Monday, July 10, 2006

Asad Interview in al-Hayat 29/06/06

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: We are not anxious about an Iranian-American settlement. If it happens, it will serve the cause of stability, and Syria… The Beirut-Damascus Declaration harms national security and individuals were warned, then the judiciary moved. (Part II)

Ghassan Charbel Al-Hayat - 29/06/06

DAMASCUS - Here is the second and final part of an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Al-Hayat: President Ahmadinejad sent a letter to President George Bush, inviting him to hold dialogue. Can you invite President Bush to do the same?

President al-Assad: We have always called for dialogue, regardless of the form of the invitation, whether via a letter, a third party, or statements in the media. In most of our political discourse, we discuss the necessity of dialogue, and specifically with America. However, is this administration capable of dialogue? This is the more important question. Until now, it doesn't appear capable (of dialogue).

Al-Hayat: Is the door completely closed at present? There is no exchange of letters or signs, and Syria is skilled at such signs.

President al-Assad: There is an exchange of letters, but this type of letter gives an opportunity to the official side to say that it has nothing to do with these letters. Meaning, they claim no relationship to them so that they don't have to change their positions of support for a policy of isolating Syria, or not dealing with Syria. However, in fact, an American delegation came to us last week, and for example, asked that the meeting not be made public, and we agreed. They sat down for two hours and said, the administration will listen to our opinion. Perhaps half of the delegation stems from the administration, God knows, but they come under different names.

Al-Hayat: Do you feel that Syria is in a state of isolation, as a result of the tough international pressure upon it?

President al-Assad: No, in fact the issue of isolation was discussed by me during my recent speech at the Arab Lawyers' Conference. The issue of isolation is one of form; if we search for a formal role today, we are in a state of isolation. Syria is not seeking a formal role; we always seek a true, effective role. As for the Arabs, their role has become limited in recent years, especially after 11 September 2001, in terms of form. There is no true Arab role. Currently, Syria appears to be isolated in form, but in content, nothing at all has changed. We continue to have the same role, and in fact, the Syrian role has now become much better than it has been in years. The reason for this is that the Syrian view has proven itself to be correct.

Al-Hayat: Are you worried about the Iranian issue? Do you think that there's the possibility of war, between Iran and the US?

President al-Assad: If we think about this logically, we don't see such a possibility, because there are no clear horizons for such an event. No one can determine how far things will go, not in terms of geography or destruction; in qualitative and not geographical terms. I don't believe that anyone in the US, or elsewhere, who is sane thinks that we can settle matters with this kind of war. In the beginning, dialogue was rejected, and now there is talk about dialogue, and I hope that dialogue actually begins. Things are moving in the right direction, as far as we can see.

Al-Hayat: Doesn't Syria have fears about a US-Iranian deal that would involve seeing Iran considered a major regional player, meaning the marginalization of the Syrian and Arab role in the region?

President al-Assad: No, particularly with regard to Syria. I don't want to speak about the rest of the Arabs. Syria has a role in various matters, particularly regarding Iraq, and it will have a positive role, for the benefit of Iraqis, of whom we have received many. One cannot ignore the role of Syria, as an Arab state, and a neighboring state. Maybe I shouldn't use the word deal, since it has a negative, or sometimes opportunistic meaning. Let us say, settlement. What kind of settlement would there be between America and Iran? I believe it would be something positive, because it would serve the cause of stability, and the Syrian situation, in all its dimensions. Thus, I can say that we are not worried at all, and we say dialogue is a good thing. Dialogue in the end has the goal of arriving at a settlement, it's not dialogue for the sake of dialogue.

Al-Hayat: Can you see one day Syria entering into dialogue with America, via Iran?

President al-Assad: No, in fact dialogue with America should be direct. I'll go back to the same notion, if America is ready for dialogue with Iran than it is able and will be able to have dialogue with the entire world. Today, it is unable to have dialogue with its European and Arab allies. This is what we hear from the allies, who are unable to have dialogue with America. When you reach dialogue with Iran, then you can certainly be able to have dialogue with Syria, or others.

Al-Hayat: Some people are talking about a disastrous scenario for the region, meaning that people here will awake one day to find American planes striking Iranian nuclear facilities. The completion of the scenario says that Hizbullah in Lebanon will rain down its arsenal of missiles on Israel, and Hamas will complete things in the occupied territories. Does Syria fear such a scenario of this kind will jeopardize the security of oil and the region?

President al-Assad: Certainly.

Al-Hayat: Is Syria a part of this scenario, one of responding to an American attack on Iran?

President al-Assad: No, we are not a part of it. However, with all certainty, when the region becomes so chaotic, it is unreasonable to think that things will be stable with you. Perhaps events will push you toward becoming part of this chaos, when the issue is a huge and very dangerous one. But there is a more important question, in isolation from the military scenarios. When you carry out such an operation, where do the radioactive materials go? What will happen? If you think about striking a state with a nuclear capacity, imagine the chaos in a nuclear state - what does it mean? The issue is much more dangerous than a mere case of a military response here, and the launch of a missile there. It's much more dangerous than discussing the issue of the Strait of Hormuz.

Al-Hayat: If Iran manufactures a nuclear bomb, this means that the Arabs are between two bombs, Iranian and Israeli. Do you fear that the new Middle East will be a division of roles among Turkey, Iran and Israel?

President al-Assad: We should not draw parallels among the three states, in terms of role or objectives, but this returns us to the first question. If there is no desire for an Arab role, then we will not be present. This is what determines the picture you are talking about. If we want to be marginal, we cannot ask others to remain marginal, so that we remain strong. We should be strong, and then we won't worry about the roles you're talking about. However, it appears that these countries have a desire to play a role. I mean Turkey and Iran, and not Israel, which is another subject, since it is a state of occupation and has different principles. This is something patriotic, for these countries to play a regional role. Each state should wish to play such a role, but not in contradiction with one another.

Al-Hayat: Is the topic of Iran present in your meetings and contacts with Saudi officials?

President al-Assad: We talk about it as well as others. Certainly, and in the same logic as the way we discuss it with President Mubarak. In talking about the issue, I always say that the problem is the Arab role, and not the nature of the Iranian role, regardless of whether we praise, attack or defend the Iranian role. The issue is: where is the Arab role?

Al-Hayat: However, there is Arab rebuke for Syria because it went too far with Iran and signed security agreements with it, in light of the crisis and fears about nuclear aspirations.
President al-Assad: If isolating Iran is what is demanded, why did a stampede of Arab officials toward Iran take place recently? That's first. Second, this means that we see the way things are heading, and I was subjected to a fierce attack when I visited Iran last July.

Al-Hayat: From whom?

President al-Assad: From various media. Let's say that it wasn't from the media, but from the criticism of some Arab officials in some of their meetings, and now they're doing the same thing that we did. Thus, we knew where events were headed. The issue isn't whether we go with Iran. We're not going with anyone. Syria has its position, and Iran has its position, and we have Iraq between us. Today, Iraq is the most important topic in the region. We are all trying to play a role, without conflicting with each other, and it's not necessarily the case that one of us is attached to the other (in a dependent fashion). But we should not isolate Iran, so that we can say that Syria is playing an Arab role. We are playing an Arab role in coordination with Iran.

Al-Hayat: In the 1980s, Syria played a role in reducing the tension between Iran and the states of the Gulf. Is Syria playing this role now, or trying to play it, or do Gulf-Iranian relations require no mediator?

President al-Assad: We are playing this role and notice at the same time that there is awareness by the Arab countries that a clash with Iran is in no one's interest. So, they are moving. We are always trying, in every meeting or discussion on Iran, and in every meting with Iran and discussion about the Arab states, to pay attention to this subject. Having good and positive Arab-Iranian relations is necessary for the stability of the region, and we are trying to play this role, but as I said, Arab states are exhibiting awareness about this point.

Al-Hayat: Is there the possibility of returning to the Saudi-Egyptian-Syrian triangle, which was considered a kind of guarantee to control any Arab collapse?

President al-Assad: This triangle is important, and plays a role; perhaps it is not via a tripartite meeting, such as a summit, or foreign ministers' meeting, but through Syrian-Saudi, and Syrian-Egyptian, and Egyptian-Saudi coordination, which is present today regarding the same issues. We coordinate on a continuing basis, and in terms of content, this exists today, although the form is different.

Al-Hayat: How would you describe Syrian-Saudi relations today?

President al-Assad: Good, particularly with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz. He hasn't changed with Syria; despite what is rumored about impressions last year that King Abdulah was angry with us when he was Crown Prince. Of course, this wasn't true. Relations with King Abdullah specifically haven't changed at all.

Al-Hayat: Are there now Saudi-Syrian contacts underway? What are the issues discussed in these contacts?

President al-Assad: Of course, there are contacts about all Arab issues, and Iraq first of all. Today, the topic of Palestine, after the clashes began in recent weeks, has become one of the renewed and urgent topics of discussion.

Al-Hayat: Iranian officials say that they're ready to assist America in getting its troops out of Iraq, because this would be in the interest of the Iraqi people. Is Syria ready to help the US as well in this regard?

President al-Assad: Syria opposed the war to begin with, from day one until the exit of occupying forces from Iraq in open fashion. It also goes without saying that we are providing all possible assistance in order to see the exit of occupying troops, or let us say facilitating everything that we can, since assistance might be taken to mean something else. Certainly, we are ready for this.

American Offers

Al-Hayat: If we return to the topic of Syrian-American relations, Washington says that it doesn't want to change the regime in Syria, but wants a change in behavior; in your opinion, where is the problem? Is it Iraq, or Lebanon, relations with Hamas or Islamic Jihad? Where is the problem?

President al-Assad: I prefer to discuss a fact, and not an opinion. An opinion might involve analysis, but a there actual things being asked of Syria. First, we were asked to participate in the Iraq war, and we refused. Then, we were asked to disarm the Palestinians in Lebanon and Hizbullah, especially during the period between the issuing of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This phase involved bargaining, so that Syria could remain in Lebanon, but it would have to do this and that.

Al-Hayat: Who requested this? The Americans?

President al-Assad: The Americans, of course. (UN Envoy Terje-Roed) Larsen. Some Europeans, in the form of mediation, would relay American messages to us.

Al-Hayat: So that Syria could remain in Lebanon?

President al-Assad: This was the meaning of the proposal, also during a later phase. After the war, Syria was requested to promote the Road Map. Syria didn't oppose it, but didn't agree to it either. They wanted Syria to give them the cover, to say that the process was good, and that the proposal was good. We weren't mistaken. At the least, in terms of Syria the proposal wasn't good. We were asked to lay siege to Hamas, strike at Hamas, this was the change in behavior requested of Syria.

Al-Hayat: Is Syria ready to change its behavior?

President al-Assad: If we were, we would have done that a long time ago.

Al-Hayat: Regarding the international situation, has the wager, if the term is correct, on a Russian and Chinese role, shown its benefit in assisting Syria in general?

President al-Assad: In general, there is no doubt. These states stood with us during difficult times, in a clear and decisive manner. However, this was also part of Syria's policy to expand relations with various states. These states are important because they are permanent members of the Security Council, but we are also expanding our ties with countries in Asia in general, and Latin America, and these relations are important today, under current international conditions of America's going it alone to lead the world.

Al-Hayat: It's been said that Syria is ready to make efforts to convince Hamas to accept the Arab Peace Initiative.

President al-Assad: Let me clarify this point, against the background of the Egyptian-Saudi Summit, which asked Hamas to approve this initiative. We met with the leaders who are present in Syria, and consulted with them, and asked them what they thought. You know that Hamas, as an organization, has objections to the initiative. It rejects it, and has objections to many other things that perhaps Syria approves of.

However, our question was the following: How does Hamas, now that it is in office, deal with the proposals and what does it think? Of course, we didn't expect a quick answer, since the matter requires dialogue, and you know that part of Hamas is outside (Palestine) and the biggest portion is inside. There must be dialogue between those inside and outside (Palestine), especially since they hadn't taken a clear position on the matter.

We are now awaiting dialogue within Hamas about these proposals, but on the other hand, the idea being put forward is that Hamas is not flexible. Let's first ask something else, before the issue of flexibility. The natural question is on what basis should we advise Hamas or convince it, or pressure it, regarding the Arab Peace Initiative, which Israel doesn't accept in the first place? When we give advice to someone, we should have an answer about this point. Up to now, we still don't have an answer to this in Syria. What should we say to Hamas? Let's assume that it agrees - the initiative remains stillborn as long as the other side doesn't recognize its existence, and will not do so, it seems.

We are exerting pressure on something that might appear to be ephemeral or vague at times, so we should specify the response to this point. Another issue is that Hamas, in its new position being in office, has yet to abolish the (peace) agreements. Of course, it is not responsible for the agreements that have been signed, and we believe that there has been a type of flexibility in Hamas' position until now. Therefore, before talking about advice or pressure on Hamas to have dialogue, we should see what Hamas' opinion is, and give it the chance to hold dialogue, because they are an organization and have various rules, before we pronounce a final opinion on this matter.

Al-Hayat: It's been noted that the head of Egyptian intelligence, General Omar Suleiman, has visited Damascus many times. Is Hamas the central topic in discussions with Suleiman?

President al-Assad: This topic was in order to prepare for topics that would be raised with President Mubarak at the summit, and as we said, the discussion was about the Palestinian and Iraqi situations, and how we could move in the Arab arena. During my visit to Egypt, we followed up the discussion and prepared ideas regarding these two topics.

Al-Hayat: I understand from this that there is consensus between Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa and Khaled Meshaal (of Hamas) about a number of points, as a basis for Syrian efforts with the Arab League. What are they?

President al-Assad: Yes, of course one of them is based on Hamas' opinion of the Arab Peace Initiative. However, it's something that relies on what Hamas says, first of all. The second point is the topic of expanding the Palestine Liberation Organization, since it is the sole representative of the Palestinian people. In this case, in the event that Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions join the PLO, there are chances of a dispute between various groups; the PLO will be the container in which all Palestinian points of view would be gathered; it will take the correct decision, or what the Palestinian people believes to be correct. There is also consensus about support for inter-Palestinian dialogue and efforts to form a national coalition government.

Al-Hayat: Do you fear that a Palestinian civil war will break out?

President al-Assad: Yes, and this is not something that is new. I raised the matter when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began talking about "Gaza First." I said to them, this is a plan for a Palestinian civil war, regardless of the conditions that will arise. We didn't know that Hamas would compete in elections and we didn't know that it would win. But the Israeli goal conforms with what is taking place today, or what is being prepared today, under different circumstances. We believe that some Palestinians are giving Israel, via these clashes, what it has never dreamed of.

Al-Hayat: How is your relationship with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas?

President al-Assad: Good. The good thing about Mahmoud Abbas is that he's clear. There's a clarity, even if we don't agree about political issues. For example, Syria still believes that, regarding Oslo, and the Palestinian track of the peace process since it began, but we don't discuss these things. What concerns us most is the unity of the Palestinians, before these other things.

When I saw President Mahmoud Abbas during various events in Syria, and at the Arab Summit, I told him, "What concerns us is the Palestinians' unity. "We deal with President Mahmoud Abbas on this basis, and he's comfortable with this, I think, and we are trying to have equal relations with all sides.

Al-Hayat: Is Syria fearful about a protracted civil war in Iraq, that will have a regional attraction among people in neighboring countries?

President al-Assad: Of course. We bring this up on a continual basis, especially when explain to foreigners the repercussions that take place against a background of such things in Iraq; all other countries in the region that have such a social environment will see a long-term impact, and Syria will be affected, certainly. We always warn people about this point.

Al-Hayat: Has something practical come up in discussions among Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, some type of effort to see a recovery in Iraq?

President al-Assad: Currently, at least Syria has begun to do something. We proposed to our brethren in Saudi Arabia and Egypt that we act, since the meeting of Iraq's neighboring countries didn't achieve the desire results. Of course, there's an upcoming meeting of these countries, which Syria will attend, but after three years, what has this meeting of countries achieved? Statements. Statements will not solve the problem of Iraq; there must be certain foundations for our efforts. We now meet with many Iraqi delegations, especially in an unannounced fashion. We receive proposals from them and search for something that we share, and regarding this joint item, the Arab countries concerned with the issue should create a political formula that conforms to this joint item, the unity of Iraqis. We hear many objections to the political formulas that are out there now; some people object to the Constitution, or other things, and there are groups in Iraqi society that believe that they have lost, and won. There are groups that see themselves as oppressed, and this is very dangerous for the future of Iraq, regardless of the presence or absence of the occupation. We should unify these issues, and we in Syria believe - we always use this point as the introduction to our political discourse - that the Arabism of Iraq should be the basis, and everything should be based on this Arabism.
For example, Sayyed Muqtada Sadr has proposed a document containing a number of principles, and we believe that most Iraqis agree with these principles. Therefore, we should move based on these proposals, to create dialogue. At the same time, there was a meeting that was going to take place in the coming days, and was delayed. There was Iraqi-Iraqi dialogue, and Syria was taking part in it. We are now taking these steps in an active fashion, to strengthen relations with the Iraqis and help them create a strong dialogue process among them. This is in principle. However, this dialogue will determine the mechanisms for the future. We can't set down a comprehensive vision for the future; we only have preliminary information at the moment, nothing completely clear yet.

Al-Hayat: It had been decided that Foreign Minister Walid Moallem would take part in an Iraqi National Accord meeting in June, and it's now being said that there is an upcoming, separate visit by the minister to Baghdad. Are there contacts underway to resume diplomatic relations between Syria and Iraq?

President al-Assad: We have begun contacts, first, to restore diplomatic ties, which will be followed by appointing an ambassador or opening an embassy. Then, there is talk of moving toward meetings between ministers. Of course, the details of these dates haven't been settled, but it's there in principle. We aren't saying, no to diplomatic relations, but it's still early, because we're talking today about political relations and are looking forward to establishing diplomatic ties with Iraq.

Al-Hayat: It's been observed recently that the clashes between Syrian intelligence and Takfiri groups have been increasing. Are these clashes related to the climate in Iraq? Are there groups resembling al-Qaida, or what exactly?

President al-Assad: The relationship is a direct one, and in its essence involves what is taking place in Iraq. This is what we've learned from investigations, and not an analysis. According to these investigations, a big portion aren't linked to al-Qaida, or anyone. Most of them are cases that have developed due to the situation in Iraq; some of them via television, and others involve who went there and interacted even more, and returned with completely different ideas. Sometimes, these involve a mix of hatred of Americans, who are killing Iraqis, and those who are extremists and have left behind their religion for extremism. This of course is a case of leaving behind your religion, when a person becomes extreme in this way, and becomes a terrorist, who leaves behind their religion. They believe the issue is the same, and they sometimes bring in a third thing, which is that they must fight everyone who is not like them, regarding peoples, and states. The issue of al-Qaida is brought up as if it's an organization with a structure, or a party. As for the small groups, the only thing linking them is Takfiri thought. This is thought, as I have said, which is affected by what's happening in Iraq.

Al-Hayat: Do they receive assistance from certain quarters?

President al-Assad: No, most of them no. Most of them try to obtain money to fund their operations, because they are Mujahideens, as they believe, in the path of Islam.

Al-Hayat: Does it bother Syria if it turns out that al-Qaida has found a foothold in Lebanon?

President al-Assad: This is something that has become a reality.

Al-Hayat: Does al-Qaida have a presence in Lebanon?

President al-Assad: When Syria was present in Lebanon, al-Qaida was there, but in a restricted scope. The Dinnieh events of 2000 were a clear sign of this.

Al-Hayat: Does Syria have information about the growth of al-Qaida's influence in Lebanon following the Syrian withdrawal?

President al-Assad: Of course. It's natural for us to make this connection, and today there are many groups that we are pursuing; some of them flee from Syria to Lebanon, because it's closest, and easiest, and there are mountain roads. Certainly, some of the information that we have confirms this.

Al-Hayat: Mr. President, why has reform been so tardy in Syria? Is it because of pressing regional conditions, from Iraq to Sharon's presence in office for a long period of time? Is it difficult to change mentalities in Syria?

President al-Assad: Who has set the pace of reform, so that we can talk about being late? This is a natural question. I have always asked this, and never receive an answer. What is the speed of reform? Reform means going as fast as possible with as few losses as possible. The person who can determine this is responsible for reform in the first degree, the highest official in the state. This is if we want to call reform slow or fast. I think that these kind of evaluations are a waste of time.
Slow or fast, this is something subjective.

The important thing is whether or not we're moving forward. This is number one. We are moving forward, with big steps. The proof, or one of the numerical indicators, is that growth in 2000 was nearly zero. Today, according to the IMF report, growth in the non-oil sector is 5.5 percent. Without reform, we wouldn't have been able to reach this number, in terms of the economy. However, we must determine the priorities of reform, which for us have always involved the economic situation, and we are focusing all of our efforts in this direction.

Another aspect is - do political conditions serve our cause. Of course, they don't. The political conditions in Syria and around it involve pressure over the last year, and the clear and direct obstacles from America and some European countries regarding the reform process in Syria. All of this means that we were able to carry out reform despite these conditions. How would it have been if the situation had been normal, or if there had been regional or international support for reform? In fact, there is no such support; there are direct obstacles, in addition to obstacles that are due to various political conditions.

Reform requires creativity, and creativity can't exist if we are closed to the outside world. By this I don't mean extremism, or terrorism, since the distance between them is small. We are carrying out reform; what determines the speed are the tools that we possess. You are on a boat or ship, but you're not the only captain. The ship is the region, and there are many people who participate in steering, domestically and externally. Therefore, the reform process is not something you lead, in absolute fashion, or are asked about in an absolute fashion. These surrounding conditions should be taken into consideration.

Al-Hayat: Regarding the 10th Five Year Plan, which was approved by Parliament, can you say that this represent Syria's vision for the coming years, politically and economically? Are you optimistic that it will be actually implemented?

President al-Assad: Of course, as a vision, it is certainly Syria's vision for the future. However, the possibility of implementation depends on the implementing plans that will be proposed and ratified. In one of my recent meetings with the Cabinet, I stressed this point.

This issue depends on the possibility of creating dialogue among various parties that are concerned with this topic in Syria, especially the federations, unions and organizations, in addition to the state, and various chambers. Perhaps we sometimes agree on a general principle, but we don't agree on the mechanism, especially when we know that the mechanism used to arrive at a given point will affect certain interests, sometimes, or requires a bit of belt-tightening, and perhaps it will be rejected. Therefore, it's not enough to be optimistic just because we've ratified this plan. This isn't enough. We must set down mechanisms for dialogue.

Al-Hayat: You said, in your recent PBS interview, that priorities have changed, and that now the priority is security, due to the conditions existing in Syria. To what extent does this affect reform? What does this mean in practical terms, on the ground?

President al-Assad: I hope that it won't be affected. However, I think that there will be an effect, since the priority is for it to move as quickly as possible, and as strongly as possible in a certain direction. This direction, which is being determined, is based on two things. The first is what is the possibility of accomplishments on this front? It's natural for the priority to be in an easy area. Second, how much insistence is there, and how much hurry, in the sense of danger? What is the dangerous impact on this front? Regarding this aspect, we say that the repeated terrorist acts in Syria, and the security forces' confronting these acts, has made this area difficult and urgent, meaning it should be treated quickly, as a priority. I can't say that this area is more important than the economy, more important than food and people's material conditions. However, I think it is equally as important. What's the use of being well-off today and hungry tomorrow? One needs in order to get his fill, to survive, and get your fill and live to be able to achieve development in other areas; this is logical.

Islam and Arabism

Al-Hayat: Recently, there have been indications in official Syrian rhetoric about an "accord" between Arabism and Islam.

President al-Assad: When I spoke at the conference of Arab political parties, I said that Arabism is linked to Islam. We cannot forget that Arabic was the language of Christ, meaning that it links various groups. When we support Arabism and Islam, they are complementary. After the independence of Syria and most Arab states, there was a western plan to strike at Arabism and Islam, and thus there was division in society. These forces would exploit such unrest. Linking the two issues is very important, to create stability in these societies.

The second point is that some of those who talk about Islam do so as if Arabism doesn't exist. This is dangerous, because it is Arabism that binds various segments of our societies, whether in religious, sectarian, or ethnic terms. I always say that Arabism is not a chauvinist idea, as it is said, or a racist idea. The idea of Arabism is a civilized one. What brings together various segments is that the foundations upon which Arab society is based involve Arabism and Islam, so these elements must be stable, so that other areas remain stable.

Al-Hayat: How did the Syrian leadership and Syrian authorities receive the establishment of the National Salvation Front?

President al-Assad: With contempt.

Al-Hayat: Why contempt?

President al-Assad: Any action for change must be based on the people. We live in Syria. I live with the people and I know exactly how the Syrian people sees these people. Whoever claims that he's able to undertake action for change should have the people, first of all. As for setting up fronts outside the country, and international support, all of this is meaningless. It's received with ridicule at the popular level as well.

Al-Hayat: Do you believe that the National Salvation Front enjoys international support?

President al-Assad: Yes, in one way or another.

Al-Hayat: Financial or political?

President al-Assad: I don't know if there's financial support. Political support in principle, yes. But financially, I don't know.

Al-Hayat: Were you surprised by Abdel-Halim Khaddam's being a part of it this group? Did you expect this?

President al-Assad: No, we weren't surprised. We didn't necessarily expect it. The performance and the (political) program are the same, it doesn't matter what the form is.

Al-Hayat: Has the storm passed?

President al-Assad: No, we think it's a long one.

Al-Hayat: The threat to the regime doesn't appear to be worrying, or is this just an impression?

President al-Assad: There's a difference between saying that the attack has tapered off, and our knowing how to deal with this attack. To begin with, Syria's vision has been clear. In terms of content things are continuing, we have more confidence and are better able to deal with new events or a new attack.

Al-Hayat: Since Syria trusts itself, why were there arrests recently?

President al-Assad: First, when we carry out something internally, the policy directive involves our internal situation, meaning that situation is what concerns us, and we don't worry about reactions. We don't allow anyone to intervene in something internal.

Second, we don't view this topic from the standpoint of whether we are confident about ourselves or not. When this topic is broached, it's broached as if the regime is afraid, and in fact it's not. The people were warned because the statement harms Syrian national security, and there has been cooperation with Lebanese groups that are hostile to Syria, in secret and openly. Therefore, this is illegal and goes beyond our national situation. It's natural for the law to be implemented on them and be tried, and there are now ordinary trials, not extraordinary tribunals.
END of Part II


At 7/10/2006 05:45:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"We cannot forget that Arabic was the language of Christ, meaning that it links various groups."

Bwahaha. But after all, he was educated in Syria.

At 7/10/2006 06:20:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Did the interviewer also think that Arabic was the language of Christ or did he choose not to correct Bashar out of courtesy/fear?

At 7/10/2006 06:54:00 PM, Blogger SimoHurtta said...

Actually Jesus spoke Aramaic, not English, Hebrew or Jiddish.:) The Arabic script evolved from the Nabataean Aramaic script.

Seems that you must increase your level of education, Ehsani2 and Vox Populi.

At 7/10/2006 07:02:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

Philip I said:

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

And he said:

“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”

Thought it was worth re-posting here.

My comment is to all Syrian oppositions: Bet on President Bashar Assad, don’t throw your chips and gamble on the Poker Deception Tables of the Americans and the Baccarat tables of the stooges they find and promote like Ghadri and Bayanooni. You do that, and you will be lucky to walk without your shirt on your back.

Finally, Jesus, if he ever existed (no evidence that he did), Would have spoken in the Syrian language of the day and that was Aramaic, which was spoken by and it was the Diplomatic language used by the whole region, except Arabs. They at that time and still are just Bedouins worshipping Anat and Alat and tossing coins on the Kaabah.

President Assad could not be ignorant of this fact, sorry Mr. President but you stretched your Baathist Arab Nationalist false propaganda just into the unbelievable roam, sort of like Stalin’s gimmicks or the Jews with all their fairytales of Moses, Solomon, David, Temple and what else the Holocaust. Now we have Jesus speaking Arabic. Next time President Assad will call him Abdul, just to be more determined in pushing his bankrupt Arab Nationalist Ideology, which he ready admitted that Iran’s Islamic one is better for Syria National Security and that the Arab one is not available.

At 7/10/2006 07:12:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Jesus spoke Aramic?

No kidding.

SimoHurtta, please spare us the obvious.

Bashar cannot say Jesus spoke Arabic and assume that readers will assume that the Arabic script evolved from Aramic.

At 7/10/2006 07:34:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Readers make sure you memorize Bashar's words, interviews and speeches, it would be on your kids exams in 10 years. haha

no seriously they should alter the new testament and substitute aramaic with arabic.

More seriously, you could comment on my new posts
Syrians are victims of the regime

Arab Blogs get Some media exposure

At 7/10/2006 07:38:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

I love the dictator spirit in Assad when he says:

First, when we carry out something internally, the policy directive involves our internal situation, meaning that situation is what concerns us, and we don't worry about reactions. We don't allow anyone to intervene in something internal.

Well Bashar I am internal and so are the Syrian people who are demanding freedom for Michel Kilo and the other liberals heroes. Unless you mean internal is only you and you and your family...what an idiot who does not even know how to hide his intentions

At 7/10/2006 08:21:00 PM, Blogger George Ajjan said...

this is what was said, in Arabic:

عندما تحدثت امام مؤتمر الاحزاب العربية قلت العروبة مرتبطة بالإسلام، ولا ننسى أن العربية لغة السيد المسيح. بمعنى انها هي التي تربط بين كل الشرائح المختلفة.

At 7/10/2006 10:23:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

عندما تحدثت امام مؤتمر الاحزاب العربية قلت العروبة مرتبطة بالإسلام، ولا ننسى أن العربية لغة السيد المسيح. بمعنى انها هي التي تربط بين كل الشرائح المختلفة


When I spoke infront of the Arab Parties Conference, I said, Arabism is tied with Islam, and don't forget that the Arabic language is the language of the Lord Christ. Meaning it is Arabism that connect the various sects."

President Assad is desperately attempting to revitalize the Baath Party failed Arabism Ideology by tying it up with Islam, Jesus and Christianity.

Mr. President. First of all, you need to forget about that notion that Mohammad PBUH introduced of protecting “Ahl Alkitab” اهل الكتاب. That was millennia’s in the past. Even back then, the Prophet managed to slaughter all he can from the Christians and Jews Arab population. That was when Christian and Jews considered themselves Arabs not Israeli or French.

Tying up Christianity to Arabism is a failed strategy from the start. In today reality, Most Christians of the Middle East would rather not be called Arabs, but Lebanese, Copt or what have you. They want nothing to do with Islam or Arabism. Non Arab Christians, will do all they can to help the Jews kill every Arab and Moslem.

The Baath party need to face facts and reality of today, not keep romantically fantasizing on the flawed notion of Arab Nation. Where is this Arab Nation that the Baath Party is desperately grabbing on? It was Persia that came to Syria aid, and Shia Islam, not Islam.

Mr. President, even you late father understood this and had the party split into regional and whatever قطري . It did not work in his time and neither your new deal. What you need is to stop diluting the focus and energy of the Syrian People with this Arabism and start focusing on Greater Syria and Syrians. Drop the Arab from your interests and vocabulary, there never was or will ever be an Arab Nation, and drop Jesus too, that Jewish carpenter never existed, read about it here:

You want to extend the Baath Party life and make it relevant in today world, drop socialism, adopt Syrianism and just stay secular. Ties-ups are no longer the solution.

At 7/10/2006 10:37:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/10/2006 10:46:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/11/2006 08:24:00 AM, Blogger Ivanka said...

Vox Populi, I would rather be ignorant than racist. You are a racist and he is ignorant. So he is better than you.

At 7/11/2006 08:28:00 AM, Blogger Ivanka said...

and I bet when a US or israeli friend of yours says Jesus spoke english or hebrew you do not dare correct them. Most US people think Jesus spoke English, do you think that is because they were educated in Syria.

At 7/11/2006 10:33:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Nice, Really nice...

It is true that some people can see the Trees but not the Forest!

Some skim through the above debating the fact wether President Assad was correct about the language Jesus spoke, and then -depending on each's feelings- move on to something like: "most Christian Arabs would rather call themselves Phoniecians or Copts" or whatever...

Very intersting and informative ofcourse, but this is not even the TREEE. It is not a very small BRANCH in this case.

The FOREST however, in my humble opinion, is the fact that the relatively large and highly publicized Interview of President Assad by Al Hayat, owned by (....) and voices the thinking of(...) lets say very influential circles in our area, that the interview took place at all. After a an eighteen months where Syria was treated as a Pariah by some in the area.
This a step in a long list of similar ones in the direction of "telling" people that Syria and Assad has made it through...and that they are "OK" now...they did not collapse as "some have predicted" or should I say "wished", but they have managed to survive the storm.

That is the FOREST in our World which some refuse to see. Or the edges of it at least. A disappointment to some, but good news for many in the area.

Look out for Act III now. Mybe the next step in the Arabic print Media would be going back to: "President Bashar Al Assad" and "Syrian Authorities" as opposed to the more currently fashionable "Syrian Regime"!!!

This remark is not a serious attempt at an indepth analysis of the interview course, but it has certain important implications that should not be missed on the experts posting on this site and others.

At 7/11/2006 03:16:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...


At 7/11/2006 03:19:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

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Jul 12, 2006

Syria's one true friend - Iran
By Sami Moubayed

DAMASCUS - Since former president Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970, the Syrian government has managed to rally the street behind its foreign policy. Time has proven the regime correct since all the steps it took in foreign affairs, which seemed questionable to many at the moment, turned out to be wise.

For example, Syria's military involvement in the Lebanese Civil War in 1976 concerned many Syrians, especially since Damascus was siding with the country's Christians against the Palestinians - the sacred cow of Arab nationalism. This turned out to be wise policy after the conflict ended in 1990 and Syria benefited greatly - economically and in terms of political leverage and Arab prestige, from its presence in Lebanon.

Then came Syria's support for the Iranian revolution in 1979. The

secular Ba'athist regime of Syria was allying itself to turbaned clerics who were pledging to export the Islamic Revolution. The public was none-too-pleased, and was even more disappointed when Syria supported Iran in its war against Iraq - a fellow secular, fellow Ba'athist Arab state, in 1980.

The Syrians believed that the Iran-Iraq war was the wrong war with the wrong enemy and that it would play directly into the hands of Israel by weakening both Baghdad and Tehran. The Syrian regime supported Iran but did not send arms and money to Ayatollah al-Khomeini, the way other Arab countries did to support Saddam Hussein. Other examples followed, including the Gulf War of 1991. Again, Syria challenged conventional wisdom. Rather than siding with Iraq, as Jordan's King Hussein and Yasser Arafat did, Syria joined Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein.

The reward was great - surprising all Syrians who opposed involvement in Desert Storm. Syria was courted and treated like a superpower, by both presidents George H W Bush and Bill Clinton, and given an okay to keep its forces in Lebanon, especially after Lebanon's then anti-Syrian leader General Michel Aoun made his fatal mistake by siding with Saddam Hussein.

Today, after many years of doubt, the Syrian street no longer questions or opposes the government's foreign policy. This is either out of a sincere conviction that this regime cannot go wrong in foreign affairs, or many years of indoctrination of the Syrian people. Or, a combination of both. The street loves Syria's allies and hates its enemies. They hated Egypt's Anwar al-Sadat and loved Gamal Abdul-Nasser. They love Hasan Nasrallah of Hizbullah, Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Khaled Meshaal of Hamas. They despise George W Bush, Walid Jumblatt and Saad al-Harriri.

When Syria opposed the war on Iraq in 2003, the Syrian street rallied behind the government, for obvious reasons, arguing that the war was based on lies regarding Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaeda. The Syrians, government and public alike, claimed that the invasion was outright colonialism and aggression, no different from the European invasion of the Middle East after World War I. After that it took little effort to convince the Syrians how much of a mess Iraq had become under the Americans since the sectarian strife, security breakdown and post-Saddam mass graves are clear to everyone.

Syria insisted that it was not aiding the Iraqi insurgency by turning a blind eye to terrorist infiltration from the Syrian-Iraqi border. But even if Syria was involved with the insurgency, very few Syrians would have objected. The counter-argument was that Syria was doing its best to monitor its 605km border with Iraq, and that total security was impossible. This border was used by Saddam Hussein to send car bombs into Syria in the 1980s and Syria was unable to maintain a 100% secure border - even when its own security was at stake.

Today, Syria's foreign relations are based on a conviction that relations with the United States are no longer repairable so long as Bush is at the White House. Relations with France, the Syrians believe, are also strained so long as Jacques Chirac - an ally of the Harriri family in Lebanon - is in power in Paris. And so long as Chirac is around, Europe is not a priority on Syria's agenda. Mostly the Syrians have decided to ignore the West and head east. They want to create economic and political alliances with Malaysia, India, China and Russia, feeling that when the Western world sees that it has lost Syria, it would recalculate its relationship with Damascus. First on the list of the countries that Syria is reaching out to is Iran.

Syria's relationship with the Iranian regime is a topic of international concern, and many in the West - particularly in the United States, are questioning the wisdom behind such an alliance. Many say that it was cemented under President Ahmadinejad after he came to office in 2005. This is incorrect since Syrian-Iranian relations have been very strong since 1979. They were no less strong under Ayatollah al-Khomeini in the 1980s, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami in the 1990s and 2000s.

To understand why Syria and Iran are close today, one must understand the history of Syrian-Iranian relations. Syria was the only country to welcome the Iranian Revolution that toppled Shah Reza Pahlavi in February 1979. President Hafez Assad sent a cable of warm congratulations to Iran's new 76-year old leader Ayatollah al-Khomeini, who returned to Iran on February 1, 1979, and dispatched his information minister Ahmad Iskandar Ahmad to Tehran, with a Koran gift to the revolution's leader. In August 1979, then foreign minister Abd al-Halim Khaddam went to Tehran and said that the Iranian Revolution was "the most important event in our contemporary history". He proudly added that Syria had supported it "prior to its outbreak, during it, and after its triumph".

Khaddam was speaking about the hundreds of revolutionaries who had been backed by Syria against the Shah since the mid-1970s. They included future defense minister Mustapha Chamran and future foreign ministers Ibrahim Yazdi and Sadiq Qotbzadeh. Qutbzadeh, for example, had worked from Paris (with a Syrian passport) in the Iranian underground, disguised as correspondent for the state-run Syrian daily al-Thawra. Asad needed Iran to curb the influence of Saddam Hussein who had seized power in Iraq in July 1979, five months after the Islamic Revolution. Khomeini had spent 13 years in Iraq (1965-1978) in the holy city of Najaf, where he worked with the Shi'ite underground against the regimes of presidents Abd al-Salam Aref, Abd al-Rahman Aref and Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr.

In October 1978, Saddam expelled Khomeini from Iraq, accusing him of wanting to overthrow the regime, triggering an all out war with the Shi'ites. Syria gave him asylum, but he refused, setting up a base in Neuphle-le-Château near Paris, where he led the revolution on two fronts, against Saddam in Iraq and the Shah in Iran. The Shah fell four months later, but Khomeini did not live long enough to witness the fall of Saddam in 2003. Saddam was terrified by the Iranian Revolution, while Asad wanted him to see Iran as a friend and as a potential ally for the Arabs. All Saddam could see was a monster at his doorstep, fueling a Shi'ite uprising in his own backyard. The real threat, Asad would often tell him, was Israel not Iran. With Asad's attention fixated on Israel and Saddam's fixated on Iran, the two men drifted further apart in 1979-1980.

On September 22, 1980, Saddam invaded Iran, based on false reports he had received on Iranian weakness, believing that he could topple Khomeini in a breeze. These reports were given to Saddam by Iran's enemies, mainly Saudi Arabia, the US, Jordan's King Hussein (who opened his port of Aqaba to Iraqi war supplies), and Iranians in exile still loyal to the Shah. The official reason for war was to reclaim the Shat al-Arab waterway, which Iraq had given to the Shah in 1975. Asad was enraged by the war, considering it the wrong war, with the wrong enemy, at the wrong time.

Israel, however, supported it greatly, claiming that one way or another, this war would destroy a traditional enemy of Tel Aviv, either Khomeini's Iran or Saddam's Iraq. Gulf states, fearing Iran's growing influence, eagerly supported Saddam with money and arms, and so did the US. Asad argued that the war would exhaust both Iraq and Iran, benefiting nobody but Israel. He also worried, according to his biographer Patrick Seale, that Iran would be defeated by Saddam's strong army. He did not want to be cornered by two triumphant enemies: a victorious Saddam on one front and a victorious Israel on the other.

Quickly, Asad went to the Soviet Union, whose leaders, glad to see an end to US influence in Iran, were also early supporters of the Ayatollah. He issued a joint statement with Brezhnev supporting "Iran's inalienable right to determine its destiny independently and without any foreign influence". Syria airlifted Soviet arms to Iran, via Greece, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union, and in January 1981, resumed direct flights between Tehran and Damascus - a symbolic departure from the daily flights of the Israeli El Al airline between Tehran and Tel Aviv only three years earlier.

Saddam responded to the Syrian-Iranian honeymoon with force. In August 1980, the Syrian Embassy in Baghdad was stormed by the Iraqi Army and most of its staff was expelled, accused of smuggling arms to the Iranians. On October 12, 1980, Saddam closed his embassy in Damascus, further pushing the Syrians into an alliance with Iran. Asad opposed the war, but wanted it to end in Saddam's defeat. He closed Syria's borders with Iraq in 1982 and signed a trade pact with Tehran which gave the Syrians oil at very good prices. The honeymoon continued after the war ended in 1988 and after Asad's passing in 2000. When the relationship was created by president Hafez al-Asad, many had doubted its wisdom, but Seale wrote in his classic account: The Struggle for the Middle East that Syria's 1979 alliance with Iran was "a striking demonstration of political foresight and strategic flexibility".

The history in Syria's friendship with Iran paid off when Syria came under international pressure after the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafiq al-Harriri on February 14, 2005. The world asked Syria to leave Lebanon, but Iran would not make such a move, prompting Syria's Prime Minister Mohammad Naji al-Otari to visit Tehran in the midst of the international crisis over Lebanon and proclaim an alliance between Damascus and Tehran.

Syria and Iran have much in common. They have a mutual friend and ally in Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon. They have a common enemy in the United States. They are both committed to the Palestinian cause. At a grassroots level in the Arab and Muslim world, the masses are pleased at Iran's success story and support for Damascus. Why should Syria oppose Iran, or not cement its relations with Tehran, if the Iranians are being good and supportive of Syria?

The Syrian street sees the relationship as a natural and much needed response to the US and Israel's offensive against Damascus. After all, here is Ahmadinejad - a man who one year ago was a political nobody - defying and challenging the US, much to the pleasure of the ordinary Syrian. Washington does not really know what to do about him. Nor does Europe. Nor does the United Nations. Ahmadinejad is not playing the victim, like most Arabs have been doing since 1967. He insists that he is the victor in this undeclared war with the US, speaking to Americans in the same defiant language they use when addressing him. The Iranians are showing the world that Syria remains a regional power to be reckoned with, one that cannot be ignored, relative to Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.

One question arises: if Syria does not ally itself with Iran, what country in the neighborhood is an alternative? The Syrians, at daggers end with the US since 2003, are surrounded by a pro-American regime in Jordan, an anti-Syrian regime in Lebanon, an American regime in Iraq, and Israel. With such a neighborhood, Syria naturally sides with the Iranians. Gone is the Arab nationalist regime in Egypt. Gone is the Soviet Union. With such an anti-Syrian neighborhood, Iran, it is believed, is the only true friend to the Syrians.

Sami Moubayed is a Syrian political analyst.

(Copyright 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing .)

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Syria's Ba'athists loosen the reins (Apr 26, '05)

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At 7/11/2006 04:21:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

(With such an anti-Syrian neighborhood, Iran, it is believed, is the only true friend to the Syrians)

Not everyone in The neighborhood,
Anti-Syrian peoples, maybe Anti Syrian regime. ...

At 7/11/2006 04:33:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

Aussama, this article is dedicated to your big eyes so you can see, what your beloved regime tries to do, cowardly try to assassinate great women journalists

Happy News: May is back

May is our hero and I hope she is yours as well since I am sensing some logic in your recent posts.

Open your eyes and embrace freedom for Syrians regardless of the outcomes for the sorry regime.

Atassi you hit the nail right on. We need to see action starting with liberating the prisoners! 2000 interviews won't do it, Bashar becoming the new prophet won't do it. Syria deserves better.

Welcome back May and speak up louder than before

At 7/11/2006 04:50:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

syria alliance with Iran has been a smart policy, arabism is defeated, with Nasser,saddam and Assad are gone,but what we need is improving relation with Turkey, it is our friend now, which lives next to us, shares with us large border,I do not see improvement in relationship as much as I see improvement with Iran, Turkey is more important to Syria and Turkey may not be happy about our relation with Iran, Iraq should be the catalyst,to improve relation with Turkey, the goverment in Iraq is there because of american occupation, we should never have good relation with it as long as america is there,especially america will open Iraq to Isreal, once american occupation is gone, Syria must have good relation with Iraq, but now, Syria must improve relation with Turkey,this is not possible as long as Naji Ottrey is prime minister, we need someone else from Damascus,for example.

At 7/11/2006 09:47:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

I think Syria,s relation are the best could be with Turkey we have to remember that Turkey is part of Nato and has good relation with Israel, strong relation with Turkey will take time and will improve with Turkey recognition that Syria is Turkey,s door to the Arab petro dollars and investments.

At 7/11/2006 11:41:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...


What are you talking about?? If u r reffering to May Shidiaq assasination and her return to Lebanon, the verdict has not been returned yet to say the least. So...??

Actually, we have to feel sorry for what happened to her, although I have never heard of her before someone tried to assasinate her. But if your emotions can carry you away so easily to the point of mixing her return with the above interview, then may I humbly bring you back to reality and remind you of what the Lebanese Forces -to whome LBC where she works belongs- did to other Lebaneses and to the Palestinians in Sabra and Chatila camps in 1982? Or is their blood less valuable?? Or is the blood spilled now in Gaza and Iraq on daily basis -by people who support the people you seem to support- less valuable? Why do you not allow your same emotions carry you to crticize those "proven" killers for whose actions the verdict has been out for years.. many years?

I sympathize with what happened to her, but I do not see the relevance of your comment to the above interview.

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

Some people chose to remain blind!!!

Thanks for sympathizing with her, that is enough for me...

I don't need your buts and ifs and I don't see how she is involved in the innocents being kiiled in the past or the present.

You can't justify killing innocents by more well intended assassinations!

I did not know her either before but hopefully she will be the voice of freedom for all the weaks and oppressed including the palestinians who are being used as a toy by Mishaal and company.

Josh why don't you write about would be a good idea!

Funny how all the voices have been silent lately, must be all on vacation.

At 7/12/2006 12:10:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Aussama since you are showing me that you can sympathize, can you sympathize with Michel Kilo and the other prisoners of conscience arrested unfairly by the Syrian authorities (since you like to call them that instead of the regime), or are they also involved in killing Iraqis and palestinians?

or may be you believe Mistress Maria Maaloof cheap article on them

cheers and prove that you can be multi dimensional in your thinking and not just blindly follow the empty barks from the Baath party.

At 7/12/2006 12:24:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Also is it not strange that the leader of the LF at Sabra and Shatillas massacres was Elie Hobeika who a year later became one of Syria's main guys and participated in all lebanese governments approved and chosen by Syria...talking about hypocrysie and cheap blood.

At 7/12/2006 12:27:00 AM, Blogger sryani said...

Fares, Please see last comment in your web page.

At 7/12/2006 12:40:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

what about it sryani? you did not write me anything...

are you talking about Winston comment because I don't see anything wrong with it! He wishes the mideast to be free of tyranny...a lot of people including myself wish that.

oh may be you are referring to:
mustapha khaled, P.Eng.
July 12th, 2006 at 12:40 am
I don’t see your place is in Syriacomment blog. This blog is a waste of time. You should instead form your own group away from these Landis demagogues. You should stop feeding them your input and let them continue digesting their nonsense until they dry up. There are quite few good people out there with bright ideas to share.//

Don't worry...Syria comment needs to become more uptodate to real Syrian solutions for it to remain competitive. I use it as a medium to express my opinions and I try to use other forums as well including my blogs. But you are right sometimes I wonder what is the point for arguing with people who can't and don't want to change...

At 7/12/2006 01:42:00 AM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip I []

Let's keep it clean. I would never attack Bashar Assad (the private individual)by denegrating his intelligence, sincerity, modernizing instincts or some other admirable personal qualities that people say he has.

Anyone who chooses to study Opthalmology cannot have imagined himself to be leading a country upon graduation. But Bashar Assad (the President)was illegally installed in a puppet-like fashion and is not fit for purpose. He is an embarrassment to most fair-minded, mature and well-informed Syrians at home and abroad.

The press interviews succeed only in exposing the alarming shallowness of his political thinking and those of his faceless poker-playing advisors.

Their utter contempt for the ordinary man in the street could not be more obvious. They think and act as if the country is their own private enterprise and the population as indentured labour on feudal farm land (Iit is nobody's business what they choose to do with their slave labour). This is what happens when rulers and henchmen, with the remote village mentality, seize power before they have reached political and cultural maturity.

At 7/12/2006 05:57:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...


Its useless and time wasting, and I hate to respond to posts like yours which has the "sole & single" aim of continuously "demonising" a certain side or group, as opposed to attempting to use whatever mental and emotional energy God may have blessed you with to "understand" and "emphasise" with the various positions and situations you face each day in your life.

But,really, we had enogh of your -and your likes- B.S. about lecturing us at who we should sympathise with, who we should not. All that is without providing us with a shred of evidence as to why we should take this position or that. You, your likes, the mighty US, France, the "German Fox", supported by all the intelligence availlable to them has not been able to provide a single serious shred of evidence that Syria was behind any of the things you keep accusing Syria of. So bugger off for God's sake. And let us hold a serious discussion then when the "truth" is really revelead about who is behind all those acts. The continuous blame of Syria is getting no one anywher. Such an attitude is only enflaming the emotions of many and giving false cause for having a sense-of-purpose to certain Lebanese and Lebanese supporting quarters -at least for the time being-, but not for much longer it seems.

If you want to carry things a bit further and feel more enraged, I would like to "unfairly, but bluntly- advise you that in my humble estimate, even if some one finally manages to concot a briliant finding that, yes, Syria has done it; what in Gods name would happen? And what are you, your likes and thier supporters capable of doing about it. A big Nothing! Your whole Army is smaller in size than a Syrian Brigade, and your country's well-being is so dependent on Syria's goodwill, and your "friends" are the most opportunistic bunch history has ever seen. And keep in mind that at least half of Lebanon would stand by Syria. Watch TV it could clarify this to you.
So, if you are so convinced that the Syrians has "done it", then maybe you are better off readying yourself to prepare turning the other cheek of now if you can not wait any longer, and "swallow" such a hypothesis and its realistic consequences like you swallowed worse ones before.

So cool it off please at least for now and do not count on -or contemplate revenge-, it is a negative attitude especially when you know that the Syrian Bear has a lifelong lease on the plot adjoing your's.

If also you want to lecture us about moralities, you and your side would be at the of the line who can lecture Syria about such things.

So put that BushRumsfield intoxicating bottle on the shelf for a while, pray that a scenario like Iraq does not mutate into the nieghborhood, and belive you me, it is not going to be Syria alone! A crude remark maybe, but over due.

So, take it easy pal, and, again if your are so emotional about the injustices in our world go grieve for the Palestinians who produce ten May Shidyaks and her likes each day, without you and your likes giving a moments thought to them....
Otherwise, what you are sheding is Crocodiles Tears accompanied your "venting" of revenge-based sentiments. No more No Less.

Finally, I try to be cordial and cool-headed in my posts, controversial also, but if you think that you can allow yourself the liberty of being so vocal, expressive and aggressive in your responses and comments, then expect similar responses which may be not to your liking.

What were your "opinions" regarding President Bashar Al Assad interview, which is the subject matter of this post by the way???

At 7/12/2006 09:06:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 09:06:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


Please read this story:

Once you do, please offer us your comments.

At 7/12/2006 09:29:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

sisco-side (JAM),

No kidding. Even My children know that Jesus spoke Aramaic. I cannot believe that people are still wasting time discussing this. You are asking me to check history books before I mock the fact? What a joke. I was making fun of people who seem to think that they are telling us something that we did not already know.


While you read the article that I cited and if you use your calculator, you will arrive at this fact:

Every day the sun shines in Damascus, one lucky man/family gets to add a cool US$ 465,385 to their savings account.

Remember this is from one business alone.

Speaking of people watching the trees and forgetting the forest.

At 7/12/2006 09:38:00 AM, Blogger sryani said...

Yes that is the comment I meant. I hope you follow that advice.

At 7/12/2006 10:10:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:11:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:12:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:12:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:12:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:12:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:13:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:13:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:15:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:15:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:23:00 AM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:35:00 AM, Blogger Hafez Assad (late dictator) said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:37:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

sho? Dont get it sisco.

Ass ad?

Anyways, you are right sisco. Most commentators here are part of As Sads PR campaign.

Fares asked why the silence here today. Maybe some intelligent writers didnt get their check from syria.

Go ahead Fares, God bless your work.

At 7/12/2006 10:46:00 AM, Blogger Dictator Bashar Assad(Landis is my agent) said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

It's amazing how strong evidences about Hezbollah working against the Lebanese people interest, They decided to start a WAR\conflict that will indeed have a major effect on all of the Lebanese people.
and maybe serve the interest of the SYRIAN regime ONLY by providing a breathing ground for the Hamas puppet in Damascus ..Shame on YOU.

At 7/12/2006 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

It was the syrian president who said that he will destroy lebanon. But now, with iran by his side, he is strong, not to forget sad dams WMD´s will help him to destroy the whole is real.

At 7/12/2006 11:18:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

While we may all worry about the latest conflict, remember that when we wake up tomorrow, the cash register would have rang in an incremental $ 465,385 for a lucky man/group.

I hope our friend Ausamaa offers us his thoughts on the story as I had asked him earlier.

Those calling for more education for the Syrian people can perhaps also hope that this education also covers financial matters. This may help them appreciate the data in the story I cited earlier:

At 7/12/2006 12:19:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

All those nasty comments against Josh are shameful,people can not tolerate freedom of speach,and freedom,at the same time respect the other person opinion, without cussing,insulting,name calling,this is not a civilized way, and I hope all those comments are deleted.

Hizbullah, is to be congratulted for their courageous,heroic, admirable action,we should all support them, Isreal has no incentive to release those prisoners ,palastinian,or Lebanese,untill is forced to do it, Hasan Nassrallah, is a great man, he is way on the top, we are blessed to have him, God bless him, I am sunni Moslem, but this leader is unifying torch in Islamic world.
Hizullah in not working against Lebanese interest, he is lebanese,and arabic, he is not a puppet ,and Hamas is not puppet, they represent people ideas, I am sick of cowardice, people who has no fight in them, people who has no dignity, afraid of defending themself, they would rather live in humility,like slaves, and afraid to defend and free themself, death is better than to live with no dignity and no freedom.

At 7/12/2006 12:44:00 PM, Blogger sisco-side said...

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At 7/12/2006 01:12:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

I stand by my WORDS, The conflict IS NOT in Lebanon interest, This is not a brave action, it's a politically and morally action against the Lebanese people. To SERVE the SYRIAN REGIME ..Yes Hamas leadership in Damascus are puppet for sure. To be used as an instrument by a regime, you ARE A puppet. Please don't educate us on cowardice values, the peoples you are defending, have no values and they may care and work for the self \sect \clan interests ONLY. And if you are talking about slaves !! Don't go too far please. Just walk around, Syrians have been enslaved ..
You could pound on the table as long as you want, but remember, the Syrian Army is being built and has one jobe only " SECURE the regime".. ONLY.

At 7/12/2006 01:26:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

this comment that bear my name, it came before Atassi comment is not mine,someone is is using my name , it is despicable having someone who use someone else name, to pose wicked comment,I am Moslem,arabist,freedom loving,I am against Bashar Asad,because the money he and his family and friends stoleand because of lack of freedom in Syria. anything that is not consistant with my views are fake comments.

At 7/12/2006 03:16:00 PM, Blogger Ameen Always said...


At 7/12/2006 03:54:00 PM, Blogger Joshua Landis (My asshole has been fucked) said...

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At 7/12/2006 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

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At 7/12/2006 04:10:00 PM, Blogger Ivanka said...

I would like to ask a "serious" question. Away from the people being impolite to Joshua Landis or throwing accusations on either side and away from people impersonating other people (I mean this blog has a horrible comment section).

Here is my question. All your opinions are wellcome :)

It is possible to think that the Syrian government is using Hezbolla and Hamas. That it commanded the two operations in Palestine and south Lebanon.

Why would it do such a thing? I mean what possible benefit could this bring?

In particular isn't Israeli repraisal a real threat now; and didn't they need more calm, since their policy is to "buy time" as many people say.

If the operations are really commanded by Syrian gov., what is their rationale.

At 7/12/2006 05:40:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

to Ehsani2,

I do not know what that calculator or cash register tells you, but what do similar cash registers in Jordan, Egypt,the US, KSA, and Lebanon tell you? $40 billions for examples? Owed to Local Lebanese Banks.
Or for God's sake, what do mean and what do you want ??? a cut of that???
What mattetrs to me is the 2 Israeli prisoners of war and the seven Israeli soldiers killed and tens injured in Lebanon today? An Arab force standing to the all-mighty Israeli IDF and shoving it up deep thier... and leaving them at loss as to how to respond. That what matters to me. A few hundreds or thousands of "real" people teaching the powers-that-might be that if there is a Will, there is a way.

That what matters to me.

What matters more, is that everyone "knows" that Syria is supporting Hizbullah, and as Syria, and it's rusted army, whose cash register is so busy ringing up $ 465386 a day, why does Israel not hit that country and solve the Hamas, Hizbullah, Jihad and the Iraqi peoblem in one stroke????? Syria is difinitly involved in what happened and we would be blind to deny it. So....Why do the US and Israel "not" go and cut the head of the Syrian Snake" who is responsible for all this while the golden opportunity is presenting itself to them o a silver platter. This will save the embarassment of screwing the Harriri-Jajaa-Jemayel clanes if they hit, i retaliation for a seriously embarassing act, Lebanon's infrastructure itself.

Do you know why this scenario is not going to happen???? Wanna really know?

Could it be because that cash register figures of yours is kind of missed up a little? Figures not adding up properly? Because there is a Strong country, a Strong Army, a Determined people? A worthwhile deterrnet force that is paid for by the cash you claim that is going into that cash register you talk about????

If all that cash is being "stolen", and if the Syrian regime is that "bad,incomptent and weak", and if Hizbullah is acting on ehalf of Syria against Lebanon's interests and is a tool of Syria as some claim, why do Israel and your all-mighty US NOT go after poor, corrupt, weak and incompetent Syria and take care of a lot of things in one stroke???

You know why? Has it occured to you that Syria is not as weak, corrupt, phnoney, and helpless as you think it to be?? Has it occured to you that the $465385 per day which you claim to be going into certain pockets is not a true representation of what Syria is???

Israel and the US are against a wall. And a strong wall at that. The foundation of that wall is Syria, and its allies. Not angels; Syria and its allies are, by no means! But, they are serious, capable and strong powers who know thier interests, thier capabilitie, thier direction, and thier roles. And they look after those interests very capably, and smartly; wether you like it or not. Or do you have any other explanation for anyone allowing Syria to get away with what it does or is claimed to be doing??
Hamas and Hizbullah??? A maximum of two Army divisions against the mighty IDF and the US Armed Forces spread throughout the area. Against a "weak" Syria and an internally-collapsing and ineffective Iran. And still, they are running circles around the mightiest powers on Earth today; the US and Israel.And they have really got those irrational and reckless powers - Israel and the US- scratching thier heads as what to do about it?

So maybe those $ 465385 are well spent after all. And considering that the Iraqi war is costibg the US Administration more than $200 mil per day this should be a nice puzzel for the US Office of Management and Budget.


Save us all this crap. The worse thing than not knowing that you are defeated is when you do not know that you are winning. Lack of self-confidence or missinformation could be the cause. I am glad Bashar Al Assad and Hassan Nasrallah do not suffer from those syndrome. They know what they are doing, in the face of what, to whome, and by what.

Sounds to me a smart way to spend $ 465385 per day to maintain your dignity, preserve your country, protect your people, and have enough money -and will- left to let Hassan Nassarallah lecture the Israeli Cabinet and the IDF General Staff about what to do about the current crisis he - or maybe Syria- made them face.....

See, a well spent sum, that claimed $ 465385, could turn out to be...

As they say: Believe not all that you see, nor half what you hear.

Unless you have a strong motive and a stronger deep-rooted compulsion to do the opposit.

P.S. If Israeli jets have not "leveled" defenseless Damacuse by the time you get to read this post, then start considering re-reading the above few sentences.

At 7/12/2006 06:49:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

The rationale is to embarrass the Lebanese government and undermine its authority. This incident has made it clear that Hezbollah is a state within a state. It can make unilateral decisions on its own with the official Lebanese government acting as a powerless bystander. Syria may be physically out of Lebanon but its influence over that country’s affairs is still loud and clear.

This incident makes it clear that the Lebanese government can pretend to govern but in reality its influence over the party of God is close to nil. How can an official government have no control over its own border security? Today’s events show that the state within the state has that power instead.

At 7/12/2006 07:32:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


This is a truly remarkable comment.

Let us firs recap what you said and/or implied:

-You did not dispute that the cell phone enterprise is netting its owners close to half a million dollars a day.

-You seem to suggest that these funds are being channeled back to support the financing of the various somoud and tassadi strategies employed by the Syrian government.

-You cannot feel but a sense of pride and satisfaction that your own so-called weak country can stand up to the powerful Israeli and U.S. plans to control the region.

-In effect, you seem to suggest that the cell phone company profits are actually an excellent bargain if we come to view these revenues as the token price to pay so that we as people can take some of our pride back.

-You are amused, proud and intrigued by how Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria seem to outwit and run circles around Israel and the U.S. You find this so compelling that you conclude that the half million a dollar a day in profit from one single business is actually a bargain. After all, what is the big deal? Doesn’t everyone else in the region do it? Aren’t our guys putting the monies for better use than our neighbors?

-Your country’s association with the “bearded men” is clearly a sense of pride for you. While you sit at your computer keyboard and meekly make fun of those that do not share your opinions, I cannot help but hope that you are right and I am wrong. This country’s captain has 20 million people on board in this journey of his. You seem to be enjoying the flight and seem to believe in the captain’s abilities to navigate his long journey to safety.

- I pray that your sense of confidence and optimism of what lies ahead prove more accurate than mine.

At 7/12/2006 09:04:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

Please STOPS the rheumatic, the anger and your bitterness against others and the world ,
And try to think form outside the box.
I think, the SYRIAN regime has been bleeding and been blistered by it’s own fatal mistakes, weakened by the failed policies of the inner circles, The regime has none so ever left to lean on, no real caring truthful friends, I am guessing hey had to :

Try to instigate a limited WAR,
Hoping for timely intervention by the UN to stop this war
This may lead to an Engagement with the Israeli in a long peace process,
Forcing the delay to in the Harriri investigation
And finally the ultimate goal, Gain another life line.
Sound familiar!! Hafiz and Saddat went that route in 1973 war, but only Saddat was able to achieve this goal, in the present time, Iran will …

At 7/12/2006 09:19:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

Were you talking to me EHSANI2, I am amazed how are able to read my feeling and mind with such an accuracy. Yes that is exactly what I think and feel, so as Millions of Syrians taht are not on CIA-Mossad-Harriri payroll

At 7/12/2006 10:02:00 PM, Blogger syrian said...


I'm still trying to figure out what problem you are having with someone making $500,000 a day in profits. Would you rather not have a cell phone provider because it seems to me as the only alternative on the table right now.

Is the owner of the phone company holding a gun to anyone's head and forcing them to use his service or are they making a free choice to buy the product that is available to them????

Or are you just pissed about the identity of the person who's making the money???

At 7/12/2006 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

My emotional take on the events in Lebanon

sorry kind of long, read 3rd section if you want quick.
only people with hearts and brains can read, no need for hyprocrites.
Appreciate your feedback.

At 7/12/2006 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

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At 7/12/2006 10:28:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

I don't understand that obsession either. Why Ehsani2 is not obsessed with those Americans making Billions in Iraq, billing the American Tax Payers for endless war and so called Iraqi development. Fleecing the Iraqis government and its un-metered oil production and exports. Investing the cash tax free in offshore companies and buying the DOW among other investments such as selling the un-metered Iraqi oil to Israel at reduced prices, or buying fuel from Homs refinery by the train loads and selling it to the same Army they sent to war and collecting billions from it’s funding.

Why do you keep nitpicking on Makhloof’s and Partners Cell phone company!!!
And how about all the Harriri racket that extend into the tens of Billions, Are you jealous too that French top officials racked up Millions out of his scam deal.

At 7/12/2006 10:41:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

The cell phone provider is a monopoly. The country’s President granted him this monopoly. The government treasury collects much less in fees than it could have done had the bidding process been more competitive. The fact that the company makes money is not a problem per se. But, what would expect if a country of 20 million had one cell phone provider with no competition? Of course, he will end up making a cool half million Dollars a day and perhaps even more. When this lucky person who happens to land this attractive contract happens to be this deep in the inner circle, it ought to be of concern. I take it that you do not share them with me. Perhaps I am thinking of the complimentary businesses of the Duty Free as well as the miraculous way in which all brands of cigarettes find their way to the streets of the country’s major cities while the law enforcement authorities look the other way. The government is deprived of major tax revenues. This is the disturbing theme, sir.

Everyone else seems to think what is the problem with that? Everyone else is doing it, so why not the inner circle of this regime?

I guess our business tycoons understand this sentiment well and have become convinced that they can carry on for years to come.

I will stop the complaining and wish them luck and lots of $$$$$

At 7/12/2006 11:04:00 PM, Blogger syrian said...


I believe its not a secret that I object to the corruption that can be found in every corner of Syrian society (I have repeatedly talked about the problem on my blog).

When I lived in Syria (70's) sugar and flour were rationed and you had to have a coupon to get a couple of kilos a week. Land phone service was non-existant - you had to put your name on a list and wait for years to get a phone line. When we finally got a TV it was a tiny black and white set that played for 6-8 hours a day and most of the time it was shit. A CAR was a near impossibility to get.

In those days, when you went to prison it was understood that you went for a long time (years).

I don't miss those days. When I talk to family in Syria and they talk about the availability of products and the relative (to the 70's and 80's) freedom that they enjoy, I can't help but be optimistic that things are moving in the right direction. Maybe not at the pace we like, but in the right direction nontheless.

When you try and evaluate what is in existance today you have to evaluate it against an alternative. Given the reality of what the Syrian society is today, the realistic alternative is the 70's

The mere fact that people have more choices means they are better off. It is completely irrelevant who is benefiting. Everyone is benefiting (the definition of voluntary trade).

I remember some time ago (i'm not going to look it up) you posted a comment here regarding the taxes paid by the cell phone company to the Syrian treasury. I assume the taxes are imposed on profits because I don;t know any better. If you were to open up to competition, the profits will decline and so would the tax revenue. It may not be a bad idea to have a monopoly from a tax revenue perspective.

Yes I agree, its not a perfect system. Hell its not even a good system. BUT ITS BETTER THAN THE ALTERNATIVE.

At 7/12/2006 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

This is in each and every country. In the United States SUGAR is a Monopoly, not only that, it is illegal to import sugar into the U.S. WHY? Ask your congressmen what the sugar lobby pays annually.

Another example of thousands I can give you that goes on in the United States. Monsato, producer of the deadly toxin “Sugar Substitute” Nutrasweet and Equal brands, that kills thousands every year. Read about it, here is a background that also involve Dr. Mengele Rumsfeld, lesser knows as current Secretary of Defense.

The background:

In 1981, the newly appointed FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, ignored the negative ruling and approved aspartame for dry goods. As recorded in the Congressional Record of 1985, then CEO of Searle Laboratories Donald Rumsfeld said that he would "call in his markers" to get aspartame approved. Rumsfeld was on President Reagan's transition team and a day after taking office appointed Hayes. No FDA Commissioner in the previous sixteen years had allowed aspartame on the market.
Dr. Betty Martini has worked in the medical field for 22 years. She is the founder of Mission Possible International, working with doctors around the world in an effort to remove aspartame from food, drinks and medicine. According to Dr. Martini, aspartame has brought more complaints to the American Food and Drug Administration than any other additive and is responsible for 75% of such complaints to that agency. From 10,000 consumer complaints FDA compiled a list of 92 symptoms, including death.
The history of aspartame and its approval has a political history as well as a scientific one. According to Dr. Martini,
"When Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle, that conglomerate manufactured aspartame. For 16 years the FDA refused to approve it, not only because its not safe but because they wanted the company indicted for fraud. Both U.S. Prosecutors hired on with the defense team and the statute of limitations expired. They were Sam Skinner and William Conlon. Skinner went on to become Secretary of Transportation squelching the cries of the pilots who were now having seizures on this seizure triggering drug, aspartame, and then Chief of Staff under President Bush's father. Some of these people reach high places. Even Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas is a former Monsanto attorney. (Monsanto bought Searle in 1985, and sold it a few years ago). When Ashcroft became Attorney General, Thompson from King and Spalding Attorneys (another former Monsanto attorney) became deputy under Ashcroft. (Attorneys for NutraSweet and Coke).
"Donald Rumsfeld was on President Reagan's transition team and the day after he took office he appointed an FDA Commissioner who would approve aspartame. The FDA set up a Board of Inquiry of the best scientists they had to offer who said aspartame is not safe and causes brain tumors, and the petition for approval is hereby revoked. The new FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, over-ruled that Board of Inquiry and then went to work for the PR Agency of the manufacturer, Burson-Marstellar, rumored at $1000.00 a day, and has refused to talk to the press ever since.
To make the story short, Monsato bought the EU Commissioner to outlaw STEVIA, a natural sweetener and in the U.S. almost all FDA panel at one time approved the deadly sweetner, banned Stevia, quit the Government job and went to work for Monsato at 6 figure salaries.

The Monsato Files:

At 7/12/2006 11:47:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


Your argument about monopolies improving the government tax revenue is interesting.

Let us do some math. Assume a Syrian is ready to pay 20$/month for a cell phone and that the cost to the provider is 5$.

Monopolist makes 15$ in profit, you tax him at 33% and get 5$ in gov revenue.

Assume that you make it competitive but add a special phone tariff of 13$/month. The phone will still cost 20$/month, the competitive provider makes 2$ (he will be very happy) and the gov will make 13.66$ instead of 5$.

As for Syria being better off today because our jailors are smarter and instead of torturing us they are selling us cigarettes, I agree with you.

At 7/13/2006 12:38:00 AM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip I []

To Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe: Your crossing swords with Ehsani 2 reveals you and him to be no less nationalistic than each other.

The difference in your attitudes towards the regime is to do with its legitimacy and tactics rather than its nationalistic ferver.

The Syrian government is no more or less nationalistic and proud than its citizens. So let's put this argument to one side.

In a nutshell, and REGARDLESS OF THE EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT, any government that rules by stealth and allows corruption to grow like a cancer weakens the country, its institutions and the creativity and effectiveness of its people.

Syria could have been a great deal richer and stronger if all of its citizens had had the opportunity to participate in its development through a fully democratic and open system of government.

Every nation on earth wants its government to be competent and clever in dealing with external threats. But the sad truth is that Syria's ruling establishment has a tendency to overplay its hand. It is like a poker player with too few chips trying to bluff his way into winning. He may succeed occasionally but also risks being wiped out.

The country is in this precarious position today because it is institutionally weak and its people underemployed and disaffected. This is the direct result of economic and administrative incompetence and social injustice. 25% of Syria's youth are unemployed and foreign debt is close to US$25 billion. The cities are crumbling and the quality of life and general health of the population have deterioted sharply in the last ten to fifteen years. To be fair, the population has grown, and you cannot blame the government for everything. You have to recognise, though, that despotism, injustice and the muzzling of critics (regardless of their motives) are never in the long term interests of the country or its citizens. Real patriotism is about fortifying our own castle before shooting at the enemy.

At 7/13/2006 02:54:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

Nasrallah Why don't you negotiate in Hell

At 7/13/2006 04:00:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...


to answer your question, there are two things to take into consideration, in my opinion.

1. The operation took months to prepare:

"Nasrallah revealed that Hizbullah "has been planning for this operation for almost five months now.""

Nasrallah: Only exchange will win back troops, The Daily Star, July 13, 2006

2. At the same time Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was quite outspoken about Hizbullah's plans to kidnap Israeli soldiers in order to swap them for prisoners in Israel:

"In November (2005), Nasrallah called for the capture of Israeli soldiers after the Jewish state returned the bodies of three Hizbullah fighters killed in a border flare up.

During a ceremony to honor those killed, Nasrallah said it was the group's duty to capture Israeli soldiers to use them as bargaining chips for the release of Lebanese held by Israel."

Israeli Army on High Alert for Possible Hizbullah Kidnap Operation, Naharnet, March 10, 2006

Therefore, I doubt that the operation yesterday was "commissioned" by Syria.

At 7/13/2006 05:22:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

All trouble is commissioned by Syria. So spoke our president. He will destroy the world.
Why does HA or HB not capture some syrian soldiers. What about the political prisoners in syria?????

What about arabism??? Why do they not send syrian soldiers to help our brothers???




At 7/13/2006 05:29:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

proud of you karfun, come speak in my blog, Syria comment has become shame comment

People speaking up on Elaph

At 7/13/2006 07:03:00 AM, Blogger syrian said...


What happens to volume as the number of providers increase and have to face a $13 tarrif. Would the share of each provider be sufficient to offer the service???

At 7/13/2006 09:33:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

"Syria comment has become shame comment"

It always has been!

You have an American so called "professor' banning those he does not like their opinions or their stand, and acting in total accordance with the the attitude of the Assad dictatorial regime, on a blog... on a blog!

imagine thie Joshua having control of more than a blog, like a country, for example!

is there a difference between him and any dirty baathist?


At 7/13/2006 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

To all
We hope this conflict will not escalate out of control. OUR DEEP support for the Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian peoples against this unwarranted conflict.
this is exactly what I was afraid of, another failed attempt, in the name of resistance!!!
We call on the security console to ACT NOW to stop this escalation of violence against the innocent civilians. ACT now

At 7/13/2006 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

Reading your blog, dear fares, made me sad, very sad, my deapest respect to you.
And as usual, you are on the right side JAM, we are alawis in common, my deapest respect to you too.
Clear that it is a PR campaign here and maybe Mister Tarek is proud to act as Administrator. How cheap it is. It was Omar Sharif who said, you can buy any Arab for less than one dollar.

What happens in lebanon you can read here:

Hope isreals soldiers will not stop in lebanon and know its true enemies.


At 7/13/2006 12:13:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Isreal is frustrated,there is not much they can do, invasion is out of question,it means Isreal wants escalation, which is not in Isreal advantage,nor it is in America advantage,Isolation of Lebanon is going to fail, since this increase Lebanon dependence on Syria.
We need to remember that Hizbullah has over 12000 rockets,they have the capability to reach deep in Isreal,they can easily get more rockets,which could be better , Isreal has only one option, to resort to dialogue and negotiations , we probably expect suicide bombing in Isreal to increase Isreal frustration.
Saad Hariri,may not be able to get back to Lebanon from China,for a while, he will go to Saudia Arabia Seniora goverment may collapse,Brammertz investigations is going to be delayed.
This incident is expected for a while.

At 7/14/2006 05:42:00 PM, Blogger Yabroud said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/14/2006 10:46:00 PM, Blogger Yabroud said...

trying to post to get back the first subject that seems to be unavailable. In the past, posting has fixed the problem.

At 7/15/2006 12:19:00 AM, Blogger Fares said...

God Save Lebanon

To World Leaders


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