Sunday, June 12, 2005

Turkey loves Syria - Iraq Border - Jund al-Islam - Lebanon

America Vulnerable on Iraq Border

U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen on Sunday delivered to President Assad a message reportedly containing a U.N. and U.S. joint ultimatum that Syria will be taken to severe international reckoning if another political assassination occurs in Lebanon.
So the Kassir whack was a freebie. France was not going to make a federal case over Kassir. One doesn't go to war over a journalist. The US got the Roed-Larsen visit from Annan, because Annan is a lamb duck, but Larsen is shooting blanks. He even said his talk with President Asad was "constructive." Not what Washington hoped for, on doubt. Resolution 1559 has no legs left. It accomplished its main mission, which was Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon. The US will need another UN resolution to hurt Syria further.

Ideally, Washington would inspire a 1559-like resolution for the Syrian-Iraqi border, which would give the US international legitimacy and multi-lateral support for taking a tough line on Damascus over Jihadist infiltration into Iraq. Such a resolution would be infinitely more effective than the unilateral threat to take land along the border for a "security zone" or to create a no-fly zone over Kurdish areas. America will do neither of these two things. They are hot air.

First, Syria's Kurds could not and would not replicate the sort of independent bridge-head that Iraq's Kurds did in northern Iraq.

Second, an occupied border strip would have to be filled up with American and Iraqi forces to fight off what would surely be a major Syrian insurgency. Those troops don't exist. If they did, America would already have placed them along the border. Washington is trying to wind down its Iraq involvement, not wind it up. Anyway, by taking Syrian land, America would only inspire the formation of a Hizbullah-like insurgency from the Arab tribes of the region. "The Bagara kick Butt" - I can already see the headlines. (The Bagara are the biggest Arab tribe in the North-east. A member of the tribe told me yesterday that tribal members are already itching to fight in Iraq. If their land were taken by US troops, there would be no holding them back.)

The point of this digression is to say that the US is powerless on the Iraqi border issue. Now that resolution 1559 is useless as a political weapon with which to beat Syria, Washington is searching for a new fulcrum with which to bend Syria to its will. If it had not acted unilaterally in Iraq, the UN might be disposed today to help put pressure on Syria to take more vigorous measures on the border. Because the US stiff-armed the UN and Europeans in declaring war on Iraq, most Europeans are secretly happy to see American screwing up in Iraq today. They will not lend a hand by squeezing Syria on the issue. Lebanon was one thing. Iraq is another. There will be no 1559 for the Iraq border.

The Turks, according to this al-Hayat article by Yusif Sharif, are trying to repair relations with the United States, but the two countries are far from seeing eye to eye on Syria.

When President Bush and Erdoghan met this weekend, they discussed strategic differences over Cyprus and Iraq, but when the subject of Syria came up, both leaders discovered they had such profound disagreements that conversation ceased. The silence extended for over a minute! Turkey will not isolate Syria. Here is the Hayat article:
وفي ما يتعلق بالملف السوري، أكد جميع من حضر لقاء الرئيسين انه شكل نقطة الخلاف الرئيسية بينهما، إلى حدّ جعل الحوار ينتهي إلى صمت عميق استغرق قرابة دقيقة كاملة.

وقال أحد المسؤولين الأتراك المقربين من أردوغان لـ«الحياة»: «أكدت واشنطن لأردوغان ضرورة فرض عزلة كاملة على سورية لأنها لا تزال تدعم المقاومين في العراق وتتدخل في شؤون لبنان، إلا أن أردوغان الذي لم يلمس وجود أي إستراتيجية أميركية واضحة تجاه سورية أو نية لتغيير النظام هناك أو للقيام بعمل عسكري ضد دمشق، أصر على موقفه في شأن ضرورة دعم جهود الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد الإصلاحية».

وفي ما يتعلق في الشأن السوري، تبدو حكومة حزب «العدالة والتنمية» مقتنعة تماماً بوجود فرصة أمام الرئيس الأسد لتنفيذ مشروع إصلاحي سياسي في سورية، على رغم قناعة الحكومة تلك «بوجود عناصر استخباراتية سورية تعمل لمصلحة عدد من القيادات السورية في لبنان من دون علم الرئيس الأسد».

The breakdown of the strategic Turkish - American alliance is explained here in an interview with the top analyst at Turkey's leading think tank. ( Founder and Chairman of Leading Turkish Think Tank: The U.S.-Turkish Strategic Partnership is Long Gone) It is worth reading.

Lebanon Elections

Contradictory attempts to explain the latest round of the Lebanese elections in the Christian heartland of the Metn led are revealed in these two headlines:

"Pro-Syrian parties poised to win," wrote CNN

Aoun ran on a platform to defeat old-guard nepotism with the help of pro-Syrian groups.
Anti-Syrian Leader Scores Upset in Lebanese Elections Scotsman, UK

Is Aoun pro-Syrian or anti-Syrian? This is the wrong question. Aoun's triumphal win with formerly pro-Syrian allies on his list in the heavily Christian and anti-Syrian Lebanon Mountain only goes to show how unimportant Syria has become in Lebanon today.

If the first two rounds of Lebanon's elections were about Syria, this round was not. By staggering the elections, as Lebanon does over 4 successive weekends, results in a very different outcome than staging elections on one big day, as do most countries. The electorate and issues evolve with each round.

The fact that this round was not about Syria was wonderfully elucidated during a recent US press conference. Sean McCormack, Bush's spokesman, told reporters there was evidence of Syrian meddling in the elections. They gave him good ribbing in this exchange:
REPORTER: Last week, you expressed some concerns about Syrian interference. Are those concerns - do those concerns have a basis in fact where these elections are concerned? So far, have you been able to observe any Syrian interference in the elections?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think our concerns are based on fact. I think it would be a little odd to have concerns not based on fact. In terms of a -

QUESTION: It's happened. [Having concerns with no facts.]
(Laughter.)

QUESTION: WMD in Iraq?
Aoun's win demonstrates that Lebanese have local Lebanese issues on their mind now, which is a good sign. Christians believed that Hariri, Jumblatt, and Berri were getting greedy and cutting the Christians out of a future Lebanon. Yes, they had patched in a few Christians on the Hariri list, but once Christians saw Hariri and Jumblatt bring Berri into their coalition, promising him another term as Speaker of Parliament, they understood that Christians would be cut out of any real decision making in the future. Hence the Aoun Tsunami.

Michael Young figured this out before the rest of us. Some commentators try to chip away at Michael's reputation for being smart - and more than smart, correct - by calling him the "Lebanese Neo-con," or the "Oriental Orientalist," or even the "Christian Curmudgeon," but this is sour grapes. He gets it right consistently.

The proof is the long opinion piece he wrote over a week ago, which was featured by "Syria Comment," predicting a sharp Christian reaction to Jumblatt's machinations. He warned us that the Christians were angry that Hariri was following Jumblatt into an alliance with Nabih Berri.

Christians understood only too well that their interests were being jettisoned by the Muslims. They were not chosing their candidates, Hariri and Jumblatt were. They would have no real say over Lebanon's future if the Muslims ganged up to rid the country of Lahoud in the name of taking revenge for Hariri's assassination and being "anti-Syrian."

Christians realized that the growing Muslim coalition was no longer primarily about punishing Syria, it was really about taking power from Christians and running Lebanon on their own. That is why Aoun reached out to the erstwhile Syria supporters in the Metn and is now doing the same in the north. They are no longer defined as "pro-Syrians," because the game in Lebanon is no longer about Syria. When Jumblatt tried to cast Aoun as a "small Syrian tool" yesterday in the wake of his defeat, he was blowing smoke. The same logic applies to Jumblatt. He is not a "small Syria tool" because of his alliance with Hizbullah and Amal in the last round of elections; he is trying to win control of Lebanon for himself. That is what politicians do and must do.

Lebanese stability depends on a strong understanding between Sunnis and Maronites. Christians played a key role, if not "the" key role in driving Syria out. No matter how much some hate to admit it, the Christians have been the real policemen of Lebanon's independence ever since they laid the foundations of the present Lebanese nation using French troops. Many Muslims viewed this effort as treason against the "greater Arab nation," which was to have its capital in Damascus. (Admittedly this is a grand simplification, but Muslims have been of two minds about their separate and distinct identity as Lebanese. Sure, we can blame this on the Christians for pressing Phoenicianism to absurd extremes. It takes two to tango. But Muslim "dual" identity has been at the heart of Lebanon's weakness.)

Perhaps the biggest change brought about by the Hariri murder and recent Lebanese Intifada is that Muslims finally said "no" to Syria and unification Arabism, just as they said "yes" to Lebanonism. They did this in a loud and clear voice standing side by side with fellow Christian Lebanese and raising the red and white flag emblasoned with a cross and crescent. Keeping the focus on maintaining and building the Christian-Muslim alliance is what will build a better and more stable Lebanon.

To Young's credit, his opinion piece in today’s Daily Star hereis not hate mail directed at Jumblatt. It is not an "I-told-you-so," gloat-piece about how he was right about Christian anger leading to Aoun's victory. It is really a warning shot at Aoun. He is praying that Aoun will not be the military ramrod of old who will press his victory too far. Michael warns his fellow Christians not to get greedy and not to seek revenge or do anything that will irremediably hurt the Christian-Muslim alliance that must be the foundation of Lebanon. Michael is not a sectarian (He is also not a Maronite as I erroneously stated earlier). Nor is he a neo-con. The proof is that he is an equal opportunity za`im basher when the interests of Lebanon, as he sees them, are being placed in jeopardy.

Speaking of Lebanese neocons, one of my favorites is the ever pugnacious Tony Badran at "Across the Bay." His latest purple prose ably dissects Buthaina Shabaan's op-ed in AS-sharq al-Awsat accusing the United States of master-minding the recent Jihadist group arrested in Syria. While Buthaina is at it, she also accuses Washington of ordering the Kassir and Hariri murders, the logic being that they were bad for Syria. Hey, I just found a big cockroach in my kitchen. Cockroaches can't be good for Syria. I'm calling the US embassy. Read Tony's analysis of Aoun's victory. It is good, clear, and concise.

The Jihadist story is a serious one, however. Many analysts in the West, Israel, and here in Syria too, will be tempted to say it was a Syrian plot, much as Buthaina called it an American plot. Why? Because it is good for the government. They accuse the government of fabricating the Islamist threat in order to win popular support for the Baath and to puncture US arguments that regime-change will lead to democracy and not extremism is Syria.

This conspiracy logic is stupid no matter who is doing it. (Unless, of course, there is proof of conspiracy - they do happen.) There is no reason to believe that Syria would not have militants thinking about blowing up government buildings. In fact, it is crazy to believe that it does not. Syria has been very lucky not to have a terrorism problem as other Arab countries have these past 20 years. The US invasion of Iraq will inevitably inspire more Syrians to find the answer to their local political problems in extremism and fundamentalism. There will be blowback. Syria has played with fire by not sealing its border tighter. We are probably seeing blowback in the recent arrests, although there is no evidence any of the fundamentalists trained in Iraq or traveled there. There is a Saudi connection. Here is the story.

3 Killed in Syrian Anti-Insurgent Raid From Associated Press:
A jihadist group was allegedly plotting bomb attacks and targeting Middle East regimes.

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syrian forces raided a suspected insurgent hide-out near the capital, killing two men, arresting a third and foiling bombing plots that targeted the nation's Justice Palace, the country's official news agency said.

A member of Syria's security forces was killed and another was wounded in the clash Thursday in the Daff al-Shouk suburb of Damascus, according to a report late Friday by the SANA news agency.

The group's leader, identified as Abu Omar, and an accomplice were killed and another suspect was arrested, SANA said. Identity cards were found next to the bodies bearing the names Omar Barakat and Arfan Yassin, both Syrian. It was not clear whether the cards belonged to the dead men.

State-run TV showed footage from the scene of the confrontation. The bloodied bodies of two men lay on the apartment floor, one partially covered by a blanket. Machine guns, pistols, jihadist documents and mobile phones were scattered about.

A picture on a Saudi driver's license apparently belonging to Yassin showed a bespectacled man with a black, bushy beard. Next to it lay U.S. dollars and Syrian pounds.

One document reportedly described the group's hierarchy, including emirs in charge of fighters, explosives, missiles and military training. Another said the group's holy war should start with countries in the region ruled by "despotic regimes," naming Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Attention then should be directed to "dictators" in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq, whose "people have been afflicted with the Crusaders," the document said.

SANA said security forces received information several months ago that the group was planning bombings. The government began surveillance of the group after receiving the tips. A bomb was discovered and detonated on the road between Damascus and Zabadani.
Ibrahim Hamidi reports in Al-Hayat that now Islamist MP Muhammad Habash is claiming to have received threats from a Salafist group on his cell "right before the kidnapping of Sheikh Muhammad Maashouq al-Khaznawi." Habash also tied that group with other incidents in Syria, such as the killing of a police officer in Homs, at the beginning of the year. Hamidi also runs through the various names of this group. An-Nahar has more details. The film of the operation that ran on Syrian TV showed that one of the killed Islamists, both of whom were Syrian, held a Saudi driver's license. They also showed a document with the hierarchical structure of the group, with the various functions of each one laid out. (This para is stolen from Tony - thanks T.)

31 Comments:

At 6/14/2005 08:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no reason to believe that Syria would not have militants


Yes they potentially exists but what's the interest of these militants,to attack the justice palace ,to place bombs on baby body(this folish story was propagated by the syrian medias yesterday) or to attack an empty office of the UN or to kill a Sheikh who clearly called for a regime change in Syria after a meeting with the syrian opposition in Europe ?
No one militant will risk his life for a piece of madness.

As for Mohamad Habash,the damascene dont trust him,they know that he is an agent of the regime and not an independant voice.

It's not innocent choice that these mediatized advocates of the regime are selected non- baathists and non- alawites...

 
At 6/14/2005 08:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This swindle attempt from Habash to mix the events is the proof that how much he is deeply linked with the security apparatus .

If Habash had only one atom of dignity he should speak about 15 children arrested in a blinded way with dozens of neigbours that followed the killing of the security apparatus agent.

This incident was reported by Dr Burhan Ghalioun last week.

 
At 6/14/2005 10:02:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how the American or French authorities would react to the assassination of one of it's govermental or sectret agents? I am not a fan of this regime but I support as many do the actions taken to maintain security and stability.

 
At 6/14/2005 10:45:00 AM, Anonymous kingcrane said...

Josh,

Michael Young did not get it right, he got lucky. It is not the Joumblatt-Berri axis that us Lebanese Christians rejected, it is 15 years of Joumblatto-Harirism (with the help of Syrians) and the nomination of MPs by these two.

Let us go back to March. The answer to the Hezbollah rally of March 8 was the anti-E. Lahoud "opposition" rally of March 14. After the 'ard al 'adalat, Hariri and Joumblatt realized that they stood to lose to the Shi'a if a fair system of representation were to be used in Lebanon, hence the Hariri-Joumblatt-Hezbollah-Amal "pragmatic" coalition, and the 2000 electoral law was officialized for 2005.

Then, the machinations started... Joumblatt and Hariri decided to carve out the MPs in Lebanon, and to avoid a confrontation with Amal and the Hezbollah: Beirut (except one seat for the Hezbollah, and one for the Gemayels) was Hariri's and the South was more or less Amal-Hezbollah (except for B. Hariri in Saida). These were perceived as nominations by the Christians, mostly because they were not consulted about any of their representatives. When Samir Qassir was killed, his boss, newly elected Greek Orthodox Haririan MP for Ashrafieh-Beirut, Gebrane Twayni, was verbally abused by the people at the scene in Ashrafieh; they told him "go to Qoraytem" (Hariri's residence), the equivalent of "go to daddy"... Then, on June 12, the Hariri-Joumblatt list won in the Southern part of the Beqa' while the Hezbollah list won in the Northern part of the Beqa' but 'Awn (with a variety of allies, some pro-Syrian, some anti-Syrian) took Zahle, and most of the North of Mount Lebanon. Joumblatt and his alliance won the Chouf, as well as the close battle in Baabda-Aley where they received less than 20% of the Chritian vote in an area where the Moslim and Christian voting populations are of comparable size. The battle in the North will oppose the usual Hariri-Joumblatt tandem along with a few tepid Christian faire-valoir(s) like Mrs. Geagea, Mrs. Mou'awwad, or Boutros Harb, against an alliance around 'Awn's reformist platform. So, no, the Christians are not upset at one person or another. They are in favor of 'Awn because they want reform and they realize that to get there, they need to fight some remnants of the Syrian presence, namely the two biggest political names of the Syrian era, Joumblatt and Hariri and their Christian allies. It is interesting that 'Awn has now reconciled with Omar Karameh, and may also reconcile with Selim Hoss, and has avoided any confrontation with the Hezbollah or Amal / Berri.

So, 'Awn and his allies are one pole and Hariri and Joumblatt constitute the other pole, with the Hezbollah and Amal being the referees... 'Awn now has 21 MPs, to about 34 MPs for Amal / Hezbollah / allies, 44 MPs for Hariri / Joumblatt / allies, and only two MPs for the Gemayyel family. The North will yield 27 MP seats.

I want also to say that Nassib Lahoud is a moron. Once, I respected this man. But, clearly, how can you say something ridiculous like "the Syrians want to kill me" after he engineered his own political suicide? he failed at the polls in an overwhelming Christian area; I guess he can go to Qoraytem now, if Qoraytem wants him; and at this time, his camp and 'Awn's are exchanging accusations about who is pro-Syrian...

CNN today is clueless. When they say "Is 'Awn pro-Syrian or anti-Syrian?" followed by "Awn win shows... how unimportant Syria has become in Lebanon today" they fail to grasp that the Syria-anti-Christian Lebanese cliche ignores that Lebanese Christians were helped by Syria in 1976, that Kamal Joumblatt allied with the Palestinians on the false assumption that Arafat was only a benign ally (he was not) and that the eventual problems involving Syria in Lebanon never negated one basic agreement between Syria and the Lebanese Christians: that the Palestinians that live in Lebanon, like those that live in Syria, will never be granted citizenship, as this would give Israel the perfect alibi to give even less to the PLO.

Bashar Assad has admitted that Syria has made mistakes in Lebanon; he never specified what the mistakes are. Some of the mistakes are known, as they victimized the Lebanese population at large, but some mistakes (having created a corrupt political class of turncoats that became the "opposition" to please the US-Saudi axis) are not stated. When 'Awn sent his emissary to Syria earlier this year, his major request was complete independence to conduct his reformist agenda; in exchange, he accepted some pro-Syrian symbols, but refused some others (Abdel-Rahim Mrad, Elias Ferzli, Ghassan Ashqar); likewise, the Hezbollah asked Syrian Ba'ath Lebanese boss 'Assem Qanso to step aside.

PS: I regret that Riad Turk, a previous diplomat, and a brilliant man, was the only 'Awn / Skaff list loser of the election in Zahle, and that he lost to the Hariri-Joumblatt money represented by the most nefarious Nicolas Fattoush.

 
At 6/14/2005 12:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how the American or French authorities would react to the assassination of one of it's govermental or sectret agents?

The western agent work for the sake of his country whatever and the other is a torturer and work for the sake of the dictator.

The syrian agent is a telltale his job is to protect the mafia of al assad and to humiliate and rob the syrian people.

What will be your reaction if a moukhabarat enter a mosque as drunk as a lord?

 
At 6/14/2005 12:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aoun is able to make a good result in the north despite his alliance with Sleiman Junior.A complete batallion of his liberation army was from Tripoli-Akkar and many of them remain imprisoned in Syria.
Mount Lebanon north can also react as Mount Lebanon south.

 
At 6/14/2005 01:10:00 PM, Blogger Anton Efendi said...

Kingcrane:

>>The answer to the Hezbollah rally of March 8 was the anti-E. Lahoud "opposition" rally of March 14. After the 'ard al 'adalat, Hariri and Joumblatt realized that they stood to lose to the Shi'a if a fair system of representation were to be used in Lebanon, hence the Hariri-Joumblatt-Hezbollah-Amal "pragmatic" coalition, and the 2000 electoral law was officialized for 2005.<<

This has got to be THE stupidest thing I've ever read on these recent events. Congrats!

 
At 6/14/2005 01:14:00 PM, Blogger Anton Efendi said...

Oh, and just to set the record straight on this myth, the Druze-Sunni-Christian (not to mention independent non Amal-HA Shites) opposition was not only a political, but also a numerical majority. So your entire calculation (let alone theory and explanation) couldn't be more off target.

If you're using this kind of logic it means you still don't understand anything about how Lebanon works.

 
At 6/14/2005 01:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

اردوغان: تركيا لا تدعم دمشق ولا تؤيد الانظمة القمعية

Posted: 13-06-2005 , 08:12 GMT


أعلن رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان ان العلاقات بين تركيا والولايات المتحدة لا تزال قوية رغم التوترات التي حدثت بينهما أخيراً كما قلل من شأن التلميحات بأن الدولتين الحليفتين لا تزالان تختلفان بشأن دمشق.

وأكد حلحلة الخلاف مع واشنطن بشأن سوريا عندما انتقد ضمنياً النظام السوري، واقترب من تصنيفه بأنه نظام قمعي من دون أن يقول ذلك صراحة.

ونقلت وكالة "الأناضول" للأنباء عن أردوغان قوله مساء السبت إن "العلاقات المتعددة الأبعاد بين تركيا والولايات المتحدة تصبح أعمق وأكثر قوة كل يوم (...) وعلاقاتنا تقوم على القيم السياسية المشتركة والشراكة الاستراتيجية".

وجاءت تصريحاته بعيد عودته من واشنطن حيث أجرى محادثات مع الرئيس الأميركي جورج بوش في محاولة لإصلاح العلاقات بين البلدين.

وكان اردوغان قد دافع، خلال لقائه بوش، عن الحوار الذي تجريه حكومته مع سوريا، رافضا سعي الادارة الاميركية الى عزلها. وقال رئيس الوزراء التركي ان الحوار مع دمشق، ساعد انقرة على ضمان التعاون السوري في مكافحة مقاتلي "حزب العمال الكردستاني"، كما ادى دورا في الانسحاب السوري من لبنان.

وشدد اردوغان، في المقابل، على ان سياسة حكومته لم ترق الى مستوى تقديم الدعم لدمشق. وقال لصحيفة "نيويورك تايمز" الاميركية "ان تركيا لا توافق بأي شكل من الاشكال على الانظمة القمعية". اضاف "وفي هذه المرحلة لا يوجد في سوريا شيء يمكن ان تحتذي به تركيا، بينما يمكن لسوريا الاقتداء بكثير من الامور الموجودة في تركيا".

وتابع "اذا ارادت سوريا ان تؤوي ارهابيين، فستصبح وحيدة في العالم".

© 2005 البوابة(www.albawaba.com)

 
At 6/14/2005 02:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon 12:10 PM
Everyone in Syria has a relative or a friend working for the army or intelligene or goverment.. I dont think its fair to discriminate and judge them all as torturers and mafias....

 
At 6/14/2005 03:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the purpose of the moukhabarat ?
To free Golan or to protect the dictatorship ?
After 35 years of totalitarian reign, there is no more army in Syria ,the officers are more interested to pile up the american dollars ,drive Cadillac and Mercedes and build palaces....prefer to not answer to an israeli attack but....always ready to bomb syrian civilians...and that's what Israel want for Syria.

Are u proud of this situation ?

 
At 6/14/2005 03:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think its fair to discriminate and judge them all as torturers and mafias....
Certainly ,i dont speak about the brave and humiliated syrian soldier or the officer who can not fulfill the conditions that any syrian know for acceptance in the club of the syrian military elite.

 
At 6/14/2005 05:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: I regret that Riad Turk, a previous diplomat, and a brilliant man, was the only 'Awn / Skaff list loser of the election in Zahle, and that he lost to the Hariri-Joumblatt money represented by the most nefarious Nicolas Fattoush.

Kingcrane,
Fouad Turk not Riad...
Riad al Turk is syrian.

 
At 6/14/2005 05:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't the Christians vote for Michel Aoun?

By Rosana Bou Monsef

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Why have Christians voted for Michel Aoun and given him the leadership of such a large bloc in Parliament? Perhaps the question that should have been asked is: "Why wouldn't the Christians vote for Michel Aoun?"

During the past 15 years, Christians have condemned the perceived ingratitude against their confession's leaders, namely Aoun and disbanded Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.

The community's frustration resulting from the ousting of their leaders has directly contributed to magnifying the mystique and importance of Aoun and Geagea for both Christian's and national public opinion.

Consequently, true reconciliation, according to several Christian figures, meant the return of Aoun and Geagea, as no political balance can be established in the country without true Christian leadership.

Having finally realized a part of their goal of true representation upon Aoun's triumphant return to Lebanon in May, the minds of the Christian voters could not be changed in the few weeks before the holding of parliamentary elections.

Due to, or maybe because of, the lack of any notable Christian figures stepping up to fill the leadership void - other than Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir - all efforts were spent on maintaining support for both Aoun and Geagea.

Even the Qornet Shehwan Gathering, fostered and founded by Sfeir, failed to achieve such heights, despite its partnership with the Future Movement and Walid Jumblatt, as it proved incapable of wriggling free from Bkirki's grasp.

The retired general, freshly returned from exile for waging a war of liberation against Syria, has ridden into the country on a tidal wave of change he claims to have unleashed named Resolution 1559, which - despite being backed by the U.S. and France - aims to restore Lebanon's independence and sovereignty.

This fact alone is why the people have dismissed Jumblatt's accusations that Aoun facilitated the return of Syrians to Lebanon.

There was also an important paradox in the U.S. inflexibility in the days preceding Mount Lebanon's elections toward Syria to bar its intelligence from interfering in the polls.

In addition, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sent special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen to Damascus for a private meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Is it pure coincidence such international pressure was put on Syria on election day for Mount Lebanon at a time when rumors were spreading of continued Syrian political interference?

For long years Christians have suffered from the lack of a political authority that the country's other confessions and political parties could talk to.

President Emile Lahoud could not assume this role considering his post, but neither did he allow any other to pick up the torch. In fact, he frequently used his capacities to stop any political rapprochement, regardless of its nature, between Muslim leaders and the Maronite patriarch.

The absence of a Christian interlocutor has been condemned by Muslim leaders, with particular frustration caused by Sfeir's leadership, as the patriarch is not an elected politician.

Consequently, given their deep need for true political representation, the Christians found what they were looking for, and rebuked Jumblatt's impertinence when he commented on the share Christian parties should be given in Mount Lebanon.

According to the election results in Christian areas, voters did not hide their anger at the tutelage of the Druze leader of their community.

Jumblatt no longer has the power to control the mountain after influential officials from the Christian confession have returned to the political arena to claim their rightful place.

For such voters, Aoun represents the power to restore their position and role in the country, and is seen as someone who will not allow them to be monopolized or minimized.

So, why wouldn't the Christians, under these circumstances, vote for Michel Aoun?

 
At 6/14/2005 06:24:00 PM, Anonymous kingcrane said...

Tony,

You are dead wrong. The axis you talk about was a nice concoction on paper, but you can go several years back, and you will realize that 'Awn was never enthusiastic about being in a coalition with leaders he does not trust. So, let us clarify a few things, and any time you call anybody stupid, it will only show that you are not open to dialogue.

Let us see the definite anti-Syrian camp after March 14:
-Hariri and Co
-Joumblatt and Co
-Kornet Shahwan Christians, including the ever dwindling Lebanese Forces and the Hentchag
-Some Shi'a

Let us see the ones that are not sure where they wanted to be:
-Solange Tutunji Gemayel, who was elected unopposed as Haririan Ghattas Khoury was asked to step aside
-Pierre Amine Gemayel, who was elected thanks to Murr and the Tachnag

In my opinion, both will sever all ties with Hariri and Joumblatt and join the 'Awn coalition. I know better because I am a Christian (Greek Catholic) from the heart of Ashrafieh and I spend many hours on the phone with people in Lebanon daily, and Solange has been told by her usual constituency to break off with Hariri and Joumblatt.

And now for the pro-Syrian camp that has survived:
-Murr and Co
-Skaff and Co
-Frangieh and Co
-Karameh and Co and others who are not running
-I will spare you Ferzli, Mrad (despite acceptable showings at the polls) as well as Ashqar and the now marginalized 'Assem Qanso

Other pro-Syrians have more than survived, they are thriving: the Hezbollah and Amal.

As to Shi'a MPs who are not Amal and not Hezbollah, I would like to mention the one from Byblos (a 'Awni) and the one from Zahleh (a Skaffi).

Let us now address 'Awn's position: why is he allying with Syria? Just hear the man. He has affirmed that Syria is now out (in fact he has emphasized this fact as an answer to Joumblatt's paranoid allegations) and he now says that he will lead the battle for true reform in Lebanon. That means that, for him, Syria is not a factor in his future political plans (of course, Joumblatt keeps talking about Syria daily, like adults who scare kids with stories about Le Pere Fouettard). In other words, he will help Emile Lahoud (who was always undermined by Hariri on dossiers like reforms and his stance against privatization).

So, who is now in the majority? The point that most Lebanese wanted Syria out is difficult to argue against, but to say that the Lebanese are now going to embark on a perillous journey with Hariri and Joumblatt against Syria is a joke. You must understand that the departure of the Syrian military marks the beginning of the 'Awni agenda, not the end of the 'Awni agenda.

PS: Who are you fooling? Your site is a source of information for Americans who like your known neo-conservative views (regime change in Syria). This is your business, but please refrain from asking the people in Lebanon to be the agents of the US-Saudi axis in their endeavors.

PS: When the Hezbollah staged March 8 as an answer to the Martyrs' square gatherings, the decision was made by the leadership of the "opposition" to stage March 14 as an answer (please go check all the information for that week). So, of course, it was 'ard 'adalat pure and simple. It is shortly after that the Hariri-Joumblatt-Hezb-Amal agreement was finalized. Coincidence?

 
At 6/14/2005 06:27:00 PM, Anonymous kingcrane said...

to: Anonymous at 3:34pm

You are correct, Fuad, not Riad; my mistake.

 
At 6/15/2005 07:07:00 AM, Anonymous Tarek said...

I tend to agree with Kingcrane's first post. And to the anonymous who states that Druze-Sunni-Christians make up a political majority then i would agree but if you are saying they make a numerical majority then i would advise you to get off the crack your smoking ASAP.

It is common knowledge that the Shi3a in Lebanon make up at the very least 55% of the total population. They outnumber all the other sects combined. But they are also the poorest and most "oppressed" sect by far.

The Druze-Christian-Sunni coalition has and will for a long time-to-come maintain their dominance over Lebanon. They are not willing to give up their grip on a country that was created their ancestors. And even though the power balance has shifted marginally after the civil war. It’s widely accepted that the "Christian" identity of Lebanon will not change even if Christians are in the minority. I find it ironic that no one screams foul like they do about the Alwaites ruling Syria. I guess we have more in common than some Lebanese would like to admit.

 
At 6/15/2005 09:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

common knowledge shia 55?

yes and the christians 10%?????

This is a lie.

The shias were 22% in the last census during the french mandate ,today around 30% not more.

 
At 6/15/2005 09:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Common knowledge!?!?! Really!?!? And we're on crack?!

Where, pray, did you get that statistic? All the available information (unofficial censuses, electoral registration, and other statistics) show a CEILING for the Shiites somewhere around 35%.

Maybe instead of talking about "common knowledge" and crack, you do actual research.

 
At 6/15/2005 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous Ghassan said...

From latest election lists (list of people who are eligible to vote) Shia' are in the 35% range. Lacking a recent census, since there has not been a census since 1932, we can rely on the election list. I wish that a person (good Master degree thesis) can put together (compile) a data on the number of each sect in each area. Excel can be used and pivot point can be utilized to manipulate how do you want to exhibit the data.

Another issue, what about the Lebanese who live outside Lebanon but still in contact with Lebanon? I am not talking about second generation Lebanese!

Bottom line, no body know the accurate percentage and if you have data, support it with evidence!

 
At 6/15/2005 10:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given that this Syria-Comment, can go back to talk about Syria please?? For heaven's sake enough of Lebanon!!!

Any thoughts about the rumours that Farouk Shara'a will be appointed in the "coming hours" as vice president (of Syria obviusly, unless you do mind us talking about Syria)

 
At 6/15/2005 10:26:00 AM, Anonymous kingcrane said...

Tarek is not off the mark. The Shi'a voters are less than 40%, but the rate of natality in this community is higher than that of all other communities, with the Sunna being second in this category. The voting population in 4 or 5 years will be more than 40% Shi'a. One of the reasons is that people like are unable to vote, as we live in Europe, Canada, the USA... and we cannot vote (Lebanese law differs from Syrian law) unless we show actually show up at our "home" poll location.

PS: I need to add one thing about a previous post. Some people (mostly Sunna, but also some Shi'a)) showed up at the March 8 and the March 14 rallies. They wanted "Sheikh Saad" and "Sayed Hassan" to combine forces, and "Walid Bey" was happy to oblige, but the Hezbollah would not ally without also including Nabih Berri's Amal.

 
At 6/15/2005 12:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shiites are mostly villagers and are recently concerned by a massif emigration to the Americas ,Europe,Australia and Africa.
South and Bekaa shiite villages are as emptiness than their neighbor christian villages.

 
At 6/15/2005 12:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Land Dispute Between Turkey and Syria to be Solved with Barter
By Abdullah Ozyurt
Published: Saturday 11, 2005
zaman.com

A step was taken to find a solution for the land dispute between Turkey and Syria that emerged with Hatay's annexation to Turkey in 1939. The land exchange formula will prevail for a solution.

The friendly relations between Turkey and Syria have begun to yield results. After the Adana Agreement that was signed in 1939 and the borders were drawn, peace process was sped up by the reciprocal visits of presidents and prime ministers of both countries. Hence, historical disputes waiting for a solution came to the agenda. While some Syrians were forced to leave their lands in Hatay during the annexation, some Hatay locals were also forced to leave their lands in Syria.

The land exchange was put forward during the negotiations between the foreign ministers of two countries. Foreign ministry authorities confirmed that works on the issue had improved, and added that the amount of land involved in the land exchange will be clarified following a commission report. Syrians have 241,000,000 square meters land in Turkey and Turks have 1,240,260,000 square meters agreed land and 2,284,902,000 square meters non-agreed lands. Land that is located near to the Amik Savanna evaluated to be worth trillions of Turkish Lira. Thousands of square meters of land of which most are either possessed or owned produce crops two or three times a year and provide impressive incomes for the landowners.

Turkish-Syrian relations that have began to recover mostly please those possessing land in both countries. It is expected that the friendship bridge between Ankara and Damascus built by the Adana Agreement will solve the land dispute as well. One of those whose lands remained in Syria due to the Ankara Agreement is the Kahraman Family who are from the Reyhanli township of Hatay. Osman Kahraman who is the grandson of Sih Osman Kahraman said his family went to Kilis 35 years ago and found the real estate registers of the Ottoman archives. Expressing that he had at least 6,000,000 square meters of land, many houses and building sites located in Syria, Kahraman went on: "My family then went to Syria and learned the location of our properties. My grandfather's father Haci Hamo had been the agha of five villages. Since the entire village and the real estates belonged to the agha, all land in the village belonged to my grand grandfather as well. My grandfather has four siblings and my father has 12 and returning all those lands to their rightful owners will not only please us, but also the thousands of people like us."


Hatay

 
At 6/16/2005 10:51:00 AM, Anonymous kingcrane said...

To: Anonymous at 12:22 PM.

Thank you for this most informative post. I would like to submit that land deeds from the Ottoman era have been challenged, but are usually more accurate. The fact that there are now disputes all along the Turkish-Syrian borders cannot be disputed, but remember that the Syrian authorities' pragmatism about the Sandjaq (the fact that they stopped claiming the area as Syrian) helps solving a lot of the contentious issues between Damascus and Ankara.

But here is a scenario: A Christian family from Akkar relocates to the Lattakia area and acquires land under the Ottomans. Under the French Mandate, the family relocates to Tripoli and becomes Lebanese as of 1946. The land is later expropriated by the Syrian authorities when the land nationalizations took place. Is this individual less worthy to receive conpensation because he is Lebanese as compared to the Turkish example? What about a Syrian who owns a lot of land and who lost most of it when expropriations took place for large land owners only? Is he less worthy than the Turkish man whose family owned large plots?

 
At 6/16/2005 03:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the price that they must pay in exchange to stay in power and they are ready to sell all in Syria because they lack of popular support...Asad's mafia fears losing the power ,perfectly aware of the popular reaction that will follow the recovery of the syrian people's elementary rights.
So they pray for a new deal with the Israelis .
Kissinger thought that it was not in the interest of Israel to face democratic Syria.Now they discovered that totalitarian regimes generate terrorism.Unfortunately for the syrian people That explain why this illegitimate regime survived so long.

 
At 6/16/2005 07:12:00 PM, Anonymous Shami &amp; a Half said...

Here's a scenario for you all to chew on:

1. Bashar is not in full control and lacking military credentials, he relies on his baby brother, Maher Assad, to ensure army's support to prop up his regime.
2. Maher, being an unstable loonie, cannot be trusted. Maher has been rumored to have presented himself as an option to the Americans via the Israelis, as far back as October 2003.
3. Bashar relies on his brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, to keep an eye on Maher. This is part of Assef's job, as the head of Military Intelligence.
4. This explains how Bashar promoted Assef Shawkat to head of Military Intelligence, knowing the animosity between Maher and Assef.
5. In 1999, Maher had shot Assef over an argument about Uncle Rifaat. Maher didn't like Assef's insult of Rifaat and considered it an internal affair that Assef should butt out of.
6. Given the friction and tension between Maher and Assef, Maher assassinates Rafik Hariri. This kills 2 birds with 1 stone: First, Get rid of Hariri, who is at odds with Lahoud who safeguards the Assad family's business interests in Lebanon. And, second, set a trap for Assef Shawkat who's ultimately responsible for Lebanon's security.
7. Given Maher's closeness to his father's family (Assad), you can understand Rifaat's recent rumblings about his return to Syria. It's in coordination with Maher.
8. Liwaa Bahjat Sleiman is close to Rifaat. He's out.

Plausible scenario? I think so. Certainly, there's a lot of feuding and jockeying going on in that dysfunctional family. God help our people. We need to wake up and kick all of these bastards to the curb.

 
At 6/16/2005 09:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shami and Half,Well summarized and accurate.It Shows how much Asad's family is important as decision making center of the regime.

 
At 6/17/2005 10:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lebanese paper considers links between Syrian Jund al-Sham, militant groups

By BBC
Jun 16, 2005, 19:00 GMT

The following is the text of a report by Sha'ban Abbud in Damascus headlined "What is the connection between the 'Jund al-Sham' organizations? A dangerous band of Salafis that accuses everyone of being an unbeliever", published by Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar website on 15 June

We the correspondents of Arab and foreign newspapers wish we were treated the way the correspondents of the Syrian Arab News Agency-SANA and the reporters of the Al-Thawrah newspaper are treated with regards to having access to information - even at a press conference - on the details of what happened in the Daf al-Shawk district. What took place was that the security organs waged an armed confrontation with a jihadist-Salafi-takfiri group that called itself "Jund al-Sham li al-Jihad wa al-Tawhid". We are making this point because it is our right to know and because we have several questions.

Is there some sort of connection between this group and another group with the same name in Lebanon and, specifically, in the Ayn al-Hulwah camp? Or is it a local group? Does this group have any external connections and with whom? What is the form of this connection? Is it with states or Islamic organizations or intelligence services that wish to harm Syria? How many members does this group have? Are there non-Syrians among them and where are they located, other than in Damascus? Are there more weapons than those that were photographed? What equipment was confiscated? Did this equipment include computers, fax machines, telephones or answer machines? Did any member of this group go to Iraq and wage "jihad" there? Why were the planned targets of the group - based on the confessions of some of them - civilian targets like the Palace of Justice and a "bus" as we read in the newspaper Al-Thawrah? Why were their targets not western embassies or other positions and centres? There are many other questions that arouse our curiosity and it does not seem that Al-Thawrah or SANA is about to give us the answers.

Such a situation drives a journalist to search for answers using his own methods and from various sources. This is what we did in order to better understand what had happened. Sources that monitor the affairs of the principal Islamic groups, especially the jihadist and takfiri groups, told us that it is unlikely that there is a connection between the "Jund al-Sham" in Lebanon and the "Jund al-Sham" in Syria. The first organization has almost disbanded after its emir, Usamah al-Shihabi, gave up his leadership in protest at some internal practices and also due to weak financial resources. The sources told us that the Emir Al-Shihabi himself sometimes resorted to physical labour to make a living. Furthermore, most of the members of this group are wanted by the Lebanese and other security services. Therefore, their presence and activities were mostly confined to the Ayn al-Hulwah camp in southern Lebanon. But some argue that the "Jund al-Sham" group in Lebanon has sent pamphlets to some Islamists in Syria to explain its stances on certain matters, especially on what the press has been reporting about it.

Regarding the emir of the group, who was killed by the Syrian authorities in the Daf al-Shawk neighbourhood in Damascus, the sources say that "Abu-Umar" is of "Druze" origin and that he opted for the takfiri-jihadist-Salafi ideology a few years ago. He was married twice. His first wife is from Lebanon and his second from Syria, and he divorced his second wife about three months ago. "Abu-Umar" was active in the village of Madaya in the Al-Zabadani region and owned a vegetable shop. He recently fell out with the "Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah" that he led in Madaya. The security authorities arrested about 17 members of this group about a year ago. After that, "Abu-Umar" separated from that group and met with another group that agreed on the idea of forming the "Jund al-Sham" organization in Syria. This group is a small one that does not exceed 10 members. The security authorities were watching them closely in connection with incidents that took place in Madaya and the Al-Zabadani area.

The sources asserted that this group "is a dangerous band of Salafis that accuse everyone and everything of being unbelievers and are bound by one ideology. However, they lack a clear vision and organizational experience. It became clear that they were planning something big but only on paper. What the official press has published about their plans and papers is correct." The sources said it is unlikely that this group has external relations, especially with a Salafi and takfiri group like Al-Qa'idah or another organization, because such incidents give the regime in Syria the opportunity to strike at all Islamic currents and to be more harsh against them. Furthermore, Syria is not part of Al-Qa'idah's programme or that of other similar Islamic groups. They believe that the priority these days is Iraq, and that the arenas that have not been decisively in favour of the Muslims and that still are open are Afghanistan and Chechnya in addition to Iraq. Furthermore, they believe that their first enemy is the United States and Syria is coming under US pressure. So why would they attack Syria, even though the Syrian regime is a secular one, is not on good terms with the Islamists, and fought and dealt harsh blows to them. The sources said that there are no organized groups in Syria but that there are sympathizers. Although their eyes are on other arenas in Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya, their presence is extremely dangerous for they are indeed sleeper cells.

 
At 6/17/2005 03:17:00 PM, Blogger JP said...

"most Europeans are secretly happy to see American screwing up in Iraq today."

I think it would be fair for me to ask what you mean by your claim that "America is screwing up in Iraq". Then how did you come to that conclusion?

 
At 6/17/2005 10:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

الباحثون الإسلاميون بسورية يدقون ناقوس الخطر ويطالبون بإنشاء أحزاب إسلامية معتدلة

الاحزاب والحركات

يرونها الطريقة الأمثل لمواجهة التكفيريين الإرهابيين و يدعون السلطة لعدم الاكتفاء بالحل الأمني

أجمع عدة باحثين إسلاميين سوريين على " مطالبة السلطات بالسماح بقيام أحزاب إسلامية معتدلة " حتى من كان يرفض منهم سابقا " احتكار اسم الإسلام في حزب بعينه

" معلنين " دق ناقوس الخطر للسلطة إذا لم تسمح للمعتدلين بممارسة نشاط سياسي حر , يعمل على نشر الفكر الإسلامي المعتدل لمواجهة التطرف , بدل الاكتفاء بالحل الأمني الذي يؤجل المشاكل فقط و لا يحلها نهائيا ".

و من أبرز الداعين , الذين وقفت (سيريا نيوز) على آرائهم بعد إعلان قوات الأمن السورية في وقت متأخر من ليل أمس الجمعة عن قيامها بضبط مجموعة تكفيرية إرهابية متشددة في أحد أحياء دمشق , د. محمد حبش عضو مجلس الشعب , و مدير مركز الدراسات الإسلامية بدمشق , و المقرب من السلطة الذي أكد بأن " ما أعلن عنه من ضبط مجموعة تكفيرية إرهابية باسم (تنظيم جند الشام للجهاد و التوحيد ) يتطلب استنفارا في القطاع الأمني كما في القطاع الثقافي و الديني , لمواجهة تسلل التطرف إلى سورية " و قال " عادة تتعامل سورية مع هكذا حالات بالذرائع الأمنية , مع تغييب للدور التوجيهي المباشر الذي نلاحظ أن المؤسسات المعنية تتجاوزه عادة و لا تقوم بمسئوليتها تجاهه ".

و أعلن د. حبش من خلال (سيريا نيوز) عن " تنظيم ندوة لمواجهة التطرف , و لكن كل الأجهزة و الوزارات المعنية بالثقافة و الإعلام ستخاف من التصدي لهكذا ندوة و سيفضلون أن تترك الموضوع ليعالج أمنيا , و هذا ما نشعر بأنه تفريط في معالجة هذه القضايا " و شدد على أن " المطلوب الآن استنفار على مستوى التوجيه الديني , و مراقبة دينية و ليس أمنية للمناهج و مراكز التأثير , لإخضاعها لمنطق القانون و المواطنة و الحياة الديمقراطية ".

و أشار إلى " جزء من الحل الذي نطالب به هو إتاحة المجال أمام قيام أحزاب ذات توجه إسلامي معتدل , و إن كنت أتمسك بموقفي بعدم احتكار اسم الإسلام بحزب بعينه , و لكن اعتقد أن إتاحة المجال للعمل السياسي و قيام أحزاب سياسية في سورية سيعتبر من أهم الشروط المطلوبة لمواجهة تيار كهذا , لذا نطالب بقيام نشاط سياسي حر للإسلاميين , لأن مواجهة التطرف هي في المقام الأول مسئولية الخطاب الإسلامي , و أن الاكتفاء بالحل الأمني يؤدي إلى تأجيل المشاكل و ليس إلى إنهاءها".

و لفت د. حبش إلى أن " التطرف لا دين له , و أن سورية لديها خبرة في التعاطي مع مثل هذا الانحراف , و قد شهدت سورية الأسبوع الماضي جريمة لا تقل بشاعة عن أسوأ جرائم الإرهاب الفكري عندما قامت جماعة من المتطرفين بقتل الشيخ محمد معشوق الخزنوي , بالتأكيد دواعي التطرف مختلفة , و لكنها على كل حال إفرازات للتزمت الديني , و هنا يتأكد ما طالبنا به الدولة مرارا , بأن من الخطأ الاكتفاء بالحل الأمني ".

المحامي محمد هشام الحساني الباحث في شؤون الجماعات و الحركات الإسلامية داخل و خارج سورية , قال " إننا ندق ناقوس الخطر للسلطة , إذا لم تسمح للمعتدلين بإنشاء أحزاب إسلامية معتدلة , و بحرية التعبير فسنواجه المزيد من التكفيريين و الإرهابيين , لأن نشر الفكر المعتدل عبر أحزابه و وسائلها الإعلامية الخاصة هو الذي سيحصن البلاد من مثل تلك الهجمات ".

و اعتبر الحساني أن " إنشاء الأحزاب الإسلامية المعتدلة يجنب أي دولة تسمح بهذه الأحزاب , مثل تلك الجماعات التكفيرية و السلبية , لأن المسلم إذا استطاع التعبير عن رأيه بحرية و دون قيود فهو لا يحتاج للتعبير بالأعمال الإرهابية , و إذا كان هذا الرأي يساعد الدولة في بناء الوطن و تطويره بأفكار إسلامية قابلة للتطبيق و واقعية , فإن ذلك سيساعد على تحقيق الازدهار للجميع , أما الكبت الذي تمارسه الدولة ضد الإسلام بشكل عام , و عدم التفريق بينه و بين الإسلام المعتدل و بعض الجماعات الإسلامية التي تسيء استخدام الإسلام , هو الذي يؤدي إلى تصاعد الهجمات الإرهابية في أي بلد إسلامي ".

و أفاد بان " السلطة إذا كانت خائفة من الترخيص لحزب شبيه بحزب الله في سورية , كونه يحمل السلاح من أجل تحرير الأراضي العربية من الاحتلال الإسرائيلي , فلماذا لا يسمح بالترخيص لأحزاب إسلامية معتدلة على غرار حزب العدالة و التنمية في المغرب , و حزب العدالة و التنمية في تركيا , و طالما أن الدولة سمحت بإنشاء مصارف إسلامية , إدراكا منها لأهمية الفكر الإسلامي في إنجاح كثير من المشاريع الوطنية و منها الاقتصادية , لأن هذه المشاريع الإسلامية لها وجود و ثقة في التعامل بين الناس لأن أغلب المجتمع ملتزم بالدين الإسلامي و نظرياته التطبيقية ".

و رأى بأن " خيار الأمن لا يعني القضاء على حرية التعبير , فالدول الغربية تحقق أمنها و تفتح حريات التعبير فيها , و أنا أرى بأن المجتمع السوري محصن بوعيه و بثقافته و أفكاره الإسلامية المعتدلة , و وجود كثير من المثقفين الإسلاميين المعتدلين الذين لهم أصوات مسموعة في الشارع , و أفكارهم تلقى ترحيب عام من جميع الأطياف الإسلامية في سورية , و لكن هؤلاء المعتدلين يقيدون ببعض القواعد الأمنية خشية أن ينفلت زمام الأمن من أيدي القائمين عليه , و هنا مكمن الخطأ في النظرية

 

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