you anyway????

Have a nice Saturday, wherever you are. It is Friday night here…...

At 7/01/2006 01:41:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

And finally (too late?)

Here is my answer to Dr. Norman's question (from yesterday) about some of the challenges Syria faces today.

How about discussing the topics that the Analysts at creative Syria discussed .. start with the Golan! which we all take for granted that we would give up anything to get it back.

Let us broaden the question a little bit:

Consider the following:

1) the golan ... Syria lost it in 1967

2) Iskendurun .. Syria lost in 1939

3) Lebanon ... was part of "Syria" earlier in the twentieth century

4) southern turkey?

How important or desirable is it in your opinion for Syria to fight for returning each of the above? ... we know that almost All Syrians readily pick the Golan heignts only. But my question is: Eskendurun? why and why not, then Lebanon? how many honestly have some expectations that one day Lebanon should be back part of Syria?...

The reason I think this is an important issue, is that as you can see ... the Golan alone took all ou resources (supposedly) for the past 40 years ... sowe should start to discuss openly how much do Syrians value the Golan and the other "lost territories"

At 7/01/2006 02:45:00 AM, Blogger mustapha said...

Before you start dreaming about Lebanon, you better wake up and realize this: The stars of mid noon are closer to you than Lebanon. Never in a million years will a Syrian like you set foot on Lebanese soil.

At 7/01/2006 02:47:00 AM, Blogger mustapha said...

Before you start dreaming about Lebanon, you better wake up and realize this: The starts of mid noon are closer to you than Lebanon. Never in a milion years a Syrian like you will set foot on Lebanese soil.

At 7/01/2006 06:49:00 AM, Blogger Philip I said...

Spare a thought for your poor neighbours. Read "Gaza by candlelight" on

At 7/01/2006 09:29:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...


Not that I will get into any debate with you, but the above four ex syrian territories are not part of my personal dreams.

At 7/01/2006 01:02:00 PM, Blogger mustapha said...


Neither do I wish to enter into a debate with the likes of you. Understand clearly that Lebanon is, was and never will be ex-Syrian territory. Lebanon is one of the oldest civilizations on earth. Lebanon will for ever be free, independent, democratic, sovereign and the land of dignity for the Lebanese people.

At 7/01/2006 01:57:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Ya habibi, dakheel 3ardak, the questions posed by Alex as I understood them had nothing to do with a "real desire" or "master plan" by a Syrian to aquier Lebanon and to go back to the days of the " Bank of Syria and Lebanon".
So do not worry, and please take my word as Syrian street man that 99.9% of the Syrians consider Lebanon to be an Independent, Free sov... whatever country.
Of course the Fertile Cressent is part of our history, but, that is it. History. So please stop being paranoid about the Syrians wanting to "take", "rule", "unite with", or anything of this sort with Lebanon.
Actually, if you Lebanese do not like and want your own Lebanon, why should Syrians do that.
Having said that, please remember that there are things called "spheres of influence" and things called "geopolitical facts". Those things determine, and will continue to determine, the relationship between Syria and Lebanon. And you can chose into which sphere of interests you would like to be. If you choose that of your Larger Arab sister, in a sincere and frank and honest relationship which serves both countries "and" the larger Arab nation, then you are welcome.If you choose to fall in the sphere of Israel or the anti-Syria international camp; then forget it; DO NOT EVEN DREAM OF IT. Not in a million years. If Lebanon chooses, or is forced to change its shirt, then many others, Lebanese, Syrians and others, will help you wear your Arab shirt again. Same as on a sunny 17th of May days years ago.
Come on man, half of Lebanon's population is trying to make a living outside Lebanon, and the other half is cursing the day they were born Lebanese, and all that keeps your "Phonician" mind occupied is that Syria wants to "aquire" you. No Syria does not want to, but Syria will NEVER allow Lebanon - or any other place it sees as falling into it's sphere of interest- to be someonelses pawn and to be manipulated against Syrian anf Arab interests. Tough life, maybe, if you wana see it that way,but that is what 20 millions versus 5 millions means. And those twenty millions are going to be there forever and multiply. And believe me, they like you despite all that has happened.
Now go to sleep peacefully and forget the brain wash Future TV, Jaaja, Junblato and Eido keeps telling you "naqlan 3an" and in the service of the true ones who want to gulp you up.
Lebanon is an independent state as far as ALL of Syria; President, People, Army and even "reef dimashq" is concerned.THe problem is that you either really do not believe this, or that you enjoy crying wolf every so often.Look south, and then you will see the real wolf. And look inside as well.

Oh,some of you Lebanese are trully somthing....!!!!!

At 7/01/2006 02:37:00 PM, Blogger mustapha said...

Mr. Aussama,

I also do not wish to debate with you. But, I could see you are trying to be reasonable. I will help you in doing so; i.e. being reasonable:

1) The Lebanese people detest the use of any kind of condescending attitudes, such as the phrase of so-called Larger Arab sister, etc…. If Syrians want neighborly relations, they should first abandon such attitudes.

2) Lebanon does not need any one to help it change its shirts.

3) Lebanon is not and will never be a playground for an imaginary sphere of so-called Syrian influence.

4) 20 million versus 5 million does not mean anything. Lebanese people are proud of being born on the land of Lebanon. The traveling Lebanese is no more than a continued tradition of the people of Lebanon since the dawn of history. There are over 20 million Lebanese scattered throughout the world. And they have proven to be leaders of the first rank wherever they happen to live.

5) Future party, Jonblatt, Jaajaa and others you mentioned are Lebanese leaders and therefore, they are respected by the Lebanese and outsiders’ opinion is of no relevance.

6) Your supposition about the imaginary help of 17 may is false. The proof is evident from the continued occupation of Al-Golan. The one who needs help liberating his land cannot help others.

At 7/01/2006 08:31:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Clovis Maksood is understandably depressed, as far as the arab conditions,but I think that things can not be much worse, American British occupation of Iraq can not last, Dictators will loose, Iran is moving toward nuclear power,and arab american number will increase in USA,so they will change american policy,the future looks to me much better, God is with those who are patient.

At 7/01/2006 09:21:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Hi Alex,Eskandrone was taken from Syria while under French occupation and the People of that region want to stay with Turky and that is the international border and so is said about Mardeen ,it is interesting for me as we are Syrian orthodox and my father used to remind me that we came to Syria from Mardeen and setled in Hama ,i mean my ansester grand father,but we cosuder ourseleves Syrian Arabs ,about Lebanon ,i beleive Syria aproved the seperation of Lebanon to prevent having a religous country in the midleast then comes the Golan which was occupied by war and against international law and the only way for Israel to keep any part of the Golan is if Syria approves and that should not happen and if we look at how the Lebanese and Hizballa got rid of Israel we can see that the only way to push Israel out is by low intensity war that will drain the Israeli economy ,Israel can not occupy all Syria and the only reason they are still in the Golan is because of lack of price for their occupation,so there is a big difrence between the Golan and the other areas ,what is sad for me is the shrt sight that Israel has and what peace will bring the area encluding Israel,so if they need water a canal from the Asad lake through Syria and with help with water from Turky will satisfy Israel needs and will make use of the Syrian desert which can be used if water is available ,about the slops of Haramon ,a long term lease could help ,about security ,these day with satelites no need for physical posts on the Golan.Israel should know that they can not keep the Golan without a price and Syria should be ready and use any violation of the 1974 disengagment to try to gain the Golan back and not stop untill that happens.

At 7/02/2006 04:00:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Mr. mustapha,
Ya habibi mabroouk 3alyk lubnan welli feeh. But to "correct" some of your remarks which myself -and most Syrians- would have acepted happily had it not been insinuating that Lebanon is and should be independent only as such an independence is related to "Syria".

1-Syrians "should" abandon such condensending attitudes such as .. Larger Arab sister!!!!! Syrians definitly would,but only once some Lebanese politicians stop calling KSA our "larger Sister" when money or support is needed, and they should also stop refering to your "al Um al Hanoon France", and when Jeff; i.e., the US High Comissioner in Lebanon stops treating you as if you as a Banana Republic. If those do not, then Syrians will continue insisting on thier legal "adoption" rights being if only on acount of being closer to you than others.
2- I agree with you regarding shirt changing, some Lebanese politicians can do that on thier own depending which way the wing sways and where thier interests -of the moment-lies.
3-Niether I, nor Syria are the ones who formulated the term "sphere of interst"; it is in physics, geopolitics, economics... and wherever you look. To deny the existance of such a fact is up to you, but that how life goes. And it is not bad. If you need to use Syria's roads to access other markets, or if you need electricity from Syria to welcome the Gulf tourists, and if you need Oil from Kuwait, and if you need Investment money from the Gulf states, then you "will" owe each of them something and they will have a certain degree on "influence", even as on what you eat for breakfast. Same like what you owe Paris 1, Paris 20 and Beirut 1.
4- I agree, Lebanese are inovative, successsful, talkative and convincing when they need to be. As to thier current travels, I only qoute what I hear on Lebanes TV and Lebanese people, that getting a visa to leave is a priority to many Lebanese. Of course, I can not blame them, they have to make a living. So we strike that one out. As to thier "proven" leadership skills, here I may debate with you as to which fields they excel most in.
5- As to the respectability of the Future gang (clean-hands), Jaaja (bloody hands, Kanisat al Najat, Harb al Elgha'a), and Jonblat (Dier al Qamar and al Muhajjareen)... a mere no comment from my side, if only to keep things cool.And allah ykhaleelkun yahun we yhanny Saeed bi Saeedeh.
6- As to the Golan, yes you are right, Syria needs all the help it can get to liberate it, and it will one day. But you can surely notice that no one in Syria has dreamt of saying that the Golan "does not belong to Syria" in order to avoid war with Israel and live happily everafter, as "few" Lebanese are saying that "Sheba'a Farms" are not Lebanese so they can absolve themselves from thier duty to liberate it.

So, you see, you are right in all the points you have raised. Have a nice Free Lebanese day.

At 7/02/2006 09:35:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

Israel should demand that Syria hands over the Hamas military leader - with the full knowledge it will not happen, but with the clear intention of attacking Syria when it does not.

The timing and circumstances are perfect. Not one Arab country would entertain the notion of helping Syria. Indeed, many would wish to see Mr. Assad dispatched.

Iran can yell a lot, but it will do little. Hezbollah in Lebanon, which may be tempted to jump into the fray, this time must suffer the relentless bombing of all the Shiite villages in south Lebanon, its power base.

Finally, it matters little whether the Israelis kill Mr. Assad, so long as they clearly humiliate him from the air and with special operations on the ground. Mr. Assad humiliated is Mr. Assad finished.

We have never asked our Israeli friends to do us a favor. Right now, we need them.

At 7/02/2006 12:03:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

Read "Gaza by candlelight" on and pass link to others.

At 7/02/2006 05:05:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Israel should know that it can start a war with Syria but Syria should not stop that war untill Israel is drained and defeated ,Israel was able to win previos wars because they were short it is time for Syria to try a long war.

At 7/02/2006 07:23:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

I am strongly for beloved Syria, if anyone attack Syria, our main fight is against Isreal, our diferences will be set aside, and I will return to Syria, to fight defending it.

At 7/03/2006 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...


The history of the world has shown that a dictatorship have a low chance of winning a prolonged war against a democracy.

So the first step to win any war is to create a democracy in our country.

At 7/03/2006 12:53:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


We have been in the dictatorship business long enough to overcome the shortcomings of that system.


But more seriously:

Most of you say that Eskendurun is practically gone and that Syria should accept it. Yet, , as my friend George Ajjan just reminded me, no Syrian political party dares remove Eskendurun from the map of syria on their websites:

Khaddam's NSF for example.

And of course Syria's ministry of electricity's new website

But only the sneaky Farid came up with a new bird design that looks like it could either cover Eskendurun or that Eskendurun is not there on the map ... What do you think? we should ask him.

So: if none of you want Eskendurun back... how come all the mainstream Syrian political parties include Eskendurun on their maps of Syria?

You want another contradiction?

Khaddam issued his press release after Israel sent its planes over the presidential palace ... there, he suggests that Syria should be as democratic as Lebanon so that it can liberate the Golan Hizbolla style (just like Lebanon was able to). But his partner from the MB int he same week declared that he would pursue peace talks with Israel if needed.

At 7/03/2006 01:53:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


"We have been in the dictatorship business long enough to overcome the shortcomings of that system."

More accurately:

We have been in dictatorship long enough that we forgot the taste of victory in any battle.

As for Iskandaroune, Lebanon, Mardine, forget it. No person in their right mind (including you) will want to live in a country where his family, property and life are subject to the whims of those who have all the guns.

The Golan is slipping away from us and if current trends persist expect more losses of territory, water rights, etc.

At 7/03/2006 05:13:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Seymour Hersh, LAST STAND, The military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy.

"Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his senior aides “really think they can do this on the cheap, and they underestimate the capability of the adversary,” he said."

Can you believe that this man is still in office?

At 7/03/2006 06:16:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

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At 7/03/2006 07:59:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

I love to have Eskandaron back with Syria but with globalisation and local rule it does not matter Syrian can own in Turky and Turks can own in Syria axcepting the border with Turky will open Turky and The EU to Syria and when Turky is axcepted in the EU then that will open the way for Syria and the Syrian in Eskandaron,Israel is a different problem Israel does not treat it,s non jewish as equal there is no chance to deal with people who think they are better than us .

At 7/03/2006 08:23:00 PM, Blogger Pascal The Fucking Arab Barbarian said...

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At 7/03/2006 09:06:00 PM, Blogger Pascal The Fucking Arab Barbarian said...

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At 7/03/2006 09:49:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

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At 7/03/2006 10:43:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

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At 7/04/2006 11:22:00 AM, Blogger annie said...

Unlike others I have not taken the time to read all of the comments but about the last ones:

JOSEPH ALI, I believe no one is minding the store while Josh is away and no one is thus filtering the garbage like posts.

More generally and speaking of condescendence towards the other, it is more a Lebanese trait than it is a Syrian. At least in my limited experience.

At 7/04/2006 02:05:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip 1 []

All posters and commentators, please stick to high standards of debate. Filthy language does not lend force to your arguments. You only upset other people and reveal your own uncontrollable emotional state.

If you allow yourself to become too emotional, you risk becoming irrational. It is often HOW you say something, rather than what you say, that makes people stop and think.

Make yourself a nice cup of coffee, put some music on, calm down, then write your piece.

At 7/04/2006 02:06:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip 1 []

All posters and commentators, please stick to high standards of debate. Filthy language does not lend force to your arguments. You only upset other people and reveal your own uncontrollable emotional state.

If you allow yourself to become too emotional, you risk becoming irrational. It is often HOW you say something, rather than what you say, that makes people stop and think.

Make yourself a nice cup of coffee, put some music on, calm down, then write your piece.

At 7/04/2006 04:51:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/04/2006 06:25:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip I []


You defend the regime so passionately. Fine. Can you elighten us with answers to these puzzling questions?

1) Where exactly was the Syrian airforce when the Israeli planes flew at low altitude over the summer palace north of Lattakia? (please don't the mention fireworks)

2) What's happend to the billions of US dollars that have supposedly been spent on the military since 1973 (33 years of spending our money without protecting us from the enemy!)

Anyone can be an ultra-nationalist. Talk is cheap.

Anyone can be stubborn and rejectionist and so can a mule.

Assad's officers do not have time to fight (too busy spending our stolen wealth), do not know how to fight (out of practice for 33 years) and certainly don't want to fight (there are more intelligence officers than army officers and they are all spying on each other). All they have learned, since joining the army, 33 yeas ago, is to pick soft targets in Lebanon. Now they are running to the Iranians for protection against the big bad wolf.

Neither the regime nor the Baath party can claim to have any real principles or honour left in their bones. Syria and its people have never been so poorly represented by their government, so weak and so humiliated.

At 7/04/2006 07:18:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

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At 7/04/2006 10:16:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe

I would say this:

Let other countries deal with their own rulers. You can swear and curse until you are blue in the face. But you still have no right to impose your view of the world on them. They are INDEPENDENT countries.

Shared Arab identity, Shared Islam, shared history, shared language....all fine. They still owe you and me NOTHING. You can blame them for not coming forward to help you or the poor Palestinians, you can blame imperialism and Zionism for creating artificial barriers and borders between the Arabs until you are blue in the face. The other Arab countries still owe you and me NOTHING.

Once you accept this reality and this logic you begin to focus on putting your own house in order first. The Syrian government has neglected its home and abused its own family members for 30 years. The Assads hijacked the Baath party and corrupted it. Together they have trampled on the middle class and driven many talented Syrians out of the country. And the idiots are still doing it today.

The Syrian consitution has to change, or the country will never move forward. The Baath party must have the same legal status as any other political group. Its legitimacy must stem from honest votes rather than an unfair clause in the constitution, the army and state of emergency powers.

The president should not have executive powers and be allowed to think of himself as the centre of universe and develop a personality cult. Personality worship and fear of the ruler have retarded Arabs and Muslims for centuries.

Until policy making and decison making becomes more democratic (relying on collective wisdom rather than a handful of self-appointed elite), the country will never develop, mature and strengthen. It will lurch from crisis to crisis, become an easy target for Zionists and Neocons and damage relations with other decent countries (like Denmark!). The alliance with Iran is unnecessary and nothing to be proud of. It comes at the expense of cultural and religeous diversity in Syria and is a sign of weakness, which is SELF-INDUCED.

At 7/04/2006 11:56:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

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At 7/05/2006 12:23:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

Wow! this blog is much more fun when Josh is not here.

At 7/05/2006 05:52:00 AM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

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At 7/05/2006 09:21:00 AM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

“ The Syrian government has neglected its home and abused its own family members for 30 years”

With massive political, economic and monetary support from the same fuckers that you now claiming they are INDEPENDENT. COUNTRIES. Too bad, they did not think and act as Syria and Syrians are INDEPENDENT and saw it fit and appropriate to interfere in our affairs, so guess what, they are now LIABLE and the time to pay that liability is now coming and you can bark against it until you turn deep Royal Blue.

“The Assads hijacked the Baath party and corrupted it”

That was the best thing happened to the Baath Party and to Syria. Just imagine if Nour Al Din Al Atassi, Zuain, Jandali, Sarraj, Hatoum, Amin Al Hafez and other revolutionary clowns are in charge of Syria for 40 years. It just too bad that the Moslem Brotherhood members had no brains, still to this day they have not evolved one, and rather than starting this bloody revolt, made a deal with Riffat.

“Together they have trampled on the middle class and driven many talented Syrians out of the country. And the idiots are still doing it today.”

I give you credit here to be fair.

“The Syrian constitution has to change, or the country will never move forward. The Baath party must have the same legal status as any other political group. Its legitimacy must stem from honest votes rather than an unfair clause in the constitution, the army and state of emergency powers. “

Make’em do it, use your 60,000 well armed men, 300,000 well equipped intelligence force and call Bush and his boss Olmert to help you. Oh.. you also need to get leaders of the Islamic World and Protector of the Haramain, the House of Saadine (monkeys) and Leader of the Arab World, that is Mubarak, the one that his country is not only at Peace with the Murderous Jews but in love with them. Throw in that Abdullah too, he is a bigger traitor than his grandfather. Don’t be discouraged if Khddam and Riffat failed, you will make it because you got better clout with these INDEPENDENT powers and most importantly, you got fewer more Billions than both Khaddam and Riffat combined.

“The president should not have executive powers and be allowed to think of himself as the center of universe and develop a personality cult. Personality worship and fear of the ruler have retarded Arabs and Muslims for centuries.”

For sure he became my cult leader. Not so long ago he was not, but he genuinely earned it. Would you rather have a Jewish carpenter for cult personality instead or maybe George W Bush. Yeah..

“Until policy making and decision making becomes more democratic (relying on collective wisdom rather than a handful of self-appointed elite), the country will never develop, mature and strengthen”

Son of a bitch (that is a compliment) you earned another credit here too.

“It will lurch from crisis to crisis, become an easy target for Zionists and Neocons and damage relations with other decent countries (like Denmark!)”

First of all, it was Denmark that damaged relation with not only Assad and Syria but the entire Islamic world. Secondly, let me assure you with something, Saudi and gulf Bedouins will be facing only one crises, they will not be able to ship a single drop of oil out of their curse it desert, that is a crises. Egypt, will be facing a crises when very shortly a Moslem Brotherhood will lead a massive revolt, 80 million Egyptians armed with rifles and pistols and marching on Cairo, I call that a crises. That state where Jews live, hopefully everyone of them ( the final solution), will be facing a crises when One Million Palestinians are evicted out of Lebanon, Syria and Egypt to the West Bank boarder in Jordan, they have no food and a lot of amo, that is a crises. Bedouins will not have cash to buy bankrupt Western Government issued bonds to finance the bur going and out of control deficit spending, that is a crises. Neither would the Chinese or others, in fact, they will be selling bond holding and that is a humongous crises. Oil trading on NYMEX for $400 PBL that is the crises of the Millennia.

When Bashar Assad have someone like me calling him President, placing his poster at the wall facing me so that I can keep looking at it. When I am ready to provide him with weapon systems that he can mass produce within an affordable price, and technology that the Pentagon and the Murderous Jews may get lucky in a decade or so, and obtain the know-how for it though espionage (steeling ) how else? Bashar Assad and Syria faces no crises whatsoever.

“The alliance with Iran is unnecessary and nothing to be proud of. It comes at the expense of cultural and religious diversity in Syria and is a sign of weakness, which is SELF-INDUCED.”

Now you really pissed me off fucker, no credit here for this stupidity for sure.

Alliance with Iran is the most necessary and imperative for the security of Syria and the region in fact. Nothing to be proud of !!! Wow, Upset to read this crap…..What the fuck do you know about Iran’s history, present or future?. Dude, Syrians as a State and Nation never ever attained the status that Persia of the past or Iran of the present attained. It is more like “Not proud of for Iran to have this unnecessary alliance with Syria” They did it because we campaigned for it heavily and because they understood that the entire Islamic World and the Middle East region is in serious danger. And yes it is a sign of weakness on part of Syria, it is politically, economically and militarily a very weak country. Iran alliance is the fastest and best way to instantly balance the power vis-à-vis the Jews that are backed and subsidized by Christian Western Powers.

Since you are so ignorant, read this post about Iran and then read excerpt from letters sent to Islamic Republic of Iran, President Mahmood Ahmadi Nizhad persuading him to help Syria and President Assad:


The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the most Technologically advanced countries in the Middle East. In a decade it will supersede that of the Jewish Gypsies State.

It is one of the richest countries in the region and the most democratic one. It has legally licensed more than 1000 political parties and maintains a Parliament that even Gypsy Jew is currently an elected member. Despite all the wealth, you do not see the Mullah or Nizhad hogging all the oil production revenues to their own family, like you see in all the Western backed countries and even including Syria. The leaders lives in relative modesty and corruption is unheard off.

Today Iran holds huge cash and oil reserve that are spent only via the authority of it’s Parliament and not some Western educated Sheik (shit). It has huge industrial base that can manufactures everything from submarines and ships to luxury cars and even small passenger planes. All that despite a brutal 8 years war that was unjustly imposed on it by the West and Dr. Mengele Rumsfeld.

The Islamic Mullah don’t ship cash in plane loads to be deposited into the private accounts controlled by the Rothschild’s and Rockefellers like those fucking Western educated Arab Bedouin Emirs, they invest the cash in the country to build a modern industrial base . So that is of course a problem for the West, and hence the label Axis of Evil is attached to them.

If one wants to choose between the Rulers of Iran or any of the other secular and non secular Arab rulers the choice is obvious even for the most naïve of the public.

The people of the Middle East choose Islam because they see a country and leaders like that of the Islamic Republic of Iran and compare it in terms of democracy , fairness, justice, equity and all others to countries like well, too long to mention, for the sake of example, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Morocco and how about this for a joke the Sultan of Brunei, yep the mother that spends his nation wealth on whores. He imports whores from all over the world ( read about the horror story)

Do you really believe for one bit that the 37 Billion Dollars deposited in the West in the personal accounts of that fucker that rules Saudi Arabia will ever be allowed to return to the country. He steels it from his stupid Bedouin citizens and basically give it to America as the price his despot slave trading family is allowed to stay in power. He knows he will never ever see a dime of it back for himself or his stupid Bedouins.

Rather than invest these Billions to develop the Islamic world, he give it away and buy Worthless Jewish Certificate of Deposit and Long T Bills. Pretty long, 30 years. He on paper of course collect few pennies of interests, but the billions are invested in the West to finance the citizens and industries and make it the kind of high living standard you see.

I hope you are right that Islam will win the day. If the Mullahs and the Islamic Republic of Iran is an example and the rest of the Western Jewish enslaved and Emir enslaved countries and systems is another only insane person will not choose the Islamic one.

At 7/05/2006 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

I defended President Assad and his already proven Nationalist stand in comparison to the stand of immoral coward Western-Jewish installed and backed Arab thugs like the rulers of Bedouin Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and what have you.

I can ask you the same questions: What did the coward Arab rulers that are illegally ruling the masses do to give Arabs and Moslem some dignity. What happened to all the Trillions of Dollars spent by these regimes to defend the Arab Nation from the Jewish enemy? They surrendered to the Jews and sold their girls to work as sex slaves in the streets and bars of that unholy city of Jerusalem.

What did these immoral rulers do to help Syria regain the Golan, to help the Lebanese liberate the South, to help the Palestinian refugee living in the most miserable and inhumane of conditions, what did the blood and cash suckers ruler do other than ship the wealth of the Moslem countries to the Western banks, did they helped pressure the Evil Jews to respect the right of Palestinians, did they used oil as a mean to pressure the West and Israel to implement all those worthless U.N. resolutions passed in the past 70 years.

Comparing the resources available to Syria and President Assad and those available to those other Human scum leaches, a respected Syrian will kiss the ass of Assad and his father for giving us dignity that otherwise will have long been gone by another Abdullah and sharif, long ago Syria and Lebanon would have been a slave countries for the Evil and diabolic Jews.

Have you read today Saudi newspapers criticizing the poor Palestinians for standing to the Israeli criminal atrocity and genocides being committed at them right at this moment, have you read the intelligence reports about the carrots the Evil Jews approved on behest of the French and Americans gave our great President by their obedient servant the Negro African, despotic puppet in Egypt Mubarak! Have your read President Assad media outlets proclaiming the rejection of those carrots and solidarity with the Palestinian people and cause! This Syrian leadership, under all the pressure and evil plotting have stood up alone against all odd and gave not only the Syrians, but the Lebanese, Arabs and Moslems a DIGNITY.

Talk is cheap, you right, but President Assad and President Nizhad do not talk, they act and they have acted and are acting right now to defend their nations. You are the cheap talker Phillip, and you do not deserve to hold that title, you should call yourself JUDAS II.

Yes I agree with you, the Syrian Army, the entire Armed Forces and the Syrian Air force should have the latest technology and be ready as a Nationalist Army. That is the major issue we have with President Assad. We have offered to organize and equip the Syrian forces with weapon systems that can be made in Syria at a fraction of the cost of imported one, without all the political effects that import have, and by far much more sophisticated than anything available today. Unfortunately, President Assad and his ruling circle simply do not trust our intentions and have been threatened and discouraged from starting such a program by the Evil and diabolic Jews and those that work for them as stooges in Egypt and USA. It was this distrust that we have pushed the Strategic option for Syria to join Iran in a strategic Military alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran. A powerful nation and one that can serve Syria in the balancing of power with the Evil Jews, taking into consideration that the Arabs and their immoral and corrupt rulers all they good for is subservience to the devil, chasing pussies and casinos, not much more.

Talk is cheap you right, many talks, that is all they do. They just wants others to stop doing and start talking too, that is all the diabolic Jews want you to do. Lay down an talk. Do not be like Hamas, do not be like Hizbullah, do not be like Iranian revolutionary, just be like a typical Middle Eastern Bedouin, like King “Crown of Shit” Arab Bedouin, robbing your nation wealth and enslaving your nation interests to the evil one.

I will be more impressed if you and other bubble gum talker stop talking and start doing something for your country like the Jews do for that stolen Palestine they call their country.

Write President Assad a letter, tell him to strengthen the Syrian Armed Forces and tell him that you are ready to work for strengthening Syria.

At 7/05/2006 12:13:00 PM, Blogger George Ajjan said...

Alex, since you couldn't resist posting my observation about the NSF logo - I posted about it here.

At 7/05/2006 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

Ajjan, why don't you stay out of Syrian Political issues. Do we Syrians interfere in who run your country. This logo shows how little you know about Syria. Put ISKANDARUN BACK ON THAT MAP, and don't confuse it with Palestine or Lebanon like a typical Omaha hillbilly.

At 7/05/2006 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

You forgot to add this on top of the NSF logo

تقاعد بليونير انتمى الى

At 7/05/2006 01:08:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

kind of an appropriate name for Maheshi Mahiyoushi Bayanooni and Movie star Khaddam.

This political front will bounce like a true rubber Non Sufficient Funds check. They should have called it NSPPF, Non Sufficient Popular & Political Fund.

At 7/14/2006 03:36:00 PM, Blogger RastaRich said...

Boy are you (and Ahmedinajad) confused! And not just about the Holocaust. I refer to the idea that the US is now weak, and unable to attack Syria, and bogged down in Iraq.

Right now the US has a huge military force across the border from Syria (in Iraq). Politically, right now the US would love a nice new "Mission Accomplished". It would be just in time for the '06 elections, in which the ruling Republicans are thought to be in danger of losing control.

One may ask, "But then you lose control of Iraq." The US can leave Iraq to its Moslem-on-Moslem civil war, from which it might later rescue the exhausted Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites of the area. Now or later, the US will eventually withdraw and let the civil war there play out. This fact is finally dawning on the dim minds of the Bush administration. Retreating by advancing into Syria would be more politically palatable than just retreating.

The planning for the Iraq war was done a decade ago by neocons like Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz. All along the idea has been that it is necessary and beneficial to destroy the Arab regimes that are not US allies, along with their rulers: Assad, Saddam, and Khomeini - now, Khameini. Read their neocon magazines.

IMO, the idea that Cheney is unwilling to spend a week or two destroying Damascus is dangerously insane. IMO, it has never been as convenient or as politically and strategically attractive to him as it is right now.

At 7/14/2006 09:12:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

God Save Lebanon

At 7/16/2006 03:23:00 PM, Blogger Joshua Landis (My asshole has been fucked) said...

While you are reading this, my ass is being fucked by one of the Asad clan. I love it, and that is why I defend the Asad regime by all I have got.

At 7/30/2007 01:23:00 PM, Blogger webmaster said...

thanks for the nice article.
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