Sunday, November 20, 2005

Readers Comments Nov. 21 2005

I have received a number of interesting comments on my recent post about rising nationalism in Syria and Why the US Should not Push Syria to the Wall. Many readers objected to my calling the Syrian opposition "immature." I did not mean this as a description of particular opposition members, who are courageous and fighting the good fight. It was to describe the movement as a whole, which is unprepared to run the country and is unable to win the active backing of a significant portion of the Syrian public, which might make the opposition an alternative to the regime. There seems to be a large gap in thinking and policy recommendations between Syrians living outside Syria and those living inside. Many Syrians outside Syria recommend US led regime-change. Those inside, by and large, reject this. I do not believe the anti-American position of resident Syrians is primarilly due to their fear of the government. I believe it is because they see the world through the eyes of the local media, which is distrustful of the West; they fear chaos as a real possibility; many minorities believe Bashar is a shield to Islamists; others are just naturally conservative and risk averse - they see what has happened in Iraq.

"a grassroots Republican activist" writes:

Just read your most recent post about rising nationalism in Syria. Interesting, especially as it relates to the political climate here.

The Jack Murtha resolution has caused a big stir. The public mood is turning more and more anti-war by the day. Even rank-and-file Republicans are beginning to jump ship on Iraq. I expect that some moderate GOP members of Congress, especially Senators (who tend to be more vulnerable in re-election efforts), will shortly begin to join up with Murtha's sentiments.

While I agree with Murtha on Iraq, he is my party's worst nightmare for 2006 because his conservative "street cred" blue-dog Democratic leadership, as opposed to the whinging liberal coastal Kerry-Pelosi elitism, is what can turn the tide away from Republican domination in Congress.

So the best bet for the GOP (and for America) is for Republicans to steal Murtha's thunder and champion a staged withdrawal, thereby saving their hides for 2006.

Anyway, the point of all this is that it strengthens Bashar's hand. If Americans can't even agree to stay in Iraq, they're definitely not going to want to expand to Syria.

Consider also that even one of the most anti-Syria members of Congress, Robert Wexler from Florida, who sponsored the recent resolution slamming Syria after the Mehlis report, was one of only 3 congressmen out of 400+ to vote YES on Friday for an unconditional immediate withdrawal from Iraq. So aside from that silly vote and any additional toothless anti-Syria legislation forthcoming, Congress is absolutely schizophrenic as far as the Middle East goes. Shouting matches erupted on the House floor on Friday. There is no concensus at all on what Bush is currently doing, has already done, or wants to do in the future.

"a grassroots Republican activist"

Maureen Thomas, who has worked tirelessly to bring Kamal al-Labwani's arrest to the attention of the British Parliament and European Union and who has been in constant contact with Kamal's family, advocating for them and giving them hope that authorities outside Syria will provide some protection for Kamal, has written the following note.

Dear Professor Landis,

I read your posting this morning with interest and distress. My first reaction was that the Syria you describe today reminded me strongly of the China I experienced in 1988 and, to a lesser degree, in 1993.

My main concern today, though, is my dear friend Dr Kamal al-Labwani. Everybody who met him while he was staying here in England commented on his palpable honesty, shining integrity and love for the Syrian people. His chief reason for going to the US was to persuade the government there NOT to punish the people of Syria by imposing sanctions or using force, but to give the Syrian opposition parties enough support for them to have the space and time to introduce reforms from within Syria. He is a great advocate of democracy and has stated time and time again that democracy cannot be imposed on a nation from outside - it must come from within. That is why he chose to return to Syria in spite of the personal risk he was running

He knew perfectly well that he would be arrested on his return, but I do not believe that he contemplated being incarcerated in a cell with 40 convicted criminals. During his previous imprisonment he was kept in solitary confinement, partly to stop him communicating his ideas to others. Why now, then, are they putting him in a cell with so many others? It seems clear to me that, in these circumstances, it will be so easy for an anonymous criminal "someone" to do him serious harm for which nobody will have to take the blame.

I, too, am angry at the way Bush used Kamal as a stick with which to beat Bashar, but I am also disappointed that support for Kamal from the European Parliament is so slow in coming despite the best efforts of Amnesty International and politicians here.

I am at a great disadvantage because I do not speak or read Arabic and am so far removed from the situation in Syria. I do not know how the ordinary Syrian citizen can be persuaded of Kamal's good faith or that their apparent current approval of Bashar is mistaken. I dare say that this is not achievable and that I, and others like me, must watch impotently while this tragedy for Kamal and for his country unfolds. If only enough people in the world had the honesty and courage of Dr. Labwani.

Yours sincerely,
Maureen Thomas

Dear mr. landis,

As an avid reader of your website i am saddened that you continue to defend
the regime with even weaker points. While i understand that your
surroundings/marriage to an allawi woman from a milatary family slants your
point of view of syrian society , to invoke ali el dik music (a convicted
alawi smuggler) as patriotic music really makes you think something is wrong
when this is the kind of people considered "patriotic".

You have no right to continue to tell the world that we syrian people are
not ready fro democracy many more hamas and rami makhlkoufs do we
have to endure before u gave us ure stamp of approval?

p.s. for the record i come from the Ismaili community in Salamie and thus am
an ardent liberal and anti islamist BUT most importanly i believe in the
will of the people and democracy ,something sadly i seem to understand from
your writings you dont care much for.

And for the record i have nothing but respect for Alawis or any other sects, Aref Dellila i hope one day will be in charge of syrias economy, not this
dardari who serves to make the regime look better and little else.
By Anonymous

JAM writes:
Decent Alawis are suffering from the regime as much as any one else. This is more like a Mafia rule than a government with any legitimacy. They intimidate every one, and every one is suvjected to the rules of fear that exist in syria.

I welocome the Iraqi scenario if necessary. The Iraqis, and despite this atmosphere of killings and violence have returned to be human beings again, not dead and sheep as Saddam had made them to be. The Iraqis are happier than most of you know about. I have met Iraqis who have returned and retiurning right now to Iraq. They do prefer this post Saddam situation a million times than Saddam's rule. So do I when it concerns Syria. I want this regime out, and the likes Manaf Tlas to shut up for ever. Let the Syrians become human beings again, with brains, and dignity, and let them kill each other for a while for if this is what they are made of, this will happen now or in 100 years later. let it happen now, and let the Syrians leave their Sheep status as described by Josh himself few times. We need to see Syrians regain their humanity, even if this will lead to some blood shed, and I bet you all, and I know that this will not happen because Syrians are the most pacifists among all Arabs, and among all people. Take away the real thugs and criminals who are the mafia of the regime, and this nation will stand tall again, most civilised among all nations. Syria was the example to the world in keeping the specific traits of any population that migrated to it. Take the Armenians, the Cherkess in modern times, and see how Alawis, Druz, Assyrians, Kurds, etc.,... all were not forced to abandon their ways of life throught hundreds if not thousands of years, and see how Syria had Christian PMs, Druz Ministers of Defense many times, when Druz do not even count 1% of Syria. All of that before this Thug Hafez Assad took over and made it dividied as Josh sees it now.

The solution for Syria in Josh's eyes is to keep thugs like Manaf Tlas for "years" as Tlas wants.. This subhuman sold the Syrian people bad meat he imported and knew it was bad, just to make few extra millions on top of his already made billions. This is a man they interviewed above and wanted to present as a witness that Syria needs him and his ilks for "years" as he put it.

Get out of this crap, mr. Landis!

EHSANI2 writes:
America supports Israel. Israel mistreats the palestinians. Syria is targeted".

"With this CD playing over and over since 1948, Arab regimes used this music to subject their populations to any amount of indignity and sub-standard economic well being they though justifiable. Abu Arab, for example, finds it very hard to take the sound of this CD out of his pre-programmed brain. Let us not lose sight of what all this is about. The Syrian leadership is accused of killing a prime minister of a neighbering country. As I suggested in my comment above, we ought to be spending our time answering this question:

If the evidence is fabricated as Bashar claimed to his 18 million people, why doesn't he pack his files and taped conversations, take his officers, invite CNN and Al-jazeera on the flight (ala Air force one), land anywhere the Mossad agent Mehlis wants, and go on embarrasing America and its leaders by exposing thei lies and conspiricy against his country in front of worldwide Tv and for the world to see. Dr. Landis, I, for one, would love for you to post an article to answer this question for your readers.

Dr. Landis should not be criticised for thinking that the Syrian people are not ready for democracy. He has been living in Syria and seeing the real Syrian people and not you inteliggent people reading and writing on his post. What Dr. Landis sees is 18 million people who can hardly speak a single foreign language, who are made up of 60% below the age of 18 wandering in the streets of Damascus seemingly oblivious to the world outside and perfectly content that this is the way it is supposed to be. After all, they have heard the famous CD above since they were born. They are convinvced that this is the best they can do, and if other countries improve and prosper, then this is either a lie or unimportant. After all, believing in the CD brings them honor. For them, they are born to believe in a higher cause. Democracy and improving standards of living is not for them. They are incable to practice it like others and their country is not ready for it. The CD is more important for their honor and dignity. The fact is that this regime and party has been a master at this game. They have convinced Dr. Landis and their own 18 million people that they are not ready for any better. In a way, they are right. Dr. Landis, how can you have an opposition when you have draconian emergency laws which are in place supposedly because of the CD but in truth exist to crush any chance of opposition and democratic tendencies. Sir, I can guarantee you that if you send our Baath, Mukhabarat and emergency laws to Sweden you will have that country look like Syria in 40 years. When you keep on repeating the mantra that Syrians are not ready, have you ever asked yourself the question of WHY? Do you think it is genetics? I know you cannot help it. You see 18 million improvished men and women, and you don't see in them an alternative leadership to Assad and the Baath. You ask yourself who else can lead this nation? Sir, if you could see them, touch them and feel them and if they were credible as an opposing force, then our security system and emergency laws would failed to work or do a job they perfect over 40 years. Trust me, sir, they work and work better than your own CIA/FBI.
EHSANI2 [end]

Atassi writes
Mr. Assad in his last speech shows that he has more aggressive stance and willing to fight back, He knows and we all know this aggressive stance will hurt the Syrian people, I truly believe now that his untested, inexperience and ill prepared policy leading the county into a dangerous environment domestically and on the regional level too.

This Forum needs to Voice the need for the county to:
1- The dominant role of the Baath party needs to be reduced to allow the real oppositions groups can participate in a program of transition to a democratic and free society to facilitate a free and fair election “even to the presidency itself”.
2- Syria now is in uncharted territory, Mr. Assad needs to show the county that he is on the helm of the job at this difficult time. He needs to act and remove any elements opposing the need for institutional reform.
3- Abolishing Decree No. 51 “state of emergency”, in which Mr Assad himself admitted that mistake and abuse were made with Decree No.51. He must reinforce the independence of the judiciary system maybe by removing the office of the president form the higher council of the judiciary.
4- Syria in needs of justice system to fight corruption and enforce transparency in the county public entities for fair and allow a fair and transparent biddings process.


At 11/21/2005 08:05:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

JAM said "I welocome the Iraqi scenario if necessary"

Not only the individuals safety that's at risk, but also the Unity of Iraq and its surroundings.

I think the unity of Syria is more important than Democracy at this stage. Democracy is on its way sooner or later, it could be slower than expected but its a definite. Syria's unity is going to be a long term dilemma if abused and it could be incurable, the nearest example is the civil war in Lebanon. We still don't know the last shap of Lebanon.

The US Admin is trying to create a new map in the M.E., based on new rules, similar to that of Sykes Pekoe. However, the aim is to prevent the creation of large democratic states like Syria, Egypt or KSA. this may justify the lack of support to the democratic movement in Egypt and KSA. They would rather encourage the creation of new small and tiny democratic states with limited military capacity. These new states should include the existence of US military bases to ensure security. In other word, Syria could be divided into two or three Federations like Iraq.

The Main aims:
keep Israel the largest state in the region
keep control of all oil fields in the region
control security within a small geographical areas

The above also proves Israel's claim of retaining Golan Heights for itself, since no small federation will be able to negotiate this issue alone. This is because new federations will be established based on new Sectarian & religious dimensions, which could play a major role on each federation's liability towards Golan Heights.

Mixing the human rights issues in Syria with the US plans in the region and giving the first the ultimate priority would bring the Syrians nothing at least for the medium and long term. There is a need also to stop exaggeration and imagination, Syria is a third world country, (Not Europe which buit its empire in a non-democratice shap), and what is happening in Syria is very common to a third world country, maybe Syria is in a better situation than many others in the thrid world.

Any democratic change should consider Syria’s Unity at the top of the agenda and accept that Syria can not democratic by a decision within 5-10 years. Syria is a young state, EU is an Ageing continent, we still have not gone through the climax point, we are still going through the shaping era. Moving between eras should ensure that you don’t dispose parts of your original body, instead you should move stronger and firmer towards the next era.

At 11/21/2005 09:23:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Economic sanctions only, weather smart and narrow, or dumb and wide reaching, will not work as an effective enforcement measure by itself, and it will not advance Syria or it’s ruler one inch into the program. Rather it will send it backward in leaps. With it, the whole Middle East will be sent backward, including Israel.

Economic sanctions needs to be accompanied with organizing opposition and arming them with the necessary fund and technologies to carry out an effective media campaign inside Syria, either based in Lebanon or through Arial means such as developed by Orontes Corporation ( This campaign must be purely run and operated by Syrians only.

Additionally, the assured use of force must be present. That can not be just a U.S. action, it must be Syrian / US action. The face of this action must be at all time Syrian oppositions, not American.

The intent of all this should not be to occupy, chop-up or destroy Syria as the Petro-Zionist plan intend on doing. No Zionist brained, retarded and evil, Faith inspired Shock and Awe campaign to destroy Syria’s Industrial / Commercial Infrastructure and prepare Syria for perpetual Civil War ( for the benefit of Israel of course),. The surgical military operation, if necessary, is primarily to protect unarmed Syrians and their rights. For as long as the regime respect those rights, force should not be used. And if they did not, then surgical force should be used against the aggressor and or his governmental enterprise on a case by case basis. There will be no wide scale use of force and no Government official, Baathist, armed forces or regime base supporter, armed or unarmed, or Mukhabrat, specifically targeted, as long as the entity is not conducting offensive campaigns against Syrians, committing rights abuses, or is a party to such abuse or harmful tactics, but rather using the media in the same way to affect the street and the choices the Syrian people needs to make for Syria’s future. Orontes Corporation ( has developed several defense system that are apt to be successfully and effectively used in such Civil Strife Seek & Combat deployment.

The intent of the Media campaign that is backed by in-kind response and a retaliatory use of force is not, and should not be directed at either removing Bashar or his regime from power, but rather to force him and his regime to make a behavior modification toward how they are running Syria and treating the Syrian people. Forcing him to stop the theft of State properties and resources, removing the Baath yoke from Syrian necks and allowing the kind of representation for various parties that can operate under real reformed laws, that will have an affect on the running of Syria.

Under such a plan, a wide economic sanctions can work concurrent with measures described above, because they will not be indefinite as the case in Iraq. The Baathist Mafia regime will thrive under sanctions only regiment, weather limited and smart or wide reaching, sanction busters are eager to move in on and cease on the opportunities that will be available. Almost positive, that large number of those sanction busters profiteers will be Americans operating through Iraqi boarder ( not Syrian-American).

Does this sound too much like “Barbie in Fairytopia”? Only for three reasons. First, Petro-Zionists planners will never agree to it, allow it, or even promote it. Should it pass through this first e-insurnamable ( how do you spell the damm word) hurdle, it will face the second less difficult obstacle, but not by much. Would international bankers willing to take a chance on the reverse cash flow, even to reverse transfer the $45 billion in cash Assad’s Mafia hoarded abroad, to the lesser benefits of those countries financial systems and economies. Finally can you convince a trenched and absolute Mafia boss, that is backed overtly or covertly by the most corrupt people on earth in power and or out of it, without much blood in the street, to give up his street corner or the whole block, give up absolute monopoly on the market and every cash transaction on that block? This cannot be assured (Saddam is an example) but it has a much better chance to succeed if the Mafia Boss knows that he better cooperate and live reasonably with dignity than if he did not, not only he will be on the run all his life, if he survived, but he will not find a cent to spend, because all his, his family, his Mafia gangster and their family hoarded cash and assets will be taken by the bigger and more powerful organized crime family.

President Buch needs to stop this monkey business and help the people of Syria. The country has the most politicized population in the entire world, They are fearful of the Mukhabrat. Syrians are very disappointed and now are totally distrustful with the Bush Administration, even more so, than from any previous U.S. Administration in the past 40 years.

Syria, like that of Lebanon is very ripe for the kind of transformation to a new updated country more than any country in the world, even more than Lebanon. In fact, the failure of accomplishing this will lead to mess that will spiral out of control. Syria is the missing link in bringing to fruition the goals set by President Bush Greater Middle East Initiative.

In the end, lacking any other measure, sanctions only can go on and on and Bashar will simply outlast the fourth president that will be elected after George Bush leaves office.

The older Bush made a serious and fatal mistake in the past when he left dictator Saddam in power. It is even a greater mistake if the younger Bush leaves the Baath party in sole control of Syria.

If President Bush listen and adopt the incompetent Petro-Zionist dreamers plan, if he to read the junk in-junk out dossiers his CIA and other intelligence agencies shove on his desk and do nothing as they recommend, ( No available alternative), ( No viable option) and rubbish such as this Baathist developed and inspired motto’s, he will loose the entire Middle East and it's oil. If he and America took a back seat and helped all the Syrian oppositions to do the talking and the campaigning, he will win big and leave office with remarkable achievements and good accomplishments that for 2000 years no one, not a person, and not an empire was able to do.

Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe
Syrian Republican Party
The future of Syria
The future of the Middle East

At 11/21/2005 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

I am one of many Syrians outside Syria and WE DO NOT recommend US led regime-change. We and most of the Syrian in the US and other places believe the anti-American position of resident Syrians is primarily due to their fear of the government.
Most of the Syrians living outside Syria seek freedom and justice for the people inside. Most of the Syrians living outside Syria are very sincere and there agendas are very clear and open. Please rely this message. Until the oppressive baath regime resign to the fact that ALL Syrian desires market reforms and political liberalization. seek freedom and justice for all . We will keep on writing and voicing or discontent. Nothing will stop me " as other past forces were never able to stop the older national Atassi's "

At 11/22/2005 01:36:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home