Friday, August 18, 2006

Was President Asad's Speech Radical?

Fadi's article on SC was quoted by UPI's interesting article by Claude Salhani

Was President Asad's Speech Radical?

Syria came out of the Lebanon war mercifully unscathed. It is now Syria's turn to repay Hizbullah for the strong support Nasrallah gave Syria when it was unceremoniously expelled from Lebanon in April of 2005. When Bashar was down, following the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and needed time to consolidate his forces and repair internal divisions at home, Nasrallah stepped forward in dramatic fashion to reassure Syria that it was not alone and attack Syria's enemies. He organized a stunning demonstration of support for Syria in the heart of Beirut and publicly thanked Syria for all it had done for Lebanon in bringing the civil war to an end and preserving "Arab" values. I was living in Damascus at the time; Nasrallah's speech was a great tonic for Bashar and his regime and aleviated much of the anxiety and self doubt Syrians felt about their government's involvement in Lebanon and Bashar's abilities.

The President's speech to Syrian journalists a few days ago was Bashar's effort to pay Nasrallah back. It was meant to lift Shiite spirits in Lebanon and assure them that they had strong and loyal support in Syria and beyond. Nasrallah is in no position to take a hard and combative stand at this time. He must triangulate for the next several months, allow the divisions within Lebanon to emerge and ferment without seeming to drive them forward. Asad has stepped forward to play this role.

The anti-Hariri politicians in Lebanon see this as their moment to place the blame for the war on Hariri and America's allies in Lebanon. They have been emboldened by the war with Israel, which discredited Hariri's promise that he could protect his country with Western support. Nasrallah is not in a position to drive forward this debate because he must lay low and concentrate on getting as much government and international support for rebuilding the south as possible. He must also make sure the cease-fire holds and Israeli troops are withdrawn from Lebanon. Asad can drive forward the attack on Hariri's parliamentary majority. He is acting much like Newt Gingrich in the US Republican Party. No Republican campaigning for office can declare that the US is fighting World War III, but Newt can. His job is to put backbone into the American right and shore up his party's all or nothing stand on Iraq and the War on Terrorism. He is serving his party by dishing up the fire and brimstone militarism that those officials running for office dare not.

Asad has temporarily stepped into the role of party whip, while Hizbullah repairs its home base and Iran faces its own troubles at the UN. With international pressure temporarily off Syria, Asad must stop forward to take the fight to the opposition.

Asad's speech was not so radical, however. Yes, he blamed Hariri and his people for being on the side of Israel and set off powerful counter-attacks from Hariri and Jumblat. But this is nothing new. The two sides have been at war for almost two years now. What is more, Hariri and Jumblat got in some good digs of their own. All the same, Hariri was forced on the defensive. He was obliged to open his speech with a condemnation of Israel, claiming "The history of Israel is a black history, a hateful one, of destruction.... Israeli attacks can destroy Lebanon (physically) but will not touch Lebanese unity." He said, Israel had a history of "living off the blood" of Palestinians, Lebanese and other Arab people. He also was forced to praise Hizbullah's fierce resistance for placing Lebanon at the forefront of the Arab cause and for winning it respect from friends and foe alike. Hariri was forced to claim Hizbullah's struggle as his own, something his enemies must take pleasure in hearing.

Asad is tilling the ground for the demand for new Lebanese elections, which many Lebanese politicians have already begun to demand. This was their demand during the National Dialogue of March and April and it has only become shriller in the aftermath of the disastrous war.

But at the heart of Asad's speech was Syria's demand to reopen negotiations with Israel over Golan. This is anything but radical. He is appropriating Israel's long announced stand in favor of land for peace.

By accompanying his demand for peace with an equivalent insistence that Syria has a military option as well is simply normal politics. George Bush would not suppose to negotiate with his adversaries without stating that America has a military plan and that "all options are on the table." The use of both carrots and sticks is accepted diplomatic procedure.

Syria would be foolish not to draw lessons from Hizbullah's successful resistance and military tactics. Israel is now discussing how to counter Hizbullah's successful tactics. The Baath Party's announcement that it will do the same is smart. Syria will hire Hizbullah officers to train a new Syrian force in methods to resist an Israeli attack. This is not only smart for the military, it is also good domestic politics: many Syrians feel the army is backward and incapable. They want to be at the cutting edge. Many Syrians wanted to join Hizbullah because they feel their own government is doing nothing. Syria would be foolish not to try to import Hizbullah knowledge and tactics. Whether it can adapt such tactics to its highly centralized military command structure is doubtful, however. All the same, Syria would be foolish not to try.

Was Asad's speech directed at internal consumption alone? Following Asad's confrontational speech, Germany's Foreign Minister announced the cancellation of his imminent visit to Damascus. Many believed a visit of such a prominent European official was an important coup for Damascus and a first step in easing Syria away from the diplomatic isolation in which it has been sequestered. They were non-plussed by Asad's willingness to scuttle it.

I spoke to an officer at one of Germany's leading think tanks yesterday, who explained that Asad must have been focusing on his domestic constituency and had "made a mistake" by not taking Germany into consideration.

I suggested that Asad had not made a mistake. As evidence, I mentioned that when I spoke on the Charlie Rose Show the other day and explained that Syria wanted to break out of its isolation and looked forward to a call and possible visit of the Secretary of State, Imad Mustapha, Syria's Ambassador in Washington, corrected me. He explained that Syria doesn't want dialogue for dialogue's sake. It wants substantive negotiations as an equal and respected power. This explains why Asad reacted coldly toward the visit of the German Foreign Minister. He was coming to Damascus to ask the Syrians to stop supplying arms to Hizbullah. Germany declared that it would not be sending troops to police the south of Lebanon, but would send officers to help police the border crossings with Syria in order to stop weapons from being smuggled in from Syria. Asad is not interested in stopping such traffic unless it is part of a larger regional deal that involves the Golan. He was letting Europe and the US know that he is not begging to find a way out of isolation under any terms. He is demanding a price.

Asad knows the Bush administration is gunning for regime change in Syria, if not sooner, then later. Washington's support for Israel's war on Lebanon and refusal to bring Syria in on the cease-fire negotiations did nothing to dissuade him from this conviction.


At 8/18/2006 04:40:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Bashar was wrong in describing arab leaders as half men.

At 8/18/2006 06:46:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

No, his speech was a desparate cry for help!

See new post:

Assad caught up in nuclear game

At 8/18/2006 07:54:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

Philip I - congratulations for a very thoughtful and excellent analysis. I don't think Baath apolgists have much left to say in defense of a crumbling regime. i.e. assuming they (the apologists) respect intellectual dignity and honesty! Not very likely assumption on this blog!!!

At 8/18/2006 09:43:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

The true facts about so-called Syrian 'hospitality' of war refugees from a non Lebanese eyewitness

ناهد سعيد باشطح
فاصلة: «الهرب الجيد خير من الانتظار السيئ»

- حكمة عالمية -

خلال أيامنا الثلاثة في بيروت لم نستطع أن نتجول بالطبع في بيروت لكن كان علينا وسط هذه الظروف أن نعيد أمتعتنا من المطار إذ بقيت فيه.

لما ذهبنا إلى المطار كان خالياً إلا من بعض الموظفين.. لأول مرة أرى مطاراً لا يعج بالمسافرين، بعد إجراءات روتينية استلمنا أمتعتنا وكطبيعة اللبنانيين كرماء ومتعاونون وهم بالضبط كما تنقل وجوههم شاشات التلفزة رغم خوفهم صامدون اعتادوا الحرب ولديهم إيمان قوي بأنهم منتصرون.

عدونا إلى الفندق الوضع اعتيادي إلا أن الزوار قليلون جداً وبهوه يكاد يخلو من التجمعات رغم شهرته، كان هناك بعض الأسر ويبدو أنها غادرته فالجميع يغادرون من بيروت.

انطلقنا إلى سفارتنا في بيروت التي كانت عبارة عن «فيلا» منذ الدخول يكتظ الفناء بالسيارات، وحقائب المسافرين وأناس يجلسون على حقائبهم وعند الدخول يتكرر المشهد.

الوضع لم يكن مريحاً لمن لديه أطفال فالباصات لا تتحرك كل نصف ساعة كما أفاد السفير بل كان السعوديون يأتون السفارة وينتظرون حتى يكتمل الباص فينطلق أي انه من الممكن ان ننتظر ساعات طويلة في السفارة في أماكن غير مريحة للأطفال حتى يكتمل عدد المسافرين عبر الباص.

لذلك قررنا أن نستقل باصاً خاصاً واستقليناه صباح اليوم الرابع كان مليئاً بالأسر اللبنانية التي أتت بيروت من الخليج أو أوروبا لقضاء إجازاتها مع الأهل.

بدأنا الطريق في العاشرة صباحاً من طريق «فريه» الجبلي بعد أن قصفت إسرائيل طريق طرابلس ولم نصل إلى سوريا إلا في الخامسة عصراً رغم أن المسافة بين بيروت وسوريا تستغرق ساعتين فقط في الوضع الآمن.

كان الطريق شائكاً لكم أن تتخيلوا أن يسير السائق ومعه الجوال ليعرف هل سيقصف الطريق الذي به يسير أم لا!!

وحدث بالفعل أن قصف طريق زحلة قبل لحظات من وصولنا إليه مما حدا بالسائق إلى تغيير الطريق.

المشهد كان كالحلم نسير فترن الجوالات، فيصرخ بعض الركاب بالسائق ليعود عن الطريق وتؤشر سيارات له بالعودة فيعود ويسير بعض الوقت ليتكرر المشهد وأخيراً وصلنا الحدود اللبنانية السورية كان هناك ازدحام شديد وأمضينا وقتاً ليس بطويل في الانتظار حيث تواجد بعض من موظفي سفارتنا لينجزوا جوازات السعوديين «مشكورين».

أوصلنا الباص إلى ما يسمى منطقة البرامكة في سوريا ولها من اسمها نصيب فالمنطقة فيما يبدو محطة انتظار باصات السفر لم تكن نظيفة ولا مريحة وكانت روائح القمامة تفوح بشدة من خلفنا.

ولأن الأخبار بدأت تتحدث عن تصريحات بين إسرائيل وسوريا غير مريحة خشينا أن تمتد ألسنة نيران الحرب إلى سوريا لذلك قررنا أن ننطلق إلى الأردن لكن السيارات اللبنانية لا تستطيع الدخول إلى الأردن إذن لابد من سيارة من سوريا لأنها فقط مصرح لها بدخول الأردن.

السيارات التي تعرض خدماتها صغيرة أو غير مريحة والتعامل لم يكن راقياً وكان السوريون كانوا قد ضجوا بالنازحين من لبنان.

الأطفال والكبار من حولي يتذمرون وأنا أذكرهم بأننا نجونا من الموت حين خرجنا من بيروت فلنحمد الله كثيراً لكنهم معذورون فالمرافق سيئة وقد بدأ الليل يلقي بظلاله في هذه اللحظة فكرت في سفارتنا في دمشق .

بعد غد أكمل لماذا انتظرنا باصاً يقلنا ست ساعات متواصلة.

At 8/19/2006 02:08:00 AM, Blogger SimoHurtta said...

What makes me wonder is this aggressive attitude against Assad’s speeches and the deep silence of Olmert’s and other Israelis speeches. What is the peace message Israel has been announcing before and after Lebanon war. None. But can the speeches of Assad and Nasarallah be “analyzed” without linking them what Israelis have said and done?

Has any foreign minister said that they do not visit Israel or made any other protests after Olmert announced that no withdrawal from West Bank Did the international press and even Britain’s government protest after Likud’s memorial celebration of King David’s Hotels bombing, which by all standards, even by Israeli, was a terrorist act. There are articles and protests from a few arrests in Iran and Syria, but very little discussion about the ten thousand Palestinians and Arabs kept in Israeli prison. Not to mention the arrests of Palestinian government and parliament members.

By all ways it is extraordinary that behavioural demands are put only to Syria (and others) but none to Israel. Let’s imagine that Syria would have behaved in Lebanon like Israel does in Gaza and West Bank. What if Beirut with would have been surrounded by walls like Gaza? What if Syrians would have annexed Lebanese soil by building settlements in Israeli style? What if the Syrian politicians would have said what Israeli Prime Ministers have said? The world would have not tolerated that but with Israel the world seems to have an astonishing amount of tolerance.

One thing is clear that no matter what kind of government there is in Syria Israel will not voluntarily give back Golan. It is an illusion to think that a regime change would make Israel to give up the land, but it is an illusion to think that a different regime could stop demanding the land back.

PS. The Finnish government asked again Israel for an explanation how and why the Finnish UN observer was killed by Israelis fire. Again Israel refused to give an answer. Israelis are wrong if they believe that Finland will forget this or that Finns give up for being afraid of that normal anti Semitism shouting.

At 8/19/2006 02:12:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

It seems the Saudis have sent all their troops of “analysts” plus they have called up their reserves.

One opinion

a second opinion in case we did not get the point

a third opinion in case we missed that issue of the paper

a fourth opinion in case we were too slow to understand

a fifth opinion ...

And before I get asked about my opinion of the speech itself, I am not commenting on it. I am simply pointing to how defensive the Saudis are behaving ... they have turned their newspapers into Teshrin and al-Baath.

We are going to witness another conflict the next few months... and maybe another one.

At 8/19/2006 07:03:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8/19/2006 11:13:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

Thank you for the links,
Q:If you have a magic clock to rewind time back, and you have given the chance to review Dr Assad Speech, what would you Add\ remove for it?
Did Dr. Bashar by giving this kind of speech, Torpedoed or bolstered the stands of many supporters of the regime, since they truly believed that Assad was the right path to internal reforms?
Do you think that Dr. Bashar finally givenup to the hardliner in his regime "like Vice president Farroq"?

At 8/19/2006 11:30:00 AM, Blogger Dubai Jazz said...

It was always an interesting thing for me to observe how the gulf media portrays Syria, and how adhered are those Saudi media veterans to the stance of the Saudi ruling family.
Abdulrahman Alrashid is the manager of ‘Al Arabiya’ TV channel which is notoriously anti-Syrian.
This is a discretionary translation for one of the articles linked to this page before by Alex.
Please excuse the monotony; the guy has a poor style!

“ The Sad Syrian.
Abdulrahman Alrashid – Alshraq Alawsat
17th / 8 / 2006

It’s probably difficult for us to understand the Syrian dilemma, which is believed to be the motive behind the speech of president Bashar Al Assad. The speech in which he has cast accusations for everybody, while he keeps rambling in his place, doesn’t want to move neither backward nor forward, doesn’t want to fight nor live in peace, and keeps bragging about others’ wars.
We won’t be able to understand that speech unless we lay the complicated Syria down on the long couch, for a session of psychoanalysis and straight talk.
A visitor of Damascus would feel like it hasn’t changed for the last 30 years, which portends that it won’t change politically. Nothing in the city is lively except for few new car models; everything is pretty much the same since the defeat of 1967; buildings, roads, public life and the political scene.
Syria never changed even when the whole world did. Syria, Cuba and North Korea are the last three states in the world to still live in a freezer.
The Syrian scene is saddening for its people; the last Arabs under siege, where the normal citizen can’t foretell what does his future and the future of his children look like, and that is because the political regime is incapable of achieving any progress in any direction.
It is saddening …. I see Syrians building many skyscrapers in the community close by here in Dubai, like many others achievers amongst their fellow countrymen outside Syria, who have had enough of waiting, who have lost hope of the minimal ‘positive change’, and those who are worried that things might descend to worse.
That would explain the entire situation of Syrian misery, the whole world around them has changed, and furthermore, the entire Arab world has changed, even though this change was varying in its magnitudes from a country to the other.
Look at Cairo with its new freedoms, with its thriving economy, despite the rough circumstances and the large population.
Look at Morocco with its freedoms and its full-scale administrative reforms.
You may have the same observations about Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and the Gulf, however, in a bold comparison; you would feel that Syria has become a lone resident of a dark cave.
Changes have almost touched the whole world after the end of the cold war.
The wave of modernizations and change hasn’t spared any country, whether it is big or small: India, China, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech, Slovakia, turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
This is a country that fears the slightest economical changes, and therefore it should be incapable of moving any step forward; it explains why Syria is entrenching itself. Likewise, is the entrenchment of the country that is hit by starvation for the last three year: North Korea.
This stagnant situation can only be justified if Syria was involved in a war, but Syria hasn’t been involved in any war, except for being targeted by Israel in Lebanon and for its verbal combats with the Lebanese, and for some wars it is waging through proxies. Thus, the Syrian regime is excused for its internal incapability, and its verbal heroics. And if this regime doesn’t fix its in-house troubles and gain some confidence, then it is not going to move any step forward.”

At 8/19/2006 11:37:00 AM, Blogger True Facts said...

Arabs have long realized that Syria is a pariah State. Now, they speak up loudly due to the extreme absurdity of Syrian behavior. Intellectuals in the Arab world are most qualified to judge the illegitimacy of the draconian and fascist regime ruled by a bunch of leeches.

د.رضوان السيد

مع اتجاه الأمور الي التهدئة في لبنان من الناحية العسكرية‏,‏ تتصاعد النقاشات العاصفة حول الانتماء والوطن والدولة‏,‏ بشكل لم يسبق له مثيل منذ الثمانينيات من القرن الماضي‏,‏ وفي هذا المجال يعاني لبنان مما لا يعاني منه أي بلد آخر‏,‏ باستثناء العراق‏,‏ فأنت تستطيع أن تكون مصريا أو مغربيا فتكون في الوقت نفسه ـ وعنيت ذلك أو لم تعنه ـ عربيا ومسلما‏,‏ وحتي الصراعات علي الهوية في الجزائر أو تونس أو حتي السودان هي صراعات علي السلطة والمواقع والأدوار فيها‏,‏ أكثر مما هي صراعات علي الهوية والانتماء‏,‏ أما في لبنان‏,‏ فإن الصراعات السياسية‏,‏ والتجاذبات بين المحاور الإقليمية والدولة‏,‏ حولت ذلك البلد الي ساحة للنزاعات‏,‏

والتي تتمزق علي حواشيها مشاعر ومصالح وارغامات الانتماء الأخلاقي والاجتماعي‏..‏ والسياسي‏,‏ منذ الأربعينيات‏,‏ وعلي مشارف الاستقلال‏,‏ تطور الإحساس لدي اللبنانيين بارتباط العروبة بالمسلمين‏(‏ سنة وشيعة ودروزا‏),‏ وارتباط اللبنانية هوية وانتماء نهائيين بالمسيحيين‏,‏ وما كان ذلك صحيحا ولا دقيقا طبعا‏,‏ لكن طوفان النزوع الوحدوي العربي في الخمسينيات والستينيات من القرن العشرين ثبت ذلك الانطباع‏,‏ إذ افضت اصطفافات الحرب الباردة الي حضور جنود أمريكيين عام‏1958‏ لحماية النظام ورئيس الجمهورية في لبنان‏,‏ في حين كانت حكومة الجمهورية العربية المتحدة‏(‏ مصر وسوريا‏)‏ تسرب سلاحا ومسلحين من سوريا لمساعدة الجبهة الوطنية في صراعها ضد رئيس الجمهورية الذي تحزب له المسيحيون بشكل عام‏,‏ وانتهي النزاع بقرار من الرئيس جمال عبدالناصر‏:‏ لا استخدام للمسلمين في لبنان في صراعات المنطقة لأن ذلك يهدد بزوال لبنان‏,‏ أو وقوعه في أسر الاحتلال الأجنبي أو العدو الصهيوني‏!‏ لكن صار التحدي الايديولوجي والأخلاقي لدي اللبنانيين‏:‏ كيف يكون الإنسان عربيا دون أن يكون معاديا للمسيحيين‏,‏ وان تحت ستار الانعزالية والاستتباع لجهات أجنبية‏!‏

بيد أن العروبة المنفلتة من عقالها خاضت صراعا آخر أشد هولا عندما واجهت تحدي تهديد المقاومة الفلسطينية المسلحة من لبنان بفرط الكيان اللبناني في السبعينيات‏,‏ كان الفلسطينيون يهاجمون اسرائيل من لبنان‏,‏ وكانت اسرائيل ترد بالضرب في جنوب لبنان ثم في العمق اللبناني‏,‏ وقامت في العام‏1978‏ باحتلال جزء من جنوب لبنان‏,‏ كما قامت باجتياح لبنان حتي بيروت عام‏1982..‏ وأكملت سوريا إخراج منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية من لبنان‏,‏ لكن السؤال الباقي كان‏:‏ كيف توفق بين معارضتك للعمل الفلسطيني المسلح من لبنان‏,‏ وان تبقي عربيا ملتزما بقضية فلسطين من جهة أخري؟

وما عانيناه من تحد لعروبتنا‏,‏ كما عانيناه مع سوريا والنظام القائم فيها‏,‏ فقد دخل السوريون الي لبنان عام‏1976‏ بموافقة عربية ودولية لإنهاء النزاع الداخلي‏,‏ لكن الذي حدث أنهم بعد العام‏1982‏ اتجهوا للسيطرة علي لبنان مباشرة وبالواسطة‏(‏ من خلال الميليشيات اللبنانية الناشئة في الحرب الأهلية‏),‏ وكل ذلك مغطي بعروبة راديكالية‏,‏ بحجة أن ياسر عرفات استسلامي‏,‏ وأن المسلمين‏(‏ السنة‏)‏ في لبنان عملاء لعرفات‏,‏ في حين أن المسيحيين عملاء لإسرائيل‏,‏ وقد قال لي مثقف مسيحي وعروبي كبير عام‏1988‏ حين كان الجيش السوري يعود الي بيروت بعد أن طردته منها اسرائيل عام‏1982,‏ ليست المحنة في أن تكون لبنانيا وعربيا‏,‏ بل في أن تنحصر عروبتك بأن تكون مع نظام حافظ الأسد‏,‏ فحتي ولاؤك لبعث العراق لا يخرجك من العروبة فقط بل ومن الحياة‏!‏

بيد أن المحنة اليوم أشد‏,‏ وهي تعود داخلية برغم ارتباطاتها الإقليمية‏,‏ فحزب الله الإيراني الميول والقيادة‏,‏ ليس حزبا أصوليا عاديا ضمن الطائفة الشيعية الكبيرة‏,‏ بل هو مسيطر علي الطائفة وقرارها‏,‏ وقد شن حربا علي إسرائيل بطلب من النظام الإيراني‏,‏ فردت إسرائيل بتخريب لبنان‏,‏ فكيف تستطيع أيها اللبناني أن تكون ناقدا أو معارضا لارتباكات حزب الله وحروبه‏,‏ دون أن تقع في وهدة العداء للشيعة والتشيع‏,‏ كما حصل ويحصل بالعراق‏,‏ السيدة مني فياض‏,‏ الأستاذة الجامعية المعروفة كتبت مقالة في جريدة النهار بعنوان‏:‏ صعوية أن تكون شيعيا أو معني أن تكون شيعيا‏.‏ فرد عليها إسلاميون وعلمانيون شيعة مستنكرين وساخطين‏,‏ لتأثير ذلك علي روح المقاومة‏,‏ أو الدخول في النزعة الطائفية‏!‏

‏...‏ ويحاول الرئيس فؤاد السنيورة‏,‏ وليس من موقعه الحكومي وحسب‏,‏ الحديث والعمل من أجل الوطن اللبناني‏,‏ ذي الانتماء العربي‏,‏ وتأسيس الدولة الجديدة علي هذين الركنين‏,‏ لكن يحول دون ذلك الانجراحات التي نجرجرها معنا منذ أكثر من خمسين عاما‏,‏ والتي تترك كل مرة صرعي كثرا ودما غزيرا‏,‏ تصبح الايديولوجيات معها‏,‏ أيا يكن نوعها‏,‏ عروضا بهلوانية‏,‏ لا علاقة لها بإنسانية الإنسان‏.‏

يختم الرئيس السنيورة كلماته خلال الأزمة بالقول‏:‏ يبقي لبنان‏,‏ وسيبقي لبنان‏,‏ البقاء متحقق‏,‏ فهناك أربعة ملايين لبناني‏,‏ أين يذهبون لكن كيف يخرج لبنان عن أن يكون ساحة لصراعات المنطقة‏,‏ مادامت لكل طائفة من طوائفه ارتباطات اقليمية أو دولية تقدمها‏,‏ في كثير من الأحيان‏,‏ حتي علي مصالحها الداخلية أو المحلية‏!‏

* نقلا عن صحيفة " الأهرام" المصرية

At 8/19/2006 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

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At 8/19/2006 12:38:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

"we are going to witness another conflict in the next few months"
I seriously doubt this,Isreal suffered military defeat,it will take them more than few months to correct it,Isreal must look to make peace with Syria,inspite of american objection,not to go for assassination of lebanese leaders,and not to start another conflict.
Isreal must make peace with Syria, this is a rare chance,if the regime in Syria changes, the chance may not come again for long time.
Mubarak comments and actions,may cause him a lot of trouble in Egypt,Mr. Haykal blamed Mubarak,this is just the begining

At 8/19/2006 12:59:00 PM, Blogger JeremyRose said...

Interesting analysis of the Asad speech.

I have a question that will certainly expose me for a rube. However, I will ask it.

I have seen so many explanations for the importance of the Golan. Everyone seems to have an ideology to sell when giving the reason, so it is difficult to know who to take seriously.

On the Syrian side, the possibilities are:
pride, water, military importance, security and proximity to Damascus

On the Israeli side:
water, military in the sense of occupying the high points of land as well as flanking southern lebanon, general unwillingness to give back occupied lands as it would lead to consideration of the West Bank/Gaza.

Josh, I have respected your non-ideological insight on Syria and would appreciate your thoughts on this particular issue.


At 8/19/2006 01:12:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

Thank you for your reply, your views and takes on the current events are very important since you are seening the events form a different prospective and possibly an opposite side. You brought a good point about Turkey, I would think, KSA may have been requesting that Turkey keep in check the Kurdish resistance in Syria and Iraq the event’s of a regime collapses, and to prevent any weapons supply over flight to Northern Syria from Iran. The moment HA was forced to let the Lebanese army move to the south,
HA lost the resistance argument\. HA knows now that it must flourish as a political party only from this point on, otherwise, Ammal chief is “Berray” is waiting eagerly to take the helm and grip the leadership of the shiia in Lebanon and push HA chief aside
And YOU are absolutely correct, I don’t trust this regime, I think, the regime has one center demand and goal, preservation of the Assad clan grip on Syria “at any price” and to start a dialogue with the US for the sake of regime empowerment and Re-legitimization in eye of the international community.

At 8/19/2006 02:12:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Atassi, I have one question for you:

If it is true that the regime was ONLY interested in survival ... why didn't they do what Sadat did? They would have had America's blessing forever. Look at the King of Jordan, look even at Qaddafi! .. he is doing just fine now. The Americnas let him stay for ever. No one mentioned democracy in Libya for a while now, right?

I agree that survival and stability of the regime is a pririty for them, but believe me, they are very highly motivated by their vision for a stronger and safer Syria. Otherwise you would have seen Bashar now smiling in the White house talking about his recent Nobel Peace prize ...

Majed, Israeli thinktanks are split, but more in favor of doing something to re-establish the clear perception of Israel's military superiority. There might be a new government in Israel that includes Barak and other ex-army generals ... we'll see what comes next. Might be peace, might be violence.

At 8/19/2006 02:36:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

what would be Isreal position if next conflict results were the same as this cinflict or worse? the wise people in Isreal say we should not take risk, we should play it safe.mideast news said HA is already re-armed with more and better weapons,Lebanese defense minister said if Isreal continue truce violation he will pull the lebanese troops out,is this someone who wants to disarm HA?

At 8/19/2006 03:21:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Majed I understand the logical argument, but don't forget that israelis are not robots ... despite their successes.

They have not often been through "failures". This should raise an alarm: they do not necessarily know how to best deal with failure. A typical mistake people do after a loss would be to escalate their commitment to the failed option.

At 8/19/2006 04:00:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8/20/2006 09:04:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

Assad was on his way to get his membership in the “preferred Arab ruler club”, as was announced by then secretary of state Albright, but he failed most of tests and spent the entire dividend left to him by his late father , His major miscalculations :
 The regime support for Saddam prior the War “a shortsighted vision and the strong believe that Baghdad will never fall to the American”.
 Open and uncontrolled passages to the Iraqi an Arab resistance into Iraq
Syria’s blundered policy in Lebanon, and the inability to comprehend, and deeply understand the tactical changes in the Lebanon political life.
With the ultimate ON goal scoring “the grand HARRI mistake!!!”
I strongly disagree with your statement, Assad and his regime have no VIOSIN and “they are NOT very highly motivated by their vision for a stronger and safer Syria”. Until now I haven’t seen any proof that Assad is leading with a vision!! It’s basically the policy of the blind leading the blind, His is spinning his Wheels!!!
This international outcast will not be seen smiling in the White or any other civilized capital other then Tehran for now.
You may have a good vision for better Syria, you maybe able to help him getting out of this hole he is in, and start by advising him to stop digging deeper. By firing all of his advisors


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