Sunday, February 27, 2005

Syria Helps US Capture Saddam's Half Brother?

Is Syria helping the US in Iraq?

Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan, a half brother of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has been captured.

One reporter told me: "I am told that the Syrians effectively handed him over to the Americans, either by kicking him out and telling the Americans, or informing the Americans where he was in Iraq."

"I am also told that there might be more examples of this in the near future and that some of the senior baathists in Syria will begin leaving the country for safer destinations."


At 2/27/2005 10:50:00 AM, Blogger Anton Efendi said...

Nice try, but no cigar. He's been trying to establish a "direct channel" with the US to continue dialogue on "security issues" because the US lacks "vision" in the region and is creating "chaos." So he tries to entice them by offering them this guy (which by the way shows that they are in Syria and that the Syrians are letting them work) and possibly by letting Islamic Jihad do a hit in Israel. I.e., we can "help" or do a lot of damage, so let's cut a deal.

So far, the US has refused the logic of "swaps" over different fronts (lebanon, palestinians, iraq), and I don't think they'll be too impressed with this. The situation is well beyond this right now, and Bashar still doesn't get it. He's still looking to bully his way into a deal, but no one is interested.

At 2/27/2005 11:13:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...

I agree with what you said Tony

At 2/27/2005 01:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AP Report"Iraqi officials said Sunday that Syrian authorities had captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother and 29 other officials of the deposed dictator's Baath Party in Syria and handed them over to Iraq (news - web sites) in an apparent goodwill gesture."

----that's quite the haul

Are you absolutely certain the taped confessions aired last week were faked?

At 2/27/2005 04:01:00 PM, Blogger sasa said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/27/2005 04:03:00 PM, Blogger sasa said...

Are you absolutely certain the taped confessions aired last week were faked? ...

Even the US authorities dismissed the authenticity of the tape.

And other networks reported the story as 'Al-Iraqiyah has made wild accusations' rather than 'some Syrians have confessed'.

At 2/27/2005 07:58:00 PM, Blogger johnplikethepope said...

The Iraqi elections make the insurgency look more and more like a foreign invasion, and an exercise in utility. Syria is trying to reverse their opposition to the Iraqi government.

Syria might be getting something out of this, and if they do that would not be the worst thing. I am of the opinion that if the U.S. had negotiated a role for the old Iraqi army a great many lives could have been spared and a democratic political system would still have been achieved.

Syria can achieve a far less bloody transition to a future without a Baath dictatorship.

At 2/28/2005 06:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Joshua,
I can't see to understand why no western country has been calling on the Syrian government to implement political reforms. Is it because they could not care at all and their call for Lebanese freedom is nothing but to further their own agenda? Don't we Syrians deserve such pressure? And if they are interested in sanctionaing the country, why can't they confiscate all $$$ belonging to individuals and family members of every official in Syria starting from the director of a public company all the way to Rami and Bashar? This will force them at least to keep their money in the country. These two things will certainly help Syrians if anyone cares.

At 2/28/2005 06:48:00 AM, Blogger sasa said...

The elections were imposed on Iraq, huge chunks of the country couldn't or didn't vote. The thing Western minds can't get their heads around is that elections are not a panacea. If a people is occupied, not amount of 'choice' within that system will satisfy them.

No Iraqi wants an occupation, and it is naieve to say that the resistance is anything but a reaction to that occupation. Resistance is the natural reaction to any occupation - its the same pattern throughout colonial history.

Final thought: amongst the thousands of Iraqis in custody, is there a single Syrian?

At 2/28/2005 07:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous @ 6:44 AM,
Do you have a doubt that they have their own agenda?

At 2/28/2005 08:09:00 AM, Anonymous kingcrane said...

Dear Josh:
There are two reasons Syria is handing this Saddamite: a-External pressure (they want to show some good will towards Iraq, the US, etc)
and possibly show that they are an important regional power (and believe me, they still are).
b-Internal showmanship: After the two failures of the Syrian Istikhbarat (Hariri and the IJ), they show to those who have any doubt that they have some control.
But here is a concern: Could the Hariri blast be a JFK-like event?
I will digress about JFK to go back to Hariri:
-Robert Kennedy was, under JFK, in charge of the Castro assassinatin project. The project inadvertently produced bad apples that resulted in Lee Harvey Oswald's single-killer success (I buy the forensic evidence about the single-killer option, of course there was the complicated web around Lee Harvey Oswald).
Let us go back to Hariri:
-The Lebanese Istikhbarat are busy (with what: the elections of course) and a few bad apples (infiltrated by...?) work independently and commit the blast. This is why Assad is so upset: his own Istikhbarat did not see this coming. This may also explain the Lebanese administration wall-of-silence (it reminds me of the Johnson-Robert Kennedy dysfunctional relation after the JFK assassination).
PS: The Koweiti daily As-Siasa is in hot waters after they accused Al-Sayed (Lebanese Istikhbarat), Shawkat (Syrian Istikhbarat) and... Ali Sleiman (Syrian Amn-Al-Dawla Chief for Lebanon). Here is the problem: Assad promoted Shawkat a few days later to Head of Istikhbarat (this would make Assad far more devious than anybody has accused him to be) and Ali Sleiman, as Amn-Al-Dawla Chief for Lebanon, is simply the man that has the charge of exerting surveillance on the other branches of the Secret Services. This is what Amn-Al-Daqwla does: they observe and report promptly upstream only, and they do so without ever having to act.

At 2/28/2005 09:44:00 AM, Blogger johnplikethepope said...

You make a good point about no Syrians being in custody in Iraq, but there are certainly foreigners who are active in the insurgency and ex-patriots who are operating in foreign countries, in addition to many Iraqis who are against the regime that the U.S. occupation made possible.
I don't think those people who turned out to vote in the face of death threats from a Jordanian Al-queda leader were "forced" to vote. If anything, those people who lived in Sunni areas where the insurgency is strong were forced to not vote.
Yes, the U.S. needs to end its occupation. But the Sunni politicians need to participate in a democratic process and stop trying to use force to determine political matters. Just because they were born in Iraq does not give them a birthright to kill other Iraqis for political gain.

At 2/28/2005 11:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kingcrane- Your a dangerous man! what do you do for a living??

At 2/28/2005 01:05:00 PM, Blogger Kingcrane said...

"Kingcrane- Your a dangerous man! what do you do for a living??"

I'm an idiotic, drunken, paranoid, conspiracy theorist.

At 2/28/2005 02:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baathism is dying. The Utopia never worked except as a haven for terrorists and thugs.

The people prefer freedom, democracy, and progress from the usual despotism inherent to the Middle East. Finally, GWB and the neo-cons are being heard...

At 2/28/2005 06:00:00 PM, Anonymous Smith said...

You all are begining to sound like American Christians after McKinley brought The White Man's Burden to the darker nations.

At 2/28/2005 07:09:00 PM, Blogger Kingcrane said...

oh, save us your sanctimonious gibberish Smith, and blow it out your butt-tucks, boy!

At 2/28/2005 07:20:00 PM, Anonymous kingcrane said...

I see everybody is pretending to be me, but it is not me if it is not long and complicated.
The real kingcrane (or not?)

At 3/01/2005 09:46:00 AM, Blogger sasa said...

Hi again johnplikethepope,
I agree that democracy=good, killing=bad. And by no means do i support murder.

But when a country is occupied, and hundreds of thousands of foreign soliders invade your country, its natural - and legitimate - to fight back, even if that means Iraqis are killed too.

Its vital that Iraq becomes free and independent once more, but the fig leaf of occupier-sponsored voting isn't the way to do that.

If any of the candidates in Iraq truly represented the will of the people - as the would in a democracy - then they would ask the Americans to leave. I'm not saying wther that's a right or proper platform, but if its what the majority want, then isn't that how democarcies work?

I have to accept that the Americans chose Bush. Bush has to accept that Iraqis don't want the Americans.

"Let freedom reign."

At 3/01/2005 12:07:00 PM, Anonymous dB said...


Of course the Iraqis want the Americans to leave. All polls show this. The Americans want to leave. But there needs to be a correct time frame. For example, leaving before the elections would have been an unmitigated disaster.

The question of when has been answered by both America and Iraq: when the Iraqi army can handle the terrorists (no, they are not insurgents). This may take some time, but America is no longer an occupier as you maintain as every political entity wants the troups there until the terrorist can be handled.

So your analysis is close, it is no cigar.


At 3/01/2005 01:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Joshua,

Could you call on an expert about the following issues:

1-Are all the armed groups in Iraq linked?

2-If they are not, how diverse are they (we hear of anti-Iraq-military and of anti-Shia, but could there be others?)

3-What is the role of the Zarqawi bunch versus the ex-Saddam bunch, versus others?

4-What are the accusations against Syria being behind them based on concretely? And, can Syria be pro-Hezbollah in Lebanon and be on a different side in Iraq?

Experts only please, Josh.

At 3/01/2005 01:57:00 PM, Blogger sasa said...

Hi DB,
Define them how you want DB but the fact remains that Iraq is fighting an illegal occupation.

And many Iraqis would find it incredibly patronising to say they can't cope without American help.

Iraqis survived as a strong independent nation for milennia. America has tried to build a political army - one which wont turn against it when they close the door. But that's going to take a long time to achieve - reports suggest anything between 15% and 40% of troops support the insurgency.

p.s. insurgent = "Rising in revolt against established authority"

At 3/01/2005 02:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I want to second the motion of 1:06 PM, Anonymous to solicit expert analysis of the composition of the Iraqi insurgency.

At 3/01/2005 02:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what Iraqis are fighting:

2,000 Demonstrate at Iraqi Bombing SiteMore than 2,000 people held the impromptu demonstration on front of the clinic, chanting "No to terrorism!" and "No to Baathism and Wahhabism!"

The demonstrators also demanded that interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi step down.


There's still a great deal of pressure in the US to bring the troops home - I'll be heading downtown to vote on such a resolution. In Vermont, a Town-Meeting revolt over Iraq war. I would wager that by the next US election in '08, we will have negotiated with the Iraqi government our exit timetable, we will leave at their request.

At 3/01/2005 03:49:00 PM, Anonymous dB said...

Sasa said

"insurgent = "Rising in revolt against established authority"

Terrorist = people who kill civilians to make political statements.

To continue to call them insurgents is insane. They are killers pure and simple and it is why the Iraqis are active in rooting them out.

"reports suggest anything between 15% and 40% of troops support the insurgency."

There is no insurgency in Iraq. There are terrorists and there are those fighting for a new democracy. The only ones who are on the terrorists side are the terrorists. Some might be among the troups, but no where nead 15%. Less than 1%. Much less than 1%.


At 3/01/2005 04:13:00 PM, Anonymous Fadi said...

Has anyone noticed that everytime our "beloved" President makes a statement, interview or commitment, soon after, it is denied by the government apparatus? Either the Foreign Ministry or the Ministry of Information, or in some cases, his own offices issues a denial, always claiming that he did not make those statements or that they were somehow taken out of context. This seems to be happening regardless of who is quoting him - from international press to high-ranking foreign officials. Either the guy is a moron or he's continually being trumped by others. Regardless, with the gross incompetence and mishandling of events in Lebanon, we do not need any more embarrassment!

An Embarrassed Syrian!

At 3/02/2005 05:59:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...


How about you start organizing some demonstrations in Damascus? We are fed up with those rotten regimes... Down!! Down the Drain!!

At 3/02/2005 07:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but the fact remains that Iraq is fighting an illegal occupation."

What utter nonsense, a tiny and disintergrating band of murderous animals are fighting the occupation. And "Iraq" is fighting that tiny band of terrorists. Unfortunately for naysayers, there really is no convincing way of portraying the terrorists as "Iraq" anymore - that ship has well and truly sailed .

"And many Iraqis would find it incredibly patronising to say they can't cope without American help."

I actually agree with that, many Iraqi's are Baathists, many desperately want a return to the sort of power over life and death that they had just a couple of short years ago, there can be no doubt that these people would feel patronised, but I'm not sure why these Iraqi's feelings should be given precedent over the other 99.99% of the Iraqi population feelings.

A quick question Sasa, do YOU believe the Iraqi's could cope without America's help right now?

At 3/02/2005 09:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If demonstrations could change anything then the US wouldn't be in the Iraqi mess today and please don't tell me you beleive that the lebanese demonstrations had anything to do with change in Lebanon.

At 3/02/2005 09:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Syian regime could be rotten but it will never reach the level of the Lebanese warlords & war criminals leading today's "opposition"

At 3/02/2005 10:12:00 AM, Blogger Joshua Landis said...

For those interested in the Iraq Resistance, read the following article: "An Inventory of Iraqi Resistance Groups: "Who Kills Hostages in Iraq?" By Samir Haddad and Mazin Ghazi
Al Zawra (Baghdad)
September 19, 2004

Best, Joshua

At 3/03/2005 02:56:00 PM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...

For my Anonymous friends,

Believe what you want and I believe what I want, it does not mean that you are right on the 2 points that you mentioned:

The Demonstrations in Lebanon are doing a lot, because at least we are trying and succeeding at creating Democracy, or what do you think Democracy is? You obviously didn't have a clue of that for the past 2000 years so please spare us the rambling...

And concerning warlords and wartever, Syria could as easily become a scene for internal bickering without the stomping foot of your lovely Gestapo regime. All the ingredients are there, or don't you think that Alawites, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians make for an explosive melting pot when provided with all the right ingredients? You are not immune to war my dears, don't let that weak illusion get you high off your horses.


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