Sunday, February 12, 2006

The New Syrian Cabinet (Feb. 11, 2006)

The New Government Members
In all, the reshuffle brought in 15 new ministers to the 34-member Cabinet. Here are some of the changes. See the comments of Idaf, who claims the reshuffle brings experience and qualified people to the cabinet. Ihasani argues that the Regional Command of the Baath and presidential family are the real powers in the government so we cannot read anything positive into cabinet changes.

Mr. Farouk al-Shara the new vice-President:
-Mr. al-Shara was born in Dera’a Province 1938.
-He got a university degree – Faculty of English Literature – Damascus University in 1963.
-Studied the International Law at London University 1971-1972
-Worked at the Syrian Airlines from 1963-1972 as a senior official.
-Syria’s ambassador to Italy 1976-1980.
-In 1980 he was elected Member of the Central Committee of al-Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party.
-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs from 1980-1983.
-In 1983 he was appointed Foreign Minister.
-In 2000 he was elected as Member of the Regional Leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party.
-In 24 Dec. 2001 he was appointed as Deputy prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
-Mr. Shara was assigned as personal envoy of the late President Hafez al-Assad to leaders of several Arab and foreign countries. He was also assigned to represent Syria in several Arab, Islamic and international conferences.
-He was appointed again as Foreign Minister on 18 Sep. 2003
-Married, with two sons.

Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Ottri:
-The prime Minister, Eng. Mohammad Naji Ottri, was born in Aleppo in 1944.
-Got University Degree in Architecture Engineering in 1967, and then Diploma in City Planning from the Netherlands. In 1972.
-Member of the Union of Syrian Engineers- Aleppo Branch from 1975-1979
-Member of Aleppo City Council 1976-1980
-Aleppo Mayor 1983-1987
-Head of Union of Syrian Engineers- Aleppo Branch 1989-1993
-Homs Governor 26 Dec. 1993
-Deputy Prime Minister for Services Affairs 2000-2003
-Speaker of the People's Assembly on 26 March 2003
-Prime Minister on 18 Sep. 2003
-An active member of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party since 1970
-Member of the Regional Leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party
-Member of the Central leadership of the National Progressive Front.
-The Cabinet was first reshuffled under his chairmanship on 4 Nov. 2004
-Took part in many Arab, international state, engineering and trade union meetings in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, Morocco, Jordan, Libya, UAE, Tunisia, Lebanon, Spain, the Netherlands, Czech, Pakistan, Bulgaria and Chile.
-Married, four children.

Deputy PM for Economic Affairs Abdullah al-Dardari
-Appointed as Head of the State Planning Commission since Dec. 2003
-Elected as Assistant Resident Representative of the UNDP in Syria
-Married, with three children.

New Interior Minister Gen. Bassam Abdul Majid
-Born in Bir Ajam town, Quneitra Province in 1950
-Graduate of the Air Force Academy in 1970
-Occupied several military and security posts, the latest of which was Commander of the Military Police since 1 January 2003
-Married, with three children.

Political analyst Imad Sara said, "A new interior minister shows the intention of a continued control of the security branch in a bid to maintain internal stability and prevent disturbances and riots in a complex and sensitive situation."
New Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallim-Born in Damascus in 1941.
-Studied in public schools from 1948-1960 where ho got the Secondary School Certificate
-Studied at al-Azhar University in Egypt, and graduated with a University Degree in Economics.
-In 1964 he worked at the Foreign Ministry and served in the Syrian missions in Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Spain and England.
-In 1975 he was appointed Ambassador in Romania until 1980.
-Director of Documentation, Translation Department at the Foreign Ministry from 1980-1984
-Director of the Special Offices Department at the Foreign Ministry from 1984-1990
-Appointed Ambassador to the USA from 1990-1999
-Appointed as Assistant Foreign Minister in early 2000
-Appointed as Deputy Foreign Minister according to the Decree number 8 for the year 2005
-Took part in the Syrian-Israeli peace talks from 1991-1999
-Married, with four sons.
- Wrote four books:
1- Palestine and Armed Struggle- 1970
2- Syria under mandate
3- Syria from Independence to Merger Unity
4- The World and the Middle East from American Perspective

New Information Minister Dr. Mohsen Bilal-Dr. Mohsen Bilal was born in the village of Burghalieh, Tartous Province in 1944.
-Received elementary, preparatory and secondary studies in the Province Schools.
-Studied Medicine at the Italian University of Padua, and graduated from it in 1970.
-Specialized in the field of surgery in Italy in 1976, and continued high studies in the USA where he got PH.D in medicine and surgery from Pennsylvania University, Liver Implant specialization.
-Head of Surgery Section at Damascus University and al-Assad University Hospital.
-Elected to the People's Assembly (Parliament) in 1977 and from 1981-1985 where he was named Chairman of the Arab and Foreign Affairs Committee.
-Elected Advisor to the federation FEARAB America and the Anti Discrimination Committee in America.
-He was accorded with the Medal of the Italian Republic by former Italian President Sandro Pertini.
-He was also accorded with the Medal of the French Republic from former French president François Mitterrand.
-Appointed as Syria's Ambassador to Spian in 2001 until he was appointed Minister of Information.
-Speaks English, Italian and Spanish fluently.

Six posts related to the economic sphere such as key posts of finance minister and economy and trade minister remained unchanged.
"The readjustment in the strategic ministries of oil, electricity, transport and telecommunication shows that the authorities was resolved to expedite the economic development to deal with severe challenges," said a diplomat here, who asked not to be named.

Syria's UN envoy Faisal Mekdad was named deputy foreign minister.

Majed Khaldoun writes: Zyad Ayoubi, Minister of Religious Affairs, "is the best choice; he is very powerful; he is behind the islamist rise in Syria, and has strong influence on T.V. and radio. He always has new ideas, very nice personality, and has strong connections with the wealthy Damascus people, his base is a mosque in western Abu Rummaneh, Anis bin Mali mosque.

Idaf writes: Raid Nissan Aghast - the new culture affairs minister (ex-ambassador to the UAE) is one of the few outspoken Syrian diplomats.. he's definitely one of the bravest. He often admits the many mistakes committed by the regime publicly in media outlets and propose really good solutions shaped as suggestions. He was definitely the first Syrian official to have a live debate on a talk show with a Syrian opposition figure (Al-Jazeera, 2003).

Amr Salem - the new ICT minister: He is a PhD and an ex-director in Microsoft in the US. He also established the Syrian Computer Society back in 1989. He came back from the US few months ago and became the ICT advisor to Bashar.. less than a week after that, internet video and voice chat was allowed in Syria for the first time and all the blocked internet protocols were permitted silently. The young and tech-savvy Syrians like him a lot. More technocrats and diplomats in the government and less Baathi fossils... I don't know about you guys but I can only see good in that!


At 2/12/2006 10:18:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Dr. Landis,

Let us set the record straight:

Dardari did attend neither the London School Of Economics (LSE) nor the University of Southern California. We were led to believe that these are the schools he attended.

His Education is:

Ms in International Relations – University of South COLUMBIA
High Education in London INSTITUTE for Economy and political Sciences

Having graduated from such obscure institutions, his occupations were:

1988-1989 worked for Al Hayat (UK)
1989-1993 Al Hayat newspaper correspondent in Damascus
1993-1997 UNDP advisor in Syria
1989-201 Arab Monetary Fund (UAE)
2001-2003 UNDP Advisor in Syria
2004 Director of State Planning commission
2005 Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs

Anyone who is interested in reading the CV’s of the new Syrian cabinet can have this pleasure by visiting:

On second thought, you probably don’t want to depress yourself. Please look up Dardari’s university of south Columbia as an example. Please do not confuse the great LSE with a high degree from some institute that no one has ever heard of. Do you think an LSE graduate would join Al Hayat with a title of “worked for ...Al Hayat”? This is the person entrusted with the economic affairs of 20 million people. He is not alone. I encourage you all to click on every single person’s name in my link above. A large number do not have any education to list. Our Brilliant Minister of Finance has a fine PhD in economics from the superb schools of Romania.

Depressing & demoralizing

At 2/12/2006 11:20:00 AM, Blogger JoseyWales said...

Mr. Farouk al-Shara the new vice-President.

Yep, thank God we all waited. Wonderful reform and change is just, but just, around the corner. It's coming, let's all be patient in Syria and in Lebanon.

A little more work from Farouk, and Syria's friends will dwindle, from one to none.

Congratulations Josh and Bashar.

At 2/12/2006 11:55:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Regarding the division of labor between Sharaa and Al-Muaalem, please note that the latter worked in Sharaa's office for years. The newly appointed Mekdad is also Sharaa's man. Incidentally, so is the new Information minister who reported to him too. To suggest that Sharaa has been pushed aside and that Al-Muaalem is an independent thinker who will chart a new foreign policy course is naive at best. Then again, does it really matter? Does anyone think anyone of these individuals can make a single unilateral decision on his own?

At 2/12/2006 12:53:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...


why do you keep posting information that is obviously wrong? ActiveListener already gave the correct information in an earlier thread on this very site and you participated in that discussion.

University of South Carolina, Columbia (USC)

University of Southern California (USC)

Surprise, surprise...

"Abdullah graduated from Richmond in December, 1985 with a BA degree in Economics. He went on to get his MA at the University of Southern California."

"He is doing a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies at Exeter
University on ‘Trade Liberalization impact on Poverty in Syria’."
Richmond Newsletter, Spring 2002

At 2/12/2006 01:08:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Then I stand corrected. The link I provided above is where I got the information from. I am not posting wrong information on purpose.

At 2/12/2006 01:15:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

At 2/12/2006 01:46:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

More quotes from Khaddam's Gulf News interview:

"We are working on consolidating cooperation among different opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood," the former top official was quoted as saying in Gulf News.

Khaddam added that he would use the international pressure on Syria to help overthrow the regime. "There is no way to reform the regime from inside the country. Bashar is acting like someone who owns a farm and wants to manage it by himself," he said about the Syrian president.

At 2/12/2006 02:16:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Education aside, Dardari has had a bizarre whirlwind career trajectory to suddenly end up where he is.

I remember the previous posters had some depressing comments to make on the weakness of the UNDP Adviser role (his main career).

But I guess to Bashar with his skinny CV it looks impressive.

(On the education, I don't know about this Richmond University in London - it sure isn't the LSE. And the Richmond newsletter writer may have been told USC and drawn their own conclusions)

At 2/12/2006 02:25:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

قياديون بعثيون : الحزب طلق الوصائية وسيبقى قائدا للدولة والمجتمع

الفيصل: مادام حزب البعث له ثقة بأن الأكثرية معه، فلا داعي لأن يأتي للسلطة بقرا

At 2/12/2006 02:43:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

“Baath will continue to lead the state and the society due to the internal and external conditions that Syria is experiencing at the moment. This is to protect the interest of the country”.

So long as this article 8 of the constitution remains in place, you can continue to kiss the future of this country goodbye.

This is a hopeless case and a complete waste of time.

At 2/12/2006 02:47:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Dr Landis,

I have this question for you:

Do you know how many countries in the world restrict the leadership of the "state and society" to one single political party?

If anyone else knows the answer, I would love to hear it.

At 2/12/2006 04:46:00 PM, Blogger O.D.M said...

This isn't changing anything. Policies won't chanfe, stupidity won't change.

draat 3al blaat..

At 2/12/2006 04:47:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Walid Jumblatt suddenly discovers that the Shebaa Farms belong to Syria and that this was yet another reason for the killing of Rafik Hariri (!) :

"Jumblatt again stressed that the Shebaa Farms is not Lebanese but in fact Syrian and that Syria had altered the maps pushing the borderline to show that Shebaa Farms is Lebanese and this way Hizbullah's resistance to the Israeli occupation of a supposedly Lebanese territory would be justified.

Jumblatt displayed a Lebanese Army map dating back to 1962, which he said clearly shows the Shebaa Farms outside Lebanese borders, Jumblatt added that the imprisoned former chief of Lebanese General Security, Jamil Sayyed, had given him a map in 2001 on which changes had been made to the original map, putting Shebaa Farms in Lebanon. ...

Jumblatt continued that Hariri "was not convinced of the 2001 forged map and that is one of the reasons why he was assassinated."
The Daily Star

Can you believe it?

At 2/12/2006 04:51:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Franco did it Spain and China is doing it now ,the problem is not the politecal system it is the economic one ,Syria needs to organize the economy on a free market base,that is were the Baath party went wrong,now they are trying to change but worry about hurting the poor in the trasition.

At 2/12/2006 05:45:00 PM, Blogger why-discuss said...

Jumblatt continues to try to get some attention as his role in the Lebanese politics is dwingling. He now plays Sherlock Holmes, taking our cards after cards from his pocket to pin down Syria. Time plays against him because if Hariri joins Hezb and Aoun in their coalition and work to rebuild relations with Syria, Jumblatt will find himself in the cold. This is why he will try all he can to sabotage any future deal among these 3 men.
Time will tell....

At 2/12/2006 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Abazayd said...

For those of you who are dreaming of establishing a political party after the issuance of the long awaited so called "Parties law", here it is:

Enjoy your new freedom!

At 2/12/2006 06:30:00 PM, Blogger Abazayd said...

I liked one particular item in this law, and that concerns Josh's son if he ever will want to establish or join a Syrian political party: He simply is forbiden to do so, by the law. Show me another law in the whole world as decriminatory as those the Arabs make?

لا يجوز للأجانب أن يؤلفوا أحزابا داخل سورية ومن أب سوري أو أن ينضموا إلى حزب سوري أو يقبلوا فيه.

At 2/12/2006 07:36:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/12/2006 07:51:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Tim Butcher, Middle East correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, never heard of Hussam Taher Hussam. He writes:

" Japanese forensic investigators were able to trace the vehicle to Syria where it was last seen being driven by a Syrian colonel across the border into Lebanon three weeks before the blast."
"Filed: 13/02/2006"

Yes, it was the mysterious "masked witness" who made that claim (cf. the first Mehlis report, §96-98).

As we all know, Hussam became famous when he recanted his testimony publicly on Syrian TV, but Mr. Butcher seems to have missed that. How embarrassing.

At 2/13/2006 03:47:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"Mr. Farouk al-Shara the new vice-President."

Rejoice people! A glorious future awaits Syria!

OK, that was mean, I apologize.

At 2/13/2006 03:50:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"Walid Jumblatt suddenly discovers that the Shebaa Farms belong to Syria and that this was yet another reason for the killing of Rafik Hariri (!) :"

In the name of the Lebanese people, I would like to offer the Shebaa farms to sisterly Syria, in exchange for all the sacrifices that the Syrian people made for Lebanon and for the loss of the Golan.

No need to thank us. This barely repays our eternal debt to you.

At 2/13/2006 09:05:00 AM, Blogger Idaf said...


You stand corrected again.. The website you're using as a reference is badly translating from Arabic to English what is an English name in the first place! Miserable research by them!

There is no such thing in the world as the "London Institute of Economy and Political Science" try googling it and you'll only get your website! It's most likely is LSE badly re-translated from Arabic in that website.

At 2/13/2006 09:38:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I did try, and like you found nothing on this Institute. Also, what is High Education? My hunch is that it is not LSE. If it were, one would have thought that an employer other than Al-Hayat would have stepped up to hire the young man. I would love to be proven wrong of course. If you can prove that he attended the LSE, I would indeed stand to be corrected and would hope that Mr. Dardari would accept my apologies. Not to brag, but I did decline an offer to join the LSE when I attended Graduate school years ago (chose another school instead).

On a different note, Syria is aware of the type of sanctions that are likely to be imposed on it soon and hence their decision to start using the Euro as the currency for its international trade. Each ministry and state-owned business, which has a Dollar allocation in the budget it uses to finance imports, services and reimburse loans, will be converted to Euros. All new exports of goods and services will also start to be billed in Euros.

At 2/13/2006 10:36:00 AM, Blogger ugarit said...

الحزب القومي الاجتماعي السوري في الحكومة لاول مرة في تاريخ البلاد

سويد: حزبنا شريك استراتيجي للدكتور بشار الأسد في المقاومة والمشروع النهضوي
محلل سياسي: القومي السوري ضمانة كبيرة للعلمانية في سوريا وخروجه للنور تحديا له
اعتبر وزير الدولة عن الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي جوزيف سويد ان انتقاءه من بين اسماء الوزراء الجدد ، انما يمثل «مسؤولية تتيح لحزبه طرح رؤيته في صوغ الحياة العامة و التـنكب لمشروع نهضة المجتمع وصون وحدته ومقاومة اعدائه بآن معا».


At 2/13/2006 11:10:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Dr. Landis,

Highly recommended reading:

This is one of the best-written and chronicled articles on Syria that I can recall.

At 2/13/2006 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

Thank you for the link. it's a valuable reading indeed.. Please keep the good work. Syria needs you and people like you for sure, Please don't give-up

At 2/13/2006 11:56:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


Thank you for the kind words. I have to admit though that it is very hard to stay motivated. We all know that we do it is most likely a waste of our time. The love of our country and anger about its current state of affairs could well be the only motivation left.

This article is a superb account of life under Bashar. I highly recommend reading the footnotes while you read the main article as they contain a wealth of information too.

In a nutshell, this chronology above leaves you with only one conclusion:

This man is not qualified to lead this country. With every day that passes with him at the helm, this country will continue to sink deeper into a black hole.

At 2/13/2006 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Razak said...

Idaf, Mr. who claims he knows everything because he is on the ground,
is apparently too love-struck by Bashar's yes-men that he can't help
being patronising and falsely superior. Dardari is a graduate of the
"American International University in Richmond" as he himself says to
those who know him and chat with him (not Idaf, obviously, whose "on
the ground" knowledge doesn't include this). Anyway, it doesn't matter
if he was in LSE, Harvard, Oxford or not. These universities have
proved to be perfectly capable of producing total idiots, as we keep
seeing. He is not an idiot, but he has lost all credibility and
respect by joining Bashar and claiming to be reforming. What a laugh.

I thought you only tried (and failed miserably) to argue with Rime
Allaf on her blog, claiming to know more than she does, or than the
people who comment on it. Turns out you also can be very patronising
on the blog of Bashar's other big fan, Landis. Well Idaf, I hope you
really enjoy Bashar's reign on you as much as he enjoys screwing all of
you fans.

Ehsani, stop wasting your time on these guys. Hashem and Syrian Brit,
thanks for showing us all what an exasperating fake Idaf is.

At 2/13/2006 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Aba Zayd said...

Ehsani said: "On a different note, Syria is aware of the type of sanctions that are likely to be imposed on it soon and hence their decision to start using the Euro as the currency for its international trade. Each ministry and state-owned business, which has a Dollar allocation in the budget it uses to finance imports, services and reimburse loans, will be converted to Euros. All new exports of goods and services will also start to be billed in Euros."

May be Dardari is working for the opposition, don't you think so? He is accelerating the demise of this regime.

At 2/13/2006 01:46:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/13/2006 01:47:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...


Your link means nothing without understanding the source, which I am sure you got from Across the Bay. This new Middle East Intelligence Bulletin; a right-wing sponsored and led "NGO" Daniel Pipes runs it, Gary Gambill the man who wrote the article you are so proud of used to edit MEIB. But don’t take my word for it, here is another interesting article about these rightwing nut-jobs that Tony and you are so fond of.


At 2/13/2006 01:58:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Dr. Landis,

You may already have known the answer to my question above, but before you decide to make the effort to answer me, set below is the answer:

Thanks to our beloved Al-Baath Party, only a select group of 9 countries in the world have the fortune of being led by one single party. They are:

Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea, North Korea, Laos, Turkmenistan, Vietnam and our Syrian Arab Republic.


I actually was alerted to the article by a friend who has very little to do with Syria or the Region for that matter. As you know, I have always been sceptical of authors from the right and left alike. Rgardless, I found this article to be very well chronociled. If you can find holes in the story, I would love to hear them and educate myself. Please do not accuse me of being so fond of rightwing nut-jobs or lumping me with other people. Having said this, you are entitled to your opinion of course

At 2/13/2006 02:14:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

I didnt feel like reading the whole thing so i passed through it quickly and noticed something right away. Gambill blames Hafiz Al-Assad for the failure in peace talks in 2000 (Neo-con/israeli view at the time). while the fact, and you can check clinton's own bio, is that Barak was the one who changed his mind and wasted time until he frustrated Assad out of hope in resloving the issue.

At 2/13/2006 02:35:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...


Technically the Baath is the leader of the 7 Syrian parties forming the National Progressive Front. so its not a one-party system, but i am just being sarcastic i know what you mean.

but then you will need to include egypt, tunisia and a lot more countries than these countries you mentioned ;)

At 2/13/2006 03:44:00 PM, Blogger ugarit said...

Don't forget Saudi Arabia which does'nt even have parties.

At 2/13/2006 05:23:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

I don't know what Dr. Landis did, but this is great. It seems the trolls on this site have given up/been terminated by Dr. Landis. Great work. Maybe they went back to Syria to start their own party? who knows, maybe we'll soon hear about the Internet Troll Party of Syria: making things unbearable for the rest of us.

At 2/13/2006 05:31:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Saad Hariri insists Syria sending militants claiming to be Al-Qaeda

Saad Hariri, son of slain Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, said Monday Syria was sending militant radicals into Lebanon, and claiming they belonged to Al-Qaeda. "We are not that stupid, we know that the militants infiltrating the Lebanese borders from Syria are the same militants the government of Damascus has been sending to Iraq for the past three years under the claim they belong to Al-Qaeda," he said during an interview with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI).
The Daily Star

Is he adopting a Saudi line of argumentation, trying to play down the presence of al-Qa'ida in Iraq (while most of the militants are Saudis)? It doesn't sound very convincing to me.

We have already seen that some members of Khaled Taha's cell have family ties to radical groups, others have a long history of Islamist militancy. All this does strongly suggest that they are indeed close to al-Qa'ida.

I have to say that I much prefer Ahmed Fatfat's more sophisticated allegation in his Libération interview that "il y a plusieurs tendances au sein d'Al-Qaeda et que l'une d'elles pourrait être manipulée par les services de sécurité syriens". That seems like a real possibility (for example involving double agents), but to my knowledge there is no evidence for it.

At 2/13/2006 06:31:00 PM, Blogger ugarit said...

I must say that Dr. Mohsen Bilal has excellent credentials. That's a positive sign.

At 2/13/2006 06:45:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Kofi Annan just said that he has seen no evidence to back up U.S. claims that Syria and Iran fueled anti-western demonstration. During an interview on CNN, he was asked if he agrees with claims made by Rice. His answer:

“Well, I do not have any evidence to go by that. You had demonstrations all over the world. The government has a responsibility to prevent these things from happening. They should have stopped it, not just in Syria or Iran but all around. They should have stopped it. I asked the Syrian ambassador in NY, Why couldn’t you stop it? His answer was, “it was so spontaneous, and we couldn’t stop it”

At 2/13/2006 09:12:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Bloodydamscene said: "I don't know what Dr. Landis did, but this is great. It seems the trolls on this site have given up/been terminated by Dr. Landis. Great work"

Knock on wood ! you're next.

At 2/14/2006 04:41:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

It seems that the demo of today is as important as 14 march 2005.
Congratulations to the Lebanese people.

At 2/14/2006 06:15:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Libération comes up with a new line of defense (no matter how ridiculous it sounds): al-Qa'ida planned and executed the attack, but Syria knew of it and let it happen (!):

"Pour floue qu'elle soit, cette hypothèse, complaisamment étayée dans les organes de presse prosyriens, devrait permettre aux dirigeants de Damas de relancer l'idée d'une piste islamiste. Mais, si l'existence d'une cellule salafiste ne peut pas être écartée dans l'assassinat de l'ex-Premier ministre, il ne demeure pas moins que la préparation de l'attentat (qui a nécessité au moins une cinquantaine de personnes et des moyens électroniques extrêmement sophistiqués (like mobile phones, LOL; t_d), n'aurait pas pu se faire sans que les services secrets syro-libanais en soient informés."

Let's see: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi organized a great number of car bombings in US-occupied Iraq. Does that mean that the US knew in advance of these car bombs or that Zarqawi was on their payroll? Obviously not.

Jean-Pierre Perrin tries to play down the hypothesis of al-Qa'ida involvement by calling it "fuzzy", but he fails to make his case: once you have a suicide bomber who pulls the trigger, all electronic jamming devices are useless; no need for any sophisticated electronics to get around the jamming. It is also clear by now that the perpetrators used mobile phones to coordinate their attack, and I wouldn't call mobile phones "sophisticated electronic devices". I even think that the use of these phones is a sign that no intelligence agency was involved, because such an agency would have more sophisticated means of communication at its disposal. Mobile phones have the great disadvantage that they leave traces and phone records (as the Mehlis report shows); on the other hand they are relatively cheap, which is why terrorists often use them (see, for example, the attacks in Madrid and London).

At 2/14/2006 07:36:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

As much as i hope Syria was not the one who did it, I dont buy that Al-Qaida theory at all. What would they get out of it? How was Al Hariri a threat to them and what would the accomplish by his death? I am much more inclined to believe the other conspiracy theory that Syria was framed by her enemies and that they killed Hariri to weaken Syria and leave Lebanon without 1 strong leader. Or the more popular perception that Syria itself got rid of him. A large hit like this must have a motive and the Al-Qaida theory does not support any realistic one. While the other two do for obvious reasons.


At 2/14/2006 09:48:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

It is quite funny that the vaunted engineer of our economic revival, our own Greenspan, is a graduate of the Amercian International University.

The AIU is basically a place where those who can not get into any "normal" universiity in the UK, and whose parents are loaded with money go.

Some poeple use it as a jumping board to go to more recognised universities, but the value of its degree in the UK is next to nothing.

As a note of caution, this is the info I had 15 years ago, the AIU might have transformed itself since then.

At 2/14/2006 11:07:00 AM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

the new parties law that is debated I have few comments:

to state that any part to be established must approve with the principals of 8th of March 1963. this is not acceptable, first these principals are not declared here, second, I strongly disagree with statements such as socialism, freedom must be principle number one ,not vague socialism, also he must believe with the principle of union, among arabic countries, , it is the freedom that will decide the type of union, and with which country we unite, neiboring countries union are more likely to succede that far apart countries, also countries that embrace freedom are more likely to succede, cooperation,between countries is more important that union, I still call for Syria to unite with lebanon, Jordan Iraq and Palastine, provided that those countries support freedom.

there is a committee that will oversee those parties, the freedom of this committee must be restricted, and subject to court discussions, and there members must not belong to any party.

the Baath party is the leader of the parties, this is not acceptable, any party that has the support of majority , could be the leader, this is not to be specified.
The prime minister must be from Baath party, this is wrong, this put limitation on freedom.

parties before 1963 are not allowed, Why? not only it contradict with freedom, it means that the Baath party is afraid, those parties are patriotic, and has intelligent people.

I dont believe in several parties, we need to encourage less than seven parties, those who have similar ideas need not to have seperate parties, we have several parties ,now, in the goverment, they all has the same principles, they can be one party.

At 2/14/2006 03:00:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

Hizbullah must accept a national dialogue over its arms
Haytham Mouzahem
843 words
14 February 2006
Daily Star
Beirut -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled to Syria last month and met there with Syrian President Bashar Assad, but also Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and leaders of Palestinian militant groups. The visit prompted questions as to whether Tehran and Damascus were consolidating a strategic alliance and extending it to include their allies in Lebanon and Palestine against a hostile American-Israeli axis.

Iran is collecting bargaining chips in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine to challenge Western threats against its nuclear program, which has since been reported to the United Nations Security Council. Syria, in turn, is trying to break out of its isolation and gather cards of its own to face possible UN retaliation for its limited cooperation with the investigation into the killing of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

According to a Palestinian source, Ahmadinejad pledged support to Palestinian groups during his meetings with their leaders in Damascus, in which the sides "discussed the issue of pressure against Syria, Iran and Lebanon, and confirmed the need to form a front that groups all the forces that opposes the Zionist-American schemes in the region."

Although Assad and Ahmadinejad stated that they backed the rights of Palestinians and Lebanese to resist occupation, the Iranians wanted, in their joint final statement, to affirm support for stability and peace in Lebanon, for the political process in Iraq, and to denounce terrorism against Iraqi civilians. Following the meeting between Ahmadinejad and the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, the Amal movement released a statement where the two men agreed to "the necessity of preserving Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and its resistance." This was an attempt by Berri to distinguish himself from Syria.

However, Ahmadinejad's visit to Damascus and the Iranian-Syrian-Hizbullah relationship will reinforce the party's intransigence on its disarmament. Some observers believe this will erode Hizbullah's standing in Lebanon, since many Lebanese political figures, particularly the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, have criticized the Shiite party for supporting the Syrian and Iranian regimes. Jumblatt and others believe that Lebanon could soon become a battlefield in the war over Iranian nuclear power, and they fear Hizbullah is using its missile arsenal in South Lebanon as a means of deterring Israeli threats against Iranian nuclear facilities.

It is no secret that Syria, before its withdrawal from Lebanon, had considerable influence over Hizbullah's military actions in the Shebaa Farms area and along the so-called "blue line" - the United Nations-endorsed boundary between Israel and Lebanon. Some argue that the Assad regime also seeks to intimidate Israel via Hizbullah's weapons, and could resort to the party if the U.S. attempts to change the Syrian regime by force.

Many Lebanese do not understand the reasons for the strong alliance between the Islamist Hizbullah and the secular Syrian Baath regime. However, the continuation of the resistance in the Shebaa Farms not only aims to liberate occupied Lebanese land and release Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, but also to maintain the unity of the Lebanese and Syrian negotiation and conflict tracks with Israel. Furthermore, the Israeli occupation of the Shebaa Farms gives Hizbullah justification for its armed militancy, allowing it to keep its weapons and support Palestinian groups.

Nowadays, Iran and Hizbullah are both willing to protect the Assad regime, not because the Alawites are somehow regarded as fellow Shiites, as some have argued, but because they need Syria in their battle against the U.S. and Israel, due to Syria's strategic geopolitical location and its central role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as in Iraq and Lebanon. At the same time, Iran and the Shiites of Lebanon and Iraq seriously worry that regime change in Syria might lead to the emergence there of a radical Sunni state that could weaken the Shiite position in Lebanon and support the Sunni insurgency in Iraq; maybe even become a sanctuary for Al-Qaeda terrorists who would seek to undermine stability in Lebanon and Iraq. That the Sunni extremist Jund al-Sham group threatened Shiite leaders in Lebanon last year was a foreshadowing of such a possibility.

Some would argue that Syria's Alawite Baath regime is already playing the role of exporting terror to Iraq and Lebanon. However, the counterargument could be that this has served political ends, and has been limited and well-controlled. The Salafist terrorism of Al-Qaeda and similar groups would be far less discerning, and based on sectarian hatred for Shiites as well as all other religions.

That said, Hizbullah needs to review its priorities and bring its objectives in line with Lebanese interests, including enhancing national unity and stability and peace in Lebanon. That means starting a dialogue over its arms with other parties, in order to reach a national consensus around its resistance goals and the purposes for its military arsenal.

Haytham Mouzahem is a Lebanese analyst specializing in Middle Eastern and Islamic affairs. He wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR.

At 2/14/2006 03:04:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...


as I said before, in my opinion it's a real possibility that those Islamist militants were manipulated by someone. On the other hand, never underestimate al-Qa'ida. Sergio Vieira de Mello could still be with us, if the UN had taken Osama bin Landen's warnings more seriously (he had specifically mentioned East Timor in one of his speeches; but I digress).

"What would they get out of it?" There are a number of possible motives:

"If indeed the evidence points to Al-Qaeda in all that has been happening in Lebanon over the last year, then this marks an incredible leap in strategic planning being employed by the terrorists. Imagine: Al-Qaeda sets off a series of events in Lebanon that has the world community breathing down the necks of the Alawites in Syria, even threatening military action. As the regime is progressively weakened, Al-Qaeda moves in and sets up Fallouja-like mini-states outside of government control where the Shariah governs life, all as part of a process to resurrect the Caliphate.

If the bad guys are thinking on such a scale, then things have gone really bad."
Nibras Kazimi

"But killing Prime Minister Hariri means targeting Lebanon, and the region. In other words, there is someone who has a plan for the region. Among the basis elements of such a plan is the assassination of the martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Today, if we take the repercussion of 14 February, there is no stability, no security, no reassurance, and the economic situation is not good. The state is moving from crisis to crisis. But all of this is easy - what is worse is that all of the sensitivities, hatreds, and religious and sectarian feuds and grudges have been revived. There are very sharp divisions in the Lebanese street. You began this interview with a question about whether we are on the verge of a civil war, which is a legitimate question. People are afraid. Could we have reached this point without the assassination of Prime Minister al-Hariri? Therefore, whoever carried out this assassination, and followed it up with other assassinations, is aiming to sabotage Lebanon, create religious and sectarian strife, and dismember Lebanon. This is the goal behind the assassinations. Christians have begun to feel that the state is unable to protect them, so they live in a canton - the same goes for the Druze. The Shiites are holed up in their areas, and the same for the Sunnis. This is if they do not bear arms against each other, that is. And this is very dangerous."
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
(He may be referring to other "regional players", but his analysis also applies to al-Qa'ida.)

"In his address to the Islamic nation in April 2004, Zarqawi said that the US invasion had the objectives of keeping the Islamic nation in an endless state of weakness and defending Israel's security and eliminate every possible threat against it. Al-Qaida decided that its ultimate priority was to embark on a direct confrontation with Jews in Palestine in the near future, which will win it the support of all Arabs and Muslims. Al-Qaida believes there is a substantial link between the ruling Arab regimes and the state of Israel and therefore an attack on Israel would weaken these regimes. ...

Consequently, Zarqawi is drawing up a plan which would include the passage of Taliban supporters from Afghanistan through Iran to Iraq, the free movement of thousands of Zarqawi's people through the territory of a weakened Syrian regime and the opportunity to infiltrate into Lebanon [author's emphasis]. The situation in Lebanon will not remain stable, as the Sunnis in Lebanon and Syria are supportive of al-Qaida's doctrine. Al-Qaida, therefore, has the potential and resources to infiltrate into Syria and Lebanon in the event of an attack on Iran."
Fuad Husayn, The Second Generation of Al-Qaida, a serialized book on Al Zarqawi and Al-Qaida published by the London al-Quds al-'Arabi, July 11, 2005,
quoted by Dr. Ely Karmon, ICT, in: Who Bombed Northern Israel?

"Saudi Arabia has been a consistent target of radical jihadis for the past three years. Initially they attacked sites associated with the training of bodyguards for the royal family or other Saudi targets. This strategy produced a popular backlash against them. Al-Qaeda has some political support in some regions of Saudi Arabia, and it should be remembered that Islamists did well in the recent municipal elections, so al-Qaeda there is sensitive to public opinion.

Therefore, during the past year the jihadis in Saudia have shifted to attacking Saudi Arabia's conduits to the outside world. The shift in the strategy of Saudi al-Qaeda was noted in the Washington Post. ...

Moreover, there seems to be a Lebanon element in the latter strategy. Although I am careful about depending on Debka, this report is suggestive in our context.

It links Lebanese radical fundamentalists, their recruits at the Ain Helweh Palestinian refugee camp, and a bombing of the Muhaya Quarter of Riyadh, targeting Lebanese residents there.

Since Saudi targets have hardened up, for such groups to turn to what they consider Saudi clients elsewhere in the region makes perfect sense. ...

But from a Gulf perspective, and from the perspective of the recent history of transnational jihadi terrorism, a radical anti-Saudi hit on Hariri is perfectly plausible and also cannot simply be dismissed. It should be remembered that 9/11 initially struck many in Washington as so weird and illogical that they assumed Iraq was the real culprit. Transnational terrorism has its own logic, and its targets can strike outsiders as oddly decontextualized. From within the movement, however, Hariri may have looked like a Saudi cat's paw, and hitting him a way to reduce Saudi influence in Greater Syria. The point is gradually to isolate the Saudi royal family, weaken them, and then finish them off. It is a crackpot plan, and it would be doubly tragic if Hariri was the victim of this kind of thinking. It is too early to know for sure, and better to reserve judgment."
Juan Cole, March 21, 2005

At 2/14/2006 03:18:00 PM, Blogger ahnad said...

Back to jail

At 2/14/2006 09:50:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

hizbullah must never allow anyone to negotiate the right to arm itself, they are not arrogant, they are very practical, Lebanon has an army which in no way can match isreali army, not even close to match the weak syrian army, in a case of war ,the lebanese army will be crushed in few hours, if USA decided to take over Lebanon, that will a picnic, the strongest army on earth, however, is weak against people resistance, we have seen this in Iraq, disarming Hizbullah means surrender, keeping the hizb well armed, means isreal defeat, so how could anyone even discuss this subject, any patriotic syrian or lebanese, if he really loves his country, must never think of disarming hizbullah, or even the whole lebanese people.
Infact I like to arm the syrian people too, this is the only way to achieve and maintain freedom and democrasy, the syrian must start obtaining arms and then within 6 months we will see true democrasy in Syria, it is not only Isreal and foreign power that will be scared, but also dictatorships ,the dictators are afraid of their people, more than they are afraid of Isreal.

At 2/15/2006 01:23:00 AM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

Breaking News

Early this morning, Syrian authorities have re-arrested Riad Seif, after re-arresting al-Homsi yesterday.

Can they be any more stupid than this???? it's really a hopeless case. This regime has perfected the art of antagonizing everybody.

At 2/15/2006 01:24:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/15/2006 01:25:00 AM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/15/2006 01:49:00 AM, Blogger Nonie Darwish said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/15/2006 03:15:00 AM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

Hey IC, sorry I posted here before you did (like 5 seconds). I see that you've removed your post since. What do you think the stupid regime is up to now?

Could it be that there are warring factions within the regime, and that's why we're seeing this schizophrenic behavior?

By the way, Homsi was released, and the mukhabarat have come back to get him like an hour later, but when they didn't find him, they took his 22 year old son as hostage. Bastards.

At 2/15/2006 03:52:00 AM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

LOL, now Riad Seif has been released, apparently after they removed his balls and made him swear on his mother's grave to love Big Brother forever.

At 2/15/2006 04:20:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"hizbullah must never allow anyone to negotiate the right to arm itself, they are not arrogant, they are very practical, Lebanon has an army which in no way can match isreali army"

Because Syria can match the Israeli army?

These pro-Syrian terrorists will be disarmed, one way or another.

At 2/15/2006 08:37:00 AM, Blogger Nonie Darwish said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/15/2006 09:24:00 AM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

to Darwish:
you obviously accept surrender to the one who choose to occupy your land and subjucate your friends and families, you are saying the weak do not deserve freedom, and the strong has the right to dominate the weak, you dont believe in freedom, you believe in lawlessness, only the powerful has the right to survive, Evil is widespread in this world, and always push the good, the good has to defend itself,or it will get killed, Churchil ,Hitler and Bush they all believe in power , I believe in freedom and justice.

At 2/15/2006 10:04:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Dont waste your time Majed. Darwish is JAM

At 2/15/2006 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/15/2006 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I don't have the desire to read long articles, but from what I read, and if I take out the little I disagree with, this article makes sense. Obviously this is written by an Israeli pretending to be a Palestinian. Nasser was not a leader of hate, and going back to insult Nasser tells me it is an Israeli piece.

However, most of the content seem to be valid. Learn from the advice of your enemy.



At 2/15/2006 12:01:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

The administrator chose to delete my above post in which I showed the Criminal accuser that the above long post was not mine, and which I pointed to where who ever posted it was copying it from, and he chose to keep the accusation post written by his friend, the so called "Innocent criminal". That should show what type of a 'moderator" this person is.

At 2/15/2006 01:50:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

The Nonie Darwish piece is stale advertorial for this "Arabs for Israel" writer, with the same recycled thing thing posted all over the net - including her several sites. I was impressed to see it removed by the moderator as part of the cleanup here. But I am exasperated to see it return.

Let's get back to Syria please and leave this woman to earn her keep elsewhere.

And moderator, please, please will you keep earning your keep.

At 2/17/2006 10:33:00 PM, Blogger Anton Efendi said...

Josh, you're still harping on this shit? Get a new line. It's getting more and more pathetic.


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