Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Syrian's View of the Khaddam Patronage Network

A Syrian reader has just written me the most interesting analysis of the Khaddam affaire I have yet read. Many thanks to him for sending this along and giving me permission to publish it. Here it is:...

Josh,

Extremely interesting analysis on Khaddam! I totally agree. As a young Syrian who lived the last part of Khaddam era and the transition to Bashar, allow me to add the following to your excellent analysis:

I think that Khaddam's reasons for his precisely timed comeback on the Syrian regime was because of a mix of reasons, mainly:
1- personal vendettas
2- fresh business deals
3- an oversized ego.

Think about it: here is a man that was selling his services to bidders from outside Syria who wanted to influence Syria's political and major business decisions.

He sold his services to the Hariri senior and continued his alliance with the new Hariri. He is a major partner in most of Hariri's businesses in Syria, Lebanon, Saudi and France as was Hariri a partner in his business in Syria, whereas Rafiq Hariri's business competitors in Lebanon and Syria were having an extremely hard time finding any foothold in Syria . One major example: Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal who was unable to enter the Syrian market until Bashar came to power.. which by the way added to Khaddam's mafia grievances in the last 5 years. Until 2000, it was very well known that it would be extremely hard for any big player from outside or inside Syria to enter the Syrian market unless they made someone from Khaddam's mafia a partner (Coca-cola, Philip-Morris, Jaguar are just a few of Khaddam's businesses in Syria with partnerships with the Hariri and other Saudis, plus the countless local businesses and chains in Syria) not to mention his sons and wife illegal businesses of smuggling, trade in nuclear waste, etc. I was personally told in 1998 (by a son of ex-senior bathist from the old -and now expired- guards) of a very well-known meeting between Al-walid bin Talal and Assad senior in Damascus where the prince begged Hafez to keep Khaddam cronies away from him as he was being kept out of the Syrian market because he refused to pay "the partnership fees" to one of Khaddam sons. I personally think that it was not possible for Emaar (the Dubai based mega properties investment company) to come to Syria with its 5 Billions Dollars investment if Khaddam was not "gently" kicked out from power during the last 5 years. Oh and by the way, did anyone else notice how Future TV (owned by Hariri) does not play Syrian TV shows unless they were produced by the Al-Sham Int... you guessed it.. it is owned by Khaddam!

Unfortunately, Syria was and still is run by corrupted mafia-style businessmen/politicians for the last 30 years, where Lebanon has been run by a larger number of corrupted mafia-style businessmen/politicians/sectarian Za'ims since its creation. These Lebanese and Syrian mafias interchanging control turfs in both countries and many powerful partnerships were created over the years of Syria in Lebanon.. both sides are to blame.

The Personal Vendetta!
As for Khaddam's remarks on the foreign minister, it is a fact that Al-Sharaa lost a lot of the glamour he had in the nineties. He should be blamed for Syria's recent foreign policy missteps. But although this incompetence begs for change in the foreign ministry's head, it should be clearly stated that Farouk Al-Sharaa was and still is seen by the Syrian public as one of the few "clean hands" in the brutal and corrupted world of the Syrian regime. For more than 20 years, no one ever heard in Syria of any illegal activity by Al-Sharaa or any of his relatives (while it is a sad truth, it is something rare and admirable in the dirty world of Syrian regime). Given that Khaddam held, and obviously still holds, grudge for Al-Sharaa, this gives even more credibility to the rumors that prevailed in Syria during the last 5 years about tensions between Al-Sharaa and Khaddam, not always because of policy-related reasons! The rumors said that Al-Shara'a was critical of Khaddam wide-scale corruption and his sons imposed siege on investment in Syria.

As I see it, Khaddam has surely lost his mind. He lost control on Lebanon back in 1998 to Bashar, then lost leadership in Syria to Bashar again in 2000 and finally his corrupted empire is being continuously threatened by both legal businesses as well as other mafias (relatives of the president and others) who were finally permitted to enter the Syrian market since Bashar came to power. I think that sometime in the last 5 years he knew that sooner or later his turn will come in the list of the old-guards heads rolling out of office.. it was Zu'by (when Bashar was heading the anti-corruption campaign between 1998 and 2000 under Hafez), Tlass and other military and security chiefs heads rolled after that and Khaddam was being put out of duty gradually in a polite way for years, maybe as a "gratitude" for his services to Bashar's father and maybe because Bashar did not want to make an enemy out of him because of Khaddam's mafia connections inside Syria and personal political allies outside that may threaten Assad's regime. In his interview with the robotic and miserably-researched journalist, it was blatantly clear how Khaddam was more enraged because of slowly losing grip of political and business power on a the business/political level and more importantly of how Shara'a (his rival) becoming the only one from the old guards not put out of office!

For god's sake, the man was for a while the ruler of a country (Lebanon) and was preparing himself for taking Lebanon back plus having Syria after Hafez died, thinking that Bashar will be a stooge manipulated by him.. eventually, it seems that either Bashar was able to gently and smoothly replace the corrupted old guards with technocrats (Dardari being the most successful example) or that his new corrupted inner-circle was able to replace the old ones with new -but multiple and less brutal- mafias (or maybe both of these reasons are true)! Either case Khaddam was enraged and slowly planned his exit strategy for the last few years. The Hariri fiasco -regardless of who did it- was Khaddam's biggest chance and the most beneficial financially and politically in the long run in his view.

For people like Khaddam, who served in a dictatorship for so long, the Syrian people do not matter .. they simply are irrelevant in Khaddam's calculations. We have to admit that people in Syria are enraged and feel stabbed in the back. The possibility that the Syrian regime is involved in killing Hariri does not take away the fact that most Syrians (in and outside Syria) are seeing the whole Hariri and aftermath as a huge threat to their economy, their rights in the Golan, their security and their country as whole. The reason for the Syrian people view is because international and regional parties are itching to gain on Syria's expense in the current turmoil. I think that he really thought that he would be back with a vengeance when Bashar's regime would fall because of external pressures that he solely was able to revive (a new service sold by Khaddam to the highest bidder). With his speech he just made friends with the Saudis, the French, the Americans, the Syrian opposition (including the Muslim Brotherhood who was brutally crushed in Hama when he was its mayor!) and -strangely as it may seem- the Israelis (Didn't you notice how he did not utter a single bad word on Israel, not even when the interviewer included it in his examples of who might killed Hariri.. something very weird when considering his Bathist pan-Arabist Anti-Israeli ideology that he preached and ruled with for the last 35 years!). This gives more credibility to what Ma'arif published few days ago stating that Israeli officials visited Khaddam in Paris a lot during the last six months (and just recently published that its editor-in-chief was "scolded" by the Mosad for this scoop!).

One final note, if the Lebanese sectarian warlords now applauding Khaddam think that all of what he presented was credible, then they should take the whole package he offered and spare Syrians the decades long accusations.. Khaddam in his long speech (that was sometimes disgusting when he preached on freedom and corruption) cleared Syria's name from many of the major issues these same Lebanese warlords are currently utilizing in their political struggles for power. He cleared Syria's name from the blood of Moauadh (former Lebanese president), he made it clear that Samir Jaja' did kill Karami (former PM) and how it was not Syria that insisted for him to be jailed (contrary to what the Lebanese Maronite urban legend widely say), he also told the story of General Aoun and how Syria requested that he is brought to power as defense minister after kicking him from the presidency he held by force and many other issues!

What Bashar should do now?
The Khaddam empire he built on corruption in Syria/Lebanon/Saudi/France/..etc. was very well known to normal Syrians. Almost month ago (long before the interview) one independent MP requested that the government open Khaddam's corruption files. Knowing that Khaddam influence was very well established within the corrupted mafias inside Syria and other mafias outside such as the Hariri's (his biggest business partners) and some Saudi conglomerates, this was one of the bravest things done in the Syrian parliament last year (and when I say Mafia, I mean just that: a brutal business empire rotating around a family). On the last parliament session in 2005 many of the MPs were naming names in corruptions charges and threatening to open the corruption files of people still in power (including ministers) related to Khaddam's mafia.

The good thing that I see from the whole Khaddam fiasco is that more corruption charges would be openly thrown both ways now and that the Syrian parliament (or at least some of its members hopefully) would raise the demands of bringing people to justice openly. We saw a glimpse of this few days ago when one independent MP demanded the release of Dalila and Homsy because -as he put it- "they stood in the face of Khaddam's corruption". I think this is a golden opportunity for Bashar -if he is intelligent enough- to seize the moment and release the political prisoners (in the coming release expected on Eid Al-Adha in less than 10 days) who were jailed during Damascus spring and -to save face- blame Khaddam (rightly or wrongly) for "manipulating the authorities" and putting these brave men in jail for their stance on corruption back in 2001-2003. Better yet, imagine the reaction of the Syrian people if Bashar carried out the magnificent counter attack of installing some of Damascus spring prisoners as ministers in the upcoming government change!

My wish for 2006 after what I saw in the Syrian parliament in the last day in 2005, is for this parliament (the independent part of the MPs at least) to become more active, outspoken and brave in fighting corruption and naming names publicly (I also hope that some of the "installed" MPs that we painfully listed to last year would resign, drop dead or spontaneously combust!). This might solve the biggest part of Syria's problems.

Thank you Josh and please do keep posting more often.
Idaf
PS. if you think that my view is worth publishing in one of your posts (as representing a Syrian point of view) then it'll be an honor

63 Comments:

At 1/03/2006 01:14:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Well that is certainly interesting. This blog is worth reading again.

 
At 1/03/2006 01:20:00 PM, Blogger yaman said...

Idaf,

Very interesting write-up. I must say, though, that while this does a good job of exposing Khaddam for the scoundrel that he is, it does not address the serious accusations he raised (which the international world, including the UN committee, cares much more about than a few million dollars of kickbacks) against President Bashar al-Assad and the rest of the regime. Showing that Khaddam is a shady character or that he was a bastion of corruption in his regime, which is what SyriaTV has been doing for the past several days, unfortunately does not stop the problem presented by his interview with Al-Arabiya.

It is clear that Khaddam is not a noble angel coming out of hiding to save the day. He is, as many have speculated, being manipulated by the Hariri camp, the Saudi government, the United States, and apparently Mossad according to some Israeli newspapers. Nevertheless, international politics is not a place where you can completely discard someone based on his political alliances (which is something that politics in our part of the world has failed to grasp--association with Israel/US/West does not mean a person is evil, perse). Maybe unfortunately for Syria, the parties who seem to be his political allies at this point are also the ones with the ball in their court and the most power to exercise action.

While you have high hopes for Syrian MPs to start speaking out, I think you are overly optimistic. If you believe in the Old Guard-New Guard battle theory, then even now, with the last vestiges of the "Old Guard" quickly disappearing, I think President Assad is in a worse position than he was 5 years ago. If ever there was a time where domestic solidarity was absolutely necessary for him to maintain power, now is the time. His honeymoon period has expired, most Syrians have come off of the "reform is nigh" wave, and international pressure is sure to crush the country if the situation is not defused soon.

Just some quick thoughts,
Yaman


--
www.syriaforum.org

 
At 1/03/2006 01:22:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Totally true.

The thing is how can the Assad family, a family that has also came up from a sum of zero wealth to billions upon billions in a short time can accuse Khadam of corruption now after 35 years of knowingly ignoring his corruption and mafia like deals?

The problem is not easy to be solved by the inheritor of power and wealth from illegal activities by his father.

The whole Assad regime's origin goes back to financial interests by the Saudis and the Syrian commerical class, and Lebanese later on.

Again, Bashar should release the Damscus Spring prisonner immediately to gain any credibility and for the people to believe that there was a real struggle between Bashar (The one who wants progress, and freedom, etc,...) and the Old Guard that seemingly is all out of power now.

 
At 1/03/2006 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1/03/2006 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Ammar said...

Indeed, Idaf, this was a great analysis. But I have to concur with Yaman and Joseph here. There are two mafia families at work here, or in fact many of them. Whoever wins, the people lose. we should stop betting on Mafiosos, and start tackling that incredibly difficult task of building an alternative from the ground up. Neither the parliament nor reform figures in the regime will likely be of any real help in this.

 
At 1/03/2006 01:59:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I could not resist adding the following:
1- How can a President of a country sit for five years watching one of his subordinates and his children steal, plunder and amass the type of wealth that we are now being exposed to?
2- More importantly, how can his God like father whose words are as eternal as Jesus and the Prophet do the same for 30 additional years?
3- How credible, honest and sincere are discussions of corruption in Syria if the President’s most inner circle of relatives is conveniently overlooked and omitted.
4- Does anyone really think that Khaddam and his sons made out more than Mr. Makhlouf and his sons or for that matter Mr. Tlas and his sons?
5- For President Bashar to earn the respect of his people, let him form a commission that would ask his brother, cousin, uncle/s, every Baath and security official one simple question:
“Given your official salary, how did you accumulate this net worth?” In other words “Mn Ayna Laka Haza?” Once Mr. Makhlouf can answer this question to the satisfaction of 20 million Syrians, I will be proud to have Bashar as my President.

 
At 1/03/2006 02:15:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Ehsani2:

It seems to me that the long analysis that Mr. Landis published, written by a Syrian is totally accurate.

Furthermore, I see that Khadam himself, and numerous articles written in Saudi Newspapers confirm one thing: They are eager to see Hafez Assad's team back. There is a great inflating of what Hafez Assad-Khadam team did, and a nostalgia for them, The disaapearance of Ghazi Kanaan, and the news today that Ali Duba is in London all confirm a great struggle going on in Syria between the Old Guard and the new Guard.

To my knowledge, we were all furious of what Hafez Regime did in Syria, true or false? Did we all not consider Hafez's regime, and his men the real Evils?

If this coming out of Khadam and what ever I have listed above is nothing more than a Maifia like fight, but more importantly, an attempt to have Hafez Assad come back from the grave by the winning of his men, should we support that?

Should we support the old team versus the new team? Should we say, ok Bashar, get out..?


Or should we just wait a little and see the facts before speaking?

In my opinion, and I know that whatever was spoken about in the above analysis is totally accurate and true, we should support Bashar against the evil men of the old regime. That is because Bashar has cleansed Syria from them, and true it took him long, but I understand how difficult it must have been, and I am willing to judge him based on the fact that he can now release the prisonners asap, and he should do so fast If he does so, I am willing to support him against the old guard. I had never believed there was a struggle, but apparently the struggle was true.


JAM

 
At 1/03/2006 02:23:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

You guys talk about corruption as if it can be stoped. wake up and smell reality man. its basic Machiavellian political mechanics that are a MUST in environment such as ours in the middle east. For fuck’s sake’s even US senators take kickbacks so stop your unrealistic whining and accept it as a fact. The only thing that should be done is an attempt to control and limit it but I cant see it abolished.

How can you expect any influential politician/figure to be loyal to you (as president) if he will be paid the official 200$ monthly salary? What is wrong with you people?

Anyways Idaf’s commentary was very interesting and intriguing. As mentioned on my commentary that was kindly published by Josh on November 1st. I also felt that the only way out of this dilemma is for the government to open up civil and economic liberties exponationelly but I also said that would be the least likely option they will take.

My contacts in Syria (the same that told me Khaddam was in Paris a month ago) have mentioned that we should expect Tlas to come on Al Jazeera in the next few days in an attempt to counter Khaddam’s punch. Tlas knows Khaddam the most, only he and Khaddam go way back with Hafez so it seems he will have the most juice against Khaddam. But knowing the way Tlas talk it’s more likely to be entertaining than interesting. But let’s wait and see.

 
At 1/03/2006 02:34:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

This dummy Criminal above speaks of corruption as Kick backs like the US.

Wake up idiot, corruption in Syria is a way of life. The one who can control totally the ones who can't/. Life is unbearable to most, and you have the stupidity to compare what goes on in syria with what goes on in the US? You are just one of the corrupt Syrians, for sure.

 
At 1/03/2006 02:47:00 PM, Blogger ghassan said...

I am flabergated that so many are going out of their way to point out that Mr. Khaddam had an unsavoury past. There is nothing new in this. What is important at this juncture is the incriminating evidence that Mr. Khaddam has supplied. The fact that a partner in crime has decided to turn into state evidence does not erradicate the history of the partner in crime but it sure helps the state nail the other criminals that have always pleaded innocent.

Any prosecutor , that is worth his salt, would welcome the opportunity of bolstering the states, case through a deffection of an ex partner in crime.

Let us keep our eyes on what matters. How to convict those that have committed egregious crimes against the nation and not whether the wittness had an unsaintly past.

 
At 1/03/2006 02:51:00 PM, Blogger Lebanese Pride said...

FUCK YOU JOSHUA LANDIS THE PRO SYRIAN FAGGOT! AND FUCK BASHAR THAT FUCKIN MONKEY AND FUCK ALLLLL YOU SYRIANS! YES, ALL YOU FILTHY,DIRTY, LOW LIFE, SYRIAN RATS! YOUR DAY IS COMING, SOON!! MOOOOOOO??!! LOL, U FUCKIN IDIOTS!!

FUCK SYRIA!!!!!!!

LONG LIVE LEBANON!

 
At 1/03/2006 03:00:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Lebanese Pride?

Does that have any thing to do with the Western "pride" movement?

Your language speaks a lot about you. Do not claim you are Lebanese for you give them a dirty name that I do not wish for them..Please.

 
At 1/03/2006 03:01:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

This is wonderful stuff! Thanks Idaf for this excellent writing and analysis.

This is offering us clear water to drink, not muddy or clouded like so much that is said about Syria.

Come on - keep it coming, keep it coming.

To repeat what I wrote a couple of days ago:

There are obviously many rich veins of information to be mined and processed out there. Syria at this moment desperately needs detailed fact-gathering, sharp analysis and exposure of truth by competent people who care.

 
At 1/03/2006 03:02:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

Lebanese Pride are u moukhabarat baathist agent?

 
At 1/03/2006 03:36:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Thank you America for coming to the Middle East. We know that you are here to serve your own interests. We know that this includes the security of the State of Israel, which makes every single Arab national hates you. Your reasons for coming here “may” have included the fact that you have become worried and scared to see the Arab masses join the ranks of the unemployed and the disenchanted. We all know that before 09/11 you really could not care less if 95% of us were unemployed. You now realize that the Arab world cannot be left to its own devises. You cannot go on any longer ignoring that it is falling into the abyss. Whatever your motivations are (the vast majority is convinced that you mean us harm), your arrival in the region has opened a can of worms. The main beneficiaries are going to be the masses while the main losers are going to be their leaders. The gulf between the two groups has reached uncharted territory. It is not a coincidence that since your armies arrived, changes are starting to take place at a breathtaking speed. For 40 years, no one would have dared mention Assad, Khaddam, Tlas, Makhlouf or Douba in public. Now, anybody and everybody is fair game. Are we still way behind your Washington D.C., Paris or London? You bet. But the genie is out of the bottle. Accountability is slowly becoming within reach. It is now inconceivable for our region to go back to its old ways. We have begun to turn our sinking ship around.

In the meantime, all we are doing here is shooting the messenger. Perhaps he should be shot. But Khaddam’s misdeeds don’t exonerate Bashar’s possible incrimination. Prosecutors do make deals with the devil to convict their suspects. In sum, the U.N. investigation is NOT about Khaddam’s networth. It is about finding Harriri’s killers.

 
At 1/03/2006 03:50:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Here’s a rich fantasy – Syrians one day get to see pictures of these guys in their underpants washing their socks in prison like the vicious thug who used to run Iraq.

We will see how they crumple like pricked hot air balloons, these flabby pimps, with no inner dignity and strength like their Dasmacus Spring victims and others.

My favorite comment on Saddam’s trial is from an Iraqi woman journalist (who is also strongly anti-American) who was terrified of him, and almost didn’t have the courage to enter the courtroom:

Excerpted from “He Scared Us For Decades, Now All I See Is A Skinny Old Man In A Cage” by Ali Hamdani in The Times (UK), 9 December 2005.

“I WAS told I would be only 30ft from Saddam Hussein, the closest I have ever been to the dictator who owned my life for three decades. But in the event, all I can see across the courtroom is a skinny old man sitting in a cage.

After five minutes I realised that this old man sitting in the defendants’ cage in front of me was not the person I used to hate. He is another person. The man I see looks completely different from that man who used to appear on TV in his army uniform, holding a pistol and shooting in the air as if he were aiming at creatures on another planet because he had got bored of killing Iraqis.

This man in the courtroom has to wait for his turn to talk, otherwise his mike will be turned off. Saddam never had to wait for his turn because it was his turn for decades, and there was no time for anyone else to say anything. It may look to outsiders as if he has taken control, shouting at the judge. But up close you can see desperation in his eyes.

Iraq’s main problem wasn’t simple enough to be about one man called Saddam. It wasn’t just about this old man sitting in his cage. It was about an entire regime, an international community turning a blind eye to things that fit with its strategies.”

 
At 1/03/2006 03:59:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

""""In sum, the U.N. investigation is NOT about Khaddam’s networth. It is about finding Harriri’s killers.""""



Is that so?

Why the killing of Hariri is so important, mr. Ehsani2?

How come others were killed even after him were not important?

Is this struggle really about finding who killed the fucking Hariri?

Though I love Hariri, but all of thois is making me hate him. He was a good man. HE was a great man, and he was a crook, certainly to have all of that money from nothing..., but he was a democrat, and that is why I liked him.


Yet, the struggle seems to me between those who want the old dhaurd in Syria to come back, and those who defeated them...

yet, it seems that whoever killed Hariri achieved the results that they desired, and the Old Guard might be coming to Syria to pollute the Syrian minds again.

It is a mafia struggle, exactly as the analysis above, and yet, you and posters like you think you are defending the poor Syrians who have had their share of the cruelty of the old guard, and they should not be exposed to their rules ever again.



Thank you

 
At 1/03/2006 04:01:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

correction...

Yet, the struggle seems to me between those who want the old guard in Syria to come back, and those who defeated them

 
At 1/03/2006 04:12:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I had thought long ago, in line with what SSRPS suggested here, that being in the UN is a liability. Signing all of these treaties that your enemmies do not sign or abuse and are not punished is enough to make belonging to the UN a shame. i.e, the nuclear non proliferation treaty, where only Israel is allowed not to be questioned about what it has or its intentions. i.e, the assassination by Israel, and even by America of their political opponents using what they called spyplanes and sending missiles to kill, not only the one they want to assassinate, but their families and the so called "collateral" damage, others who are nearby...without expressing a regret or paying these collateral damages any penny.., ie. going to Panama and killing 3000 people to get its president, not as a prisonner of war, but to put him on trial as a drug merchant inside the US land. This is all civilized, and according to International rules..., who are they kidding?


Those who would like to teach the peoples of the world about Justice, and about human rights and about International Laws should be first to apply what they preach.


Thank you

 
At 1/03/2006 04:37:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

It's been said that the Hariri inquiry is important because it's giving the Syrian regime its first ever taste of the rule of law.

Maybe it is not so important whose rule and whose law but that they start experiencing something like this. See how it fuels public fights within that pack of dogs!

My fantasy posted above will probably remain a fantasy. This is because the inner dignity and strength of the victimised critics of the Asad regime will mean they won't bother to burn up fuel seeking revenge.

 
At 1/03/2006 04:59:00 PM, Blogger Lebanese Pride said...

FUCK SYRIA! AND ALL SYRIANS! OH AND JOSHUA LANDIS THE PRO FUCKIN SYRIAN!

 
At 1/03/2006 05:19:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Poor Lebanese pride is in pain. He really wants to talk normal but the dirty broken CD in his brain is stopping him.

Can anyone tell him him a way to turn it off and stop his suffering?

 
At 1/03/2006 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Lebanese Pride said...

DAMN FUCKIN SYRIANS! ASSAD IS GOING TO GET FUCKED BY THE UN AND USA SOON, ENJOY!!...HAHAHA

LEBANON FOREVER!

 
At 1/03/2006 05:43:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Your name, or the one you chose to use, mr. LP, in addition to your lamguage indicate you are eager to find some one to do it with you. Here is a discussion about Syria. Kuwaitis and Saudis don't come here, so, please find their sites. Some one among them might satisfy you. Syrians or Lebanese are less known for that. You have a better chance there.

 
At 1/03/2006 05:43:00 PM, Blogger ghassan said...

It is people like Lebanese pride who insist on abusing their freedom that will ultimately deprive all of us of our freedoms. The more Lebanese Pride and his ilk continue to post their hate and dribble the mor that Blog owners like Mr. Landis will be forced to restrict access. What a shame.
Electronic bulletin boards have always been one of the best examples of Hardins' "Tragedy of the Commons".
I hope that LrbanesePride would see the error of his ways and will not insist on punishing others for his childish , immature transgressions.

 
At 1/03/2006 05:59:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

"Lebanese Pride", "Gay Pride", it's all the same...

Man, someone should really make a movie about the Syrian regime; it seems Barzani has left the Corleones, given their dwindling fame, to join the Tataglias. What is Michael going to do now?

 
At 1/03/2006 06:07:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

DB had a 180 degree turn.

Explain?

Is it the Syrian personality trait I spoke about before?"

Or is it even worse?

 
At 1/03/2006 07:40:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1/03/2006 07:58:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

ALi Duba is the dirtiest creature that has ever existed in Syria.

Hopefully he has defected, but the news says that he left Damascus to an unknown location, probably London. That means that he was able to leave with the knowledge of the regime. I am hoping this regime is truly against Khadam, Ali Duba, and their ilks.

If this regime is really struggling against such creatures, then perhaps, Bashar is a clean man.



We shall see, and all will depend on what will go on soon...especially the Damscus Spring prisoners.


JAM

 
At 1/03/2006 08:16:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

It seems history or time works in a magic way; is it possible that there is going to be an alliance between the following odds:

- Khadam, Ali Duba, Rifaat Assad, Shehabi?


I hope the Syrian people will crush them if they ever attempt to return.


JAM

 
At 1/03/2006 08:23:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Oh, an dI forgot to add that the above are negotiating with the MBs in London now to achieve a working plan.

 
At 1/03/2006 09:29:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1/03/2006 09:32:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

All the corruption data mentioned in this comment are well known and documented. It is all history, past tense. The most striking comment made in this article is this:

“The possibility that the Syrian regime is involved in killing Hariri does not take away the fact that most Syrians (in and outside Syria) are seeing the whole Hariri and aftermath as a huge threat to their economy, their rights in the Golan, their security and their country as whole. The reason for the Syrian people view is because international and regional parties are itching to gain on Syria's expense in the current turmoil.”

YES, Syrians now feel the threat and that they have nothing to gain from the world’s vulture and Neo-con artists and everything to loose. This is really the part that will be shaping the present and future of Syrian affairs.

I don’t know if Khaddam calculated this right. My feeling is he did not. He and his backers made serious miscalculation. Neither he alone or with inside help from within the Syrian armed forces are capable of militarily moving against President Assad. Nor he and other old-old Baathists like him added to the team will be able to win the Syrian people support or even acceptance.

Is this his idea! He is pretty smart, usually dumb moves like this one are concocted by armatures in the U.S. who rely on stereotypes and profiling, not intricate and minuet details of the subject matter. Sunni-Moslem regime to counter that of Shia controlled Iraq?? Why don’t you say the truth: American really fucked up in Iraq, now Iran in control, soon will have the bomb and they are threatening Israel. PFLP can easily run Jordan and “””voila””” Iran is on Israel boarder. So we must fix the problem and get Sunni regime in Syria, one that is loyal to America and a real puppet regime. This is all amateur Pentagon-VP office, Washingtonian style thinking. Will not work, here is why:

I will give you a simple example from my own personal file, which fit the files of most Syrians. Neither President Bashar Assad, nor Asef Shawkat or Maher Assad and their New-guards, did me personally or my family, the Aldandashi’s, any wrong whatsoever.

My personal grievances with President Assad are getting my family property back and being compensated for loss of income for all those years, a loss that was caused not by Asef or Bashar but directly by Khaddam and his old-old Guards (I mean before Hafez).

So now, Khaddam and family and all the cash are out of Syria and this gives me another avenue to go after him directly and his family assets to collect compensation and damages using the U.S. legal system and current U.S. laws that allows a U.S. citizen to seek compensation under U.S. jurisdiction.

My trouble with President Bashar, is not only getting the land back, but are on a National Interest level too. And thus, a priority list must be established. The number 1 priority for me and SSPRS and so as to the million of Syrians is for Bashar to hold Syria together, Don’t let it be chopped up and don’t depart with a single inch of it, as he did with Iskandarun and maybe tempted to do on the Golan. That simple.

Was very concerned about the 15.5 Billion investment in tourism on Mount Hermon and we studied this very carefully to evaluate if this was another of Dardari’s stunt talk, or some sell out deal with the Jewish Mafia Regime (the industrial espionage racketeering mafia regime) that is illegally occupying Southern Syria (Palestine). Thought they maybe the 15.5 Billion Dollar will be paid a Billion a year for the next 15 years, hence, according to Dardari’s statement, that the investment is spread out on 15 years. (maybe the Middlemen who striked the deal will take the remaining 500 Mil for commission.

Kinda of strange though. Here I am been deprived of visiting my country for nearly 33 years, deprived of my land and property for even longer period, deprived of income and revenue for the same time, never received a penny of compensation, and here I am offering my support to Syria and putting my highest priority on keeping it intact, even though that mean support for Bashar Assad.

On the other hand, here you have EX-Vice President (among dozen other titles) of Syria, one that not only served for all those horrifically degrading Baathists years, but in fact was the Architect of most of this 40 years period Socialist –Nationalization and land expropriation policies that caused so many Syrian so much grief, walking out to live in 40 Million Dollar Parisian mansion, having amassed an assets of over a Billion Dollar, and he is bitching on Arabia about the regime excesses, corruption and bla..bla..bla..

You see that President Assad? You need people of integrity and nobility like me around you to give you advise, so what if I was Aldendeshe, Throw Khaddam’s Stalinist terminologies and all the junk slogans. Get rid of those lousy ambassadors and officials. You need to start kick ass right when you see that they are of no good, don’t wait a decade until they kick you.

And for our Ultra Stalinist-Socialist-Baathist, Ultra anti-reformist, most ardent anti-capitalist, now enjoying spending his Billions in the Paris limelight, would you want to settle this compensation of mine (and possibly few thousands others) in court, or out of court. Remember, we are talking U.S. court, not your Baathist court that told me that my judgment can not be found because the rats in the filing room ate the file.


Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe
Syrian Republican Party
The Nationalist party that care about Syria first
Always ready to help Syria.
www.ssprs.com
ccc@ssprs.com

 
At 1/03/2006 09:33:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

JAM,

how did I turn 180 degrees? I always diliked the regime/mafia, and Khaddam's defection is just one of the mafia's men joining a different one.

As you know, Michael seemed like a good guy at first, but then he became ruthless and heartless, and he failed to bring his family back to its heyday.

 
At 1/03/2006 09:34:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1/03/2006 10:00:00 PM, Blogger Ghassan said...

One thing is missing from the analysis: Who killed Hariri, Hawi, Kaseer, Tueni, ...?

I think Bashar does not know what to do?

I believe that the Syrians deserve a better person to be their President! Don't tell me that from the 20 millions Syrians there is no ONE (JUST ONE) more qualified person to be president!

 
At 1/03/2006 10:08:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

old gang ,new gang..same objectives and goals.
What changed if rifaat is replaced by maher,duba by asef and hafez by bashar.It's btw the dreamed achievement for any hereditary dictatorship.
It's naive to think that asad triumvirate is able to introduce true political and economical reforms.
The syrian people are exhausted from oppression ,despotism and sectarism.

Radical change in Syria is needed.

 
At 1/03/2006 10:17:00 PM, Blogger I rather born Syrian or a dog said...

Ghassan, Why the hell you are asking us this question. What do we Syrians have to do with it, care about it, or do about it.

Why don't you forward you question to Annan and his committee, or the VERYYYYYYYYYYY silent U.S. State department and White House, or The Saudi who Hariri means something to them, or to the French who love these people. Dude, How many years of extention after extention, do these fuckers wants until Bashar say I quit... Here is the Golan, here is all my cash, here is the Eastern oil rich part of Syria, and here is all the Palestinians, kill them and put them in mass graves all, then you can go ahead and blame it on the Syrians. Here is my army take it and use it as shield in Iraq, I do not need it in the Golan anymore, since I gave that up too. Is that really extentions Systems or as you read and hear from all these mentioned countries officials "premeditated controlled prussure", "designed to get the desired results" "to weaken Assad" "to weaken Syria"
and so on and so forth.

Please go and forward your question to those that are in "Control" those who are holding all the keys and opining doors one after another.

 
At 1/03/2006 10:36:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

"""One thing is missing from the analysis: Who killed Hariri, Hawi, Kaseer, Tueni, ...?
"""


Ghassan; Only one of the above was worth the investigations according to the world we are depending on. Why only Hariri deserved all of this attention?

Certainly, the analysis above makes a good point. This is not only a Middle East Mafia story, it is a world Mafia story. Inspite of my personal admiration and love for Rafik Hariri seeing him debating in the Lebanese Parliment, I am starting to believe that the whole thing is money related. But money is everything, it is politics, and it is mafia, and it is all...in this world. It has always been so.


30 people died with Hariri himself, and no one even mentions their names. So is the case for the other names you have listed. Israel and the US assassinate people by sending missiles into peaceful homes across the world from the sky (spyplanes)to kill suspects, and to justify their barbaric actions they call the ones they killed, TERRORISTS, though others beside their targets are also killed, defying all norms, and international laws, and no one cares!

I am starting to get sick of this Hariri investigation. They over did it.

 
At 1/03/2006 11:39:00 PM, Blogger Alawites for Syria said...

Wonder where did JAM got his FEB 6 date. There may be truth to that date or a date between Feb 6 and March 14. That is the date range we estimate for U.S. bombing campaign to start against Syria, according to Turkish leaks. Before it moves on to Iran.

That secret meeting in Germany last month between the U.S., MB and Syrian offcials headed by Khaddam could be the start of a plan. The CIA head vist to Turkey and the recent defection of Ali Douba (who is reputed that is back in Syria, organizing clandestinely) among other top secret signals, starts to make sence and give shape to a cohesive plan to unfold on Bashar between Feb 6 and March 14. Can't say much, but do have much more details
that makes me feel that it may work. Or this whole thing is nothing more than elaborate pressure campaign to get something from Bashar, only he and the U.S. seams to know what it is.

He should stand up, like he stood up at the Univversity and CNN and tell the world everything, rather than keep it under secrecy.

 
At 1/03/2006 11:54:00 PM, Blogger annie said...

idaf suggests : "installing some of Damascus spring prisoners as ministers in the upcoming government change!"

What an good idea !

 
At 1/04/2006 02:59:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Unrealistic in my opinion even though its a great idee. the thing is, these people have a conviction that will not be bought by a cosmetic position. and i really doubt that the government will allow these people to take over any sensitive positions so i doubt that would work. i wonder when the next government reshuffle will come? and when will Al Shara3 resign?

 
At 1/04/2006 04:58:00 AM, Blogger roby137 said...

The author of the letter on the home page cant see the writing on the wall - he talks about bashar and liberal members of parliament coming to the rescue of Syria through reform of the corrupt system. I think Bashar, the parliament and people in general are feeling petrified and paralyzed. The author of the letter says "reform" - I say their will indeed be a cold day in hell before there is any chance of that

 
At 1/04/2006 07:42:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I think Bashar should make a long speach to tell the people all the story, and the people will stand with him. (I agree with Afs on that point).

Will he have the courage to do so?



No wonder there is a lot of barking against the regime. It is a financial thing after all. Those whose Mafia Network was touched by the Bashar wing have power to bark, unlike the real victims of the regime (during the 35 years) whose voices were kept secret by the same media outlets that is crying now for "reform", and "justice"...etc..

 
At 1/04/2006 08:39:00 AM, Blogger Abu Arab said...

There is somthing that's not clear in Idaf article. He is trying to differentiate between Khaddam and the other old guards, like Tlas, Duba etc..in a sense that they all left their offices peacfully except Khaddam.

In fact they all left because they are expired (age) but they have left their sons to replace them (new guards), and logically Khaddam should do the same but he didn't. Why?

The Syrian leadership felt that Khaddam, more than Kanan, is a real threat not because he is a corrupt but because he could be a real substitute. He is Muslim Sunni, clever politians and expert and will bring syria back to the political map as it used to be during Assad senior but with more freedom and economical reforms.

More important, he is an expert in the Lebanese affair and its complications.

He is now selling his goods, but would the french & the Americans, Arab leaders and more importantly the Syrian people buy it? Only time can tell.

 
At 1/04/2006 08:56:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

""""The Syrian leadership felt that Khaddam, more than Kanan, is a real threat not because he is a corrupt but because he could be a real substitute""""


In that case, they should have killed him instead of killing Kanaan. (logical conclusion, no?)
.


Then, yes, Ab Arab brought a very good point: The new guard is made up of the Sons of the old guard.

What an awful Syria that savage Hafez Assad created. Curse him in his grave!

 
At 1/04/2006 08:57:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

.

 
At 1/04/2006 10:09:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Kuwait's as-Seyassah daily reported Wednesday that former Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam was working towards forming a government-in-exile after he spoke out against the Syrian regime in a televised interview from Paris. The pro-government paper quoted unidentified sources close to Khaddam as saying he has started consulting with former Syrian military officers who had defected to "end the bad situation, of which (President Bashar) Assad is responsible." It said the former officers accused Assad of having "abandoned them and took unilateral control of power along with his brother Maher and brother-in-law, Asef Shawkat." The sources told the Kuwaiti daily the government-in-exile would bring Khaddam to a leadership role in a transitional period in which "a democratic, pluralistic and modern system will be set up." They said this system would respect human rights and draw up a new constitution calling for free general elections "for a democratic parliament and government." They added that a new president will be elected by the people for a four or six-year term.
http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/view.php?StoryID=20060104-073510-5230r

This makes it even more difficult to take anything he said in the al-Arabiya interview at face value.

 
At 1/04/2006 01:43:00 PM, Blogger YM said...

Pity the syrian nation if they substitute Khaddam for Bachar..and subsequently further pity on Lebanon..
This is starting to look more like "Plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose".. I think the mafiosi who have been running syria for the last 3 or 4 decades are out of control and now have access to worldwide media to tell their interpretation of the story, or at least the 2 cents they wish to share with the world. It is indeed getting too complicated. Here in Lebanon hope for a clean re-build of a shattered country are dwindling. Despite years of "expereince" with tragedy, bombings, kidnappings and premature deaths, the recent sequence of assassinations since Hariri and companions' death have demoralized the population. Add to this the continued interference of bashar's cronies on hizballa's side and you have a pretty much unsolvable riddle. It would be quite a tragic loss if Lebanon and Syria cannot take advantage of the current events and of the discord among the mafiosi, in order to take control of their own countries and secure a better future for their children. The Syrian people need to get their voices heard, louder and clearer. They also need to refrain from getting carried away with the neo nationalist propaganda promulgated by Bachar and that is spreading hate of the LEbanese in Syria. Ordinary law-abiding citizens of Syria are not enemies of the LEbanese, but they need to acknowledge the horrors perpetuated by their government and their soldiers in Lebanon. They might then better understand our perspective. Similarly the LEbanese are aware of corruption in their own government, and their insistence on solving the "Hariri" problem is not because they think of Hariri as a saint to be anointed, but itis simply and machiavelically, because only his murder has attracted international interest.. SYrians must also realize that large numbers of LEbanese continue to rot unjustly in their prisons with no glimmer of hope in sight.. Enough is enough. The syrians must gather enough courage to finally say NO instead of debating which corrupt tyrant is less corrupt than the other..

 
At 1/04/2006 02:17:00 PM, Blogger Freedom For Syria said...

Some fucking ideot YM above said:
"Ordinary law-abiding citizens of Syria are not enemies of the LEbanese, but they need to acknowledge the horrors perpetuated by their government and their soldiers in Lebanon. They might then better understand our perspective".

YM asshole and all other Dumb Lebanese geeks like you, listen here. First of all it is not our government, we never voted or elected any of them. And we never would. Second of all, These are your fucking people taht abused you, it was your fucking, Ultra corrupt Hariri and his clowns the Saudis and other Lebanses shit that made these people that you are bitching about RICH and POWERFUL.

Before you ask the Syrians for appologies, why you mother fucker don't ask Hariri, Junblat, Aoun, Berri, Hizbullah, Karami, Frenjeyei and the Maronite to appologize for empowering this government on them and for Hariri's and otehrs making them so rich and poweful to rule us illigally with an iron fist.

You want the Syrians to appologize to the Lebanese fuckers. You bet it is coming. Be ready for it.

 
At 1/04/2006 03:02:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Khaddam betrayed the regime not the syrian people, he is not a clean man himself, the best thing now is that Bashar admit the truth, which he may not do this, quit the presidency, he did not rise through overcoming several hard obstacles, he was given the presidency on a silver plate, his better step is to release political prisoners,run new election, honest one, I am sure the syrian people will forgive him, especially if he return the stolen money,back to the syrians, he needs to support the resistance in Iraq, he needs to improve economic cooperation between syia and lebanon, and support the deplomatic dialog, he needs to come back to the mainstream syrian people, we love freedom democrasy,

 
At 1/04/2006 03:10:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

there are comments in this blog, indicate that the writers are traitors, or not stable mentally, and they dont love syria, those who wish america occupy syria, or those who said real unethical words,those comments are disgusting and should not appear in this blog, and quickly deleted, it is a shame they write frequently , too, as soon as I see the name I ignore what they wrote.

 
At 1/04/2006 03:14:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

YM and Freedom for Syria are both right.

It's been a violent, mercenary and sordidly dysfunctional marriage(the "leaders") where the hostage bystanders (citizens of both countries)have suffered terribly.

The victims of this sick partnership need to recognise their joint suffering and common cause, stare them down, reject criminal power and start afresh.

 
At 1/04/2006 03:22:00 PM, Blogger Alawites for Syria said...

I do see the disgusting comment and words noted by majedkhaldoon,
YM poster should have never used this kind of disgusting and foul language. Please stop thi kind of bad language posts. I am skipping over your comment too.

Now, majedkhaldoon. could not find any comment here advocatig invasion by U.S. could you point it out for us by whome and some excerpt please.

 
At 1/04/2006 03:27:00 PM, Blogger Komran said...

I call for US occupation / Liberation of Syria asap.

Please invade. Khadam and I are waiting for the US tanks.

PS: I am a traitor, but a proud one.

 
At 1/04/2006 03:32:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

majedkhaldoon, about your comments on some of the other commentators on the forum - you are discovering what freedom and democracy feels like!

You are free to ignore or debate them, but if you want them deleted you have to accept that your own comments also should be open to deletion.

That's how it works. Can you live with it?

 
At 1/04/2006 03:34:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalism Eternally said...

Oh Komran, I share your enthusiasm for that U.S. occupation / Liberation by the millions. As long as they are all unarmed, natural blonds and under 26 and have a pussy between their legs.

 
At 1/04/2006 03:51:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

majedkhaldoon, even crude silly schoolboys are allowed to talk their talk in democracies, but they usually throw out comments like komran and syrian nationalism above only when they are confident they won't be heard and their identity recognised by anyone who matters.

 
At 1/04/2006 04:48:00 PM, Blogger orwellG said...

One comment: Thank you Bashar for ousting Khaddam !! Every totalitarian regime needs an eternal enemy (Israel?) and its traitor(s) (Joumblatt and Hariri ?). All that the Syrian regime needed was a nemesis for Bashar. Now we have Khaddam - Aka darth vador!
I’ve been told that 1984 is Bashar’s bedtime story. Now I’m sure.
One last comment about the “old guard/new guard” Janus-like myth: read one of Samir Kassir’s last articles about the subject – yeah he was a Lebanese Mafiosi and a warlord too – It’s interesting because it got him killed.
Orwell G.

 
At 1/04/2006 05:34:00 PM, Blogger zadigvoltaire said...

The Assads (they top the list of killers), Jumblatts, Geagea, Aoun, Berri and of course Sharon and their cohorts are all war criminals that should be prosecuted and locked away for a very long time.

They have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands over the years.
Today these billionaire princes are destroying the future of tens of millions of young people.

They do not care about creating opportunity and wealth. They do not care about employment, education and health.

They care about their wealth and their power. They do not care about your average Mohammed, Ali or Elie.

They want power at any price.

The people should stop believing their excuses. They do not care about the Palestinians, they do not care about freedom or social reform, they do not care about the innocents that died alongside the politicians and political activists in Lebanon.

They care about keeping or grabbing power.

Enough of those murderers. We want philospher kings or rather business kings for rulers. We want the likes of Mohammed Bin Rashed of Dubai.

We do not want illuminated crazies like Bin Laden or Ahmadinijad or like the Likudniks in Israel.

We want peace and prosperity.

We are sick and tired of politics and violent death.

We just want to live a normal life and dream of a better tomorrow.

 
At 1/04/2006 11:43:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Zadigvoltaire, you said it better than anyone!

I hope you will re-post these words in later threads. They are worth more than pages of debate.

 
At 1/06/2006 09:04:00 AM, Blogger Lira = 1500 said...

I have 3 questions to ask to the Syrian posters on this blog, namely JAM, Ehsani, Innocent Criminal, Active Listener and Metaz:

1.How do you feel about Assef Shawkat handling your intelligence service?

2. What do you think of Maher Al Assad at the head of the Republican Guard?

3. What is your opinion of Rami Makhlouf?

Knowing that Bashar Al Assad and those three individuals are ONE.

 
At 1/06/2006 03:19:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Is this a trick question? I have frequently commented on these individuals. You are right that the group and Bashar is ONE

 

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