Monday, August 08, 2005

What is Happening at the Ministry of Interior?

Ghazi Kanaan was appointed to be Minister of the Interior in the last government reshuffle on October 4, 2004 in order to “strengthen” and consolidate the ministry. That was the word from on high. But what did it mean? Some said he was given the brief to bring order to the hydra-headed secret police that had slipped out of the President’s control. The various branch heads seemed to make their own decisions and carry out their own policies, uncoordinated by any central authority – at least that is how it seemed.

The multiplication of intelligence bureaus under Hafiz al-Asad in the 1970s seemed designed to sew chaos into the Syrian system of authority and undermine the rule of law. In many ways it was a classic exercise in divide-and-rule. In a security state, it was important to multiply the institutions of security so each could watch the other and ensure that no one security chief ever considered taking power for himself. It was a way to coup-proof the system that had been so prone to instability and putsches. But the indispensable link and organizing factor in this web of competing security branches was Hafiz al-Asad, for only he had authority over them all.

How was the young Bashar to impose his will on this hydra-headed monster? Kanaan had been the effective security chief in Lebanon for decades. He new the system well and had divided the Christian forces in Lebanon into a multitude of competing factions, all submissive to Syria. But why appoint him to the Ministry of Interior, which had escaped the disorganization of the intelligence community? How was Ghazi Kanaan, as head of the police, supposed to bring order to intelligence or strengthen the president’s hand in taking back control over internal affairs in Syria? It was confusing.

Two recent stories that have been told to me may help clarify the picture. One came to me from a general in the Interior ministry, who is in charge of the police in a governorate. He complained that the top Sunni officers in the ministry are all upset over how Kanaan has been manipulating the confessional balance in the ministry. It must be recalled that Kanaan was the first Alawi to be placed in control of the Interior – traditionally it was a post designated for Sunnis. The outward face of security had been left in the hands of Syria’s religious majority, whereas, the internal muscle of security - the intelligence branches - had been placed firmly in the hands of Alawi officers. Evidently Kanaan has been busy giving Alawis plum positions as heads of the sensitive governorates and “demoting” Sunni officers by placing them in desk jobs in out of the way corners of the country. This has confessional favoritism has caused an uproar in the ministry.

The second story is from Alawi villagers. They say that Kanaan “gathered together” simple villagers and appointed many to the coveted positions in the police academy, much to the irritation of the Sunni officers in charge of the professional training school. Recently, these officers expelled about 50 Alawis from the college who had only one year to graduation and were about to be commissioned. The Alawis were accused of being “lazy,” one of the charges against them was that they wasted their time making “matte,” a bark tea that is commonly drunk by the villagers of the Tartus region. It takes a long time to prepare and involves a time consuming ritual of repeatedly pouring boiling water over the bark to darken the tea. It is drunk from special glasses with a long glass straw with a special sieve on its bottom. Whether on not the matte problem factored into their dismissal or not, I have no clue, but it is invoked by the Alawi villagers as proof of the discrimination they encountered. They were also sensitive to the excesses of Kanaan’s policy of stuffing the police academy with Alawis, but they felt like pawns in a larger sectarian game that they never asked to be part of. Evidently the Alawis are bringing a court case against the Police Academy for dismissing them.

So what do these two stories add up to and can we draw any conclusions from them about larger state policy? It is important to place what is going on at the Ministry of Interior in the broader context of the President’s promise to change the relationship between the intelligence community and society. He has often stated that he wants to lift the hand of intelligence off the shoulders of the public and to bring security under the narrow strictures of the law. Perhaps we can understand this as part of the President’s “institution building” and “proper procedures” campaign?

This implies a shift of power from intelligence to the state police, who will theoretically assume a larger role in enforcing laws that relate to national security. Perhaps Kanaan is trying to beef up the Alawi component in the police bureaucracy in order to prepare it for this new national security role? This would also explain some of the competition and tension between Asef Shawkat and Ghazi Kanaan. Rather than trying to take control of the intelligence agencies directly in order to strengthen the President’s hand, he may be preparing to shift authority away from intelligence to the police.

What the President’s role in all this may be is pure speculation on my part. Is Kanaan doing this on his own authority, or is he responding to directives from above? I do not know. The President has been accused by members of the Alawi community of being less sectarian minded than his father and of “forgetting” his community, whose support is crucial to the regime. It may simply be a move to allay these concerns, whether on the part of the minister or the president? In the meantime, Kanaan’s policy of favoring his coreligionists has opened a can of worms in the Ministry of Interior and threatens to sour the relations of many loyal Sunnis officers to their superiors.

It has long been rumored that Ghazi Kanaan may be replaced as Minister of Interior in the impending government reshuffle that was to follow the Baath Party Congress in June. AlSeyassah, the rumor-mill Kuwaiti paper, wrote on July 11 that Kanaan was suspended from his ministerial duties, because he was the man behind Rustum Ghazaleh in Lebanon, but this was all hearsay. Such reports may just have been spin put out by his many opponents? We are still waiting for the announcement of a new government. Kanaan was recently socked with special financial sanctions by the US government, which may have jeopardized his tenure and usefulness to the President. One thing is for sure, many people will be waiting to see what happens at the Ministry of Interior in the next government.


At 8/09/2005 04:33:00 AM, Anonymous Tarek said...

I really doubt that there will be a serious power shift from the military Intelligence to the Police. Because the intelligence services in most countries of the world are always and justifiably so, more powerful than the police. It could very well be that Kanaan with his old-guard mentality is just beefing up his power base the only way he’s sure it would work. By using his own clan members. And it doesn’t make any sense for the president to worry about the intelligence apparatus. After all, it’s being controlled by his brother in-law.

BTW when is the next government reshuffle expected?

At 8/09/2005 05:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kanaan has a sectarian way of seeing things. He is just pushing people of his own community into the Ministry to satisfy his own interests and to broaden his power base.

The ministry in now his own backyard like Lebanon was for so many years and therefore there is no need to go further and speculate.

Anyway thank you for the article that shows how reforms are handled in the "new guard" Syria.

At 8/09/2005 06:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8/09/2005 06:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like any one of them cares about Alawis or Sunnis except for selfish reasons. They use Alawis and Sunnis as pawns, and nothing else.

This is a regime that claims to have melted Alawis and other minorities into the main stream Sunni. After 35 years of spreading the lie, we know better. We know that they have created the seed for civil wars, and blood shed. This regime has not melted anything, but has used Alawis as pawns to serve the interests of its men, those few who enriched themselves beyond the normal wealth, and none of them, including the Assad Family ever cared about any body else, Alawi or other wise.

Kannaan is a thug, and so are all those who cooperated with the regime, whether they are Alawis or Sunnis. This regime has destroyed Syria.

At 8/09/2005 06:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"matte" is Yerba Mate, a south American greenish tea drunk by native americans and picked up by the Spaniards and when many Syrians migrated to Argentina they brought back the drink with them. What's interesting is that is more prevelant amongst the Alawis and Ismailis.

At 8/09/2005 08:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is funny that Sunnis say the Alawis are lazy and drink Matte.

It is like any things works in Syria. Like the productivity of the Sunnis is wow, so high! How about Tea, the regular tea? No one drinks that?

Stupid people deserve stupid government. The Syrian people are jealous of each other. That is all. Their jealousy is manifested when there is no other reason, by the secatarian outbursts. It is a factor both sides Alawis and Sunis, and even Christians use against each other and to get support for their petty talks behind the back of the other. Syrians are low level people, even when they are outside. I would say it is the trait of all the Arabs, not only Syirans. Those who are jealous of the others wish to do so with extreme cruelty. Arabs who get the chance to open businesses, and employee other Arabs, exploit them in ways that I can never find comparables to them within any other race.

Stupid Arabs deserve nothing but what they have gotten.

Ex Arab insider.

At 8/09/2005 11:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh - this line is quite interesting:
"Evidently the Alawis are bringing a court case against the Police Academy for dismissing them."

We are used to thinking of sectarianism as something that happens beyond the reach of the courts or formal institutions. Is it? Do citizens have access to courts to address issues of hiring and firing? That some Allawi cadets would think of filing a lawsuit on discrimination grounds (I imagine) is something new, to me at least. Could you comment further. Thanks. SH

At 8/09/2005 03:33:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Interesting infos but it's very hard to analyze. It could mean so many things. Plus it's hard to measure the info reliability.

At 8/09/2005 09:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

when sombody generalize his impretion of all Arabs as stupid and more or less worth nothing attacking muslems christians ,(i think he ommited the jews)to make us think he is jewish he only convey himself as a racist and racism should not have a place on this post but for the benifit of freedom of speach he can say whatever he wants as that will not chang the fact that we know who we are arab and what we do for cevilization indiveualy,may be what that ex arab insider will wake up the arabs and make them angry about what others think of them,that might make them work together to improve Syria and other Arab countries.

At 8/10/2005 04:25:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...

I appreciate the relative calm of the thread.

We can finally discern posters like Tarek and Vox with relevant characters.


At 8/11/2005 07:17:00 AM, Anonymous Ghassan said...

I am back from my trip to Lebanon, Jordan and other Arab countries. During the 6+ weeks there, I had the chance to meet with a lot of people from different nationalists and I love to talk to them while either waiting in line or just sitting on a chair relaxing. I start with talking about the weather, but all the time the topic switch to Syria, Lebanon or Iraq! I am planning to write some of my observations on this blog when the time or the topic is right!

On the topic of Kanaan and Ghazalaa, Lebanese suffered a lot from their interference and now it is the turn of the Syrians! I don't envy you my dear neighbors Syrians! And I wish you luck because these two guys divided Lebanese so they can rule and control them! Now, they want to try the same thing in Syria!!! It worked in Lebanon for several years but what was the end? Syrians were humiliated and kicked out of Lebanon. These two guys' fortune is being exposed to show that there only interests were their own not Syrian interests! Syria is now panicking and is behaving like a body without head (no real plan even for the next 6 months). One day it closes the border and the following day it opens it! On one of my trips during the 6+ weeks in the ME, I met a Jordanian lady (she is an American too) who told me that 2 weeks ago, she tried to travel from Jordan to Lebanon through Syria to save on the airline tickets since she was traveling with her family and it is much cheaper to drive than to fly (BIG MISTAKE!) She thought that since she is Jordanian, she will be ok with the Syrian (WRONG ASSUMPTION!) She told me that she is used to paying bribes to the Syrians, but this time it was much more than what she used to pay! Well, she went through the Jordanian-Syrian border but when she reached the Syrian-Lebanese border it was unbelievable. She told me that the Syrian almost took all her money to let her go through the border with no avail! Finally, she turned back and went back to Jordan! She told me that (yehram allie the Syrian land!) This is the country that is in dear need of foreign currency and friends! Syria can't make friends because it is built on oppression!

Now, every time Syria will tighten the Lebanese border, the Iraqis and the Jordanians will tighten the Syrian border! I think that you may read in the news today that Jordan is now putting restrictions on the Syrian traffic coming in and out of Syria. AH, and they talk about Arab unity! Good luck with Ghazalaa and Kanaan and enjoy their treatment until there is a coup!

At 8/11/2005 07:53:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Arabs are such drama queens. I think everyone is over playing these border blockades. When i first moved to Beirut in 97 there were huge delays, up to 6 hours sometimes. This is a temporary and minor hick-up.

I hate to advertise, but I am having a sad attempt at starting a blog. Maybe you guys can check it out. Please note that cursing/criticizing me is not only permitted but highly encouraged.

At 8/11/2005 11:06:00 AM, Blogger Joshua Landis said...

Ghassan, We look forward to your account of your travels through Lebanon, Jordan and other Arab countries and, expecially, to hearing what people had to say about Syria. Send it to me, and if it seems interesting for everyone, which it should be, I will post it as "Ghassan's travels." We would love to hear what people are saying.

Best, Joshua

At 8/11/2005 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Joshua Landis said...

Thanks to the person who sent us the link on Matte. Interesting.

As for, SH's question about how the courts can be used to fight sectarianism, I don't really know. I will try to find out what action the your police cadets actually take. There was talk about a court case, but I don't know if it actually happened or on what grounds. I will ask around. Joshua

At 8/11/2005 12:31:00 PM, Anonymous TREX said...

I agree, Kanaan is a thug and is using the same recipy to control Syria as the one he used in Lebanon. He's wrong and so are those who accept his assumptions.
As far as his ministry is concerned, you have to keep in mind that any eventual peace settlement will force a withdrawal of the "army" to Homs. That would include all those presently working as military "intelligence". The void will have to be filled by an ever stronger "civil" apparatus thus Kanaan.

At 8/11/2005 12:37:00 PM, Anonymous Michael said...


THEY CAN HEAR YOU NOW: When I was in Beirut in April one of the leaders of the Cedar Revolution, Nabil Abou-Charaf, told me that Syrian intelligence agents used cell phones to “spy” on people.

“You mean they monitor your phone conversations,” I said.

“No," he said. "They can listen to us all the time even when we’re not using the phone.” He could tell I didn’t believe him. “We know as a fact they can do this.”

The Middle East is notoriously paranoid. When your country is infested with secret police that will happen. Nabil had good reasons himself to be paranoid. He told me he had already been arrested and beaten for standing up to the Syrian puppet regime. Just a week before I met him someone ran his car off the road and left a message on his answering machine and said that was just the beginning.

Still, I didn’t believe what he said about spies using his cell phone as a bug. If the cell phone is off or just sitting there it isn’t transmitting a signal.

Looks like I was wrong. Julian Sanchez at Hit and Run points out this chilling excerpt from a story in last week’s Guardian.

The main means of tracking terrorist suspects down has been the monitoring of mobile phone conversations. Not only can operators pinpoint users to within yards of their location by "triangulating" the signals from three base stations, but - according to a report in the Financial Times - the operators (under instructions from the authorities) can remotely install software onto a handset to activate the microphone even when the user is not making a call.
I’m sure the police love this feature. Police states apparently love it, as well.



At 8/11/2005 01:25:00 PM, Anonymous ausama said...

Gentelmen, are you naieve or what??? First, have you heard about the invalidity of "hearsay", "cicumstantial evidence", what the hell is wrong with you? Analysing the actions of the Syrian Interior Minister, drawing conclusions from what other Arabs are saying about Syrian Affairs (and for the uninitiated, we Arabs have a catagory for each other Arab, such like Egyptians are all so and so, Lebaneses are so and so, Morrocans are so....and so on). Why are we looking at the surface not at the roots of what is hapenings? Whay are the Arabs like this, why does Syria do what Syria does? why is Hizbullah doing this and that? Reading through some comments make one think that Syrians, Arabs and the rest of the Gang are a case study in irrational behavior. No my friends, I am afraid it is not. It is all realpolitic with some "miscalculations" and admittedly some "irresponsibility'. But let us be FAIR for a while. Who the hell allowed Sadam to become the power-turned-into-monster he was? was it not the US and the Gulf States who supported him against Iran in the first Gulf War? Who the hell created Bin Laden? Was it not good ol' USA? I still remember a film featuring Rambo fighting alongside the "mujahedeen'!!!!", and where does the interests and actions of pure little democratic ISRAEL fit in the picture. And where does the control of the oil of the Gulf come in? Where does the unspoken about need by the "World's single power" in "creating a strategic enemy" to take the place of the ex-Soviet Union to crystalyze it's direction fit in. Are those not cold facts and considerations the understanding of which, and the assigning of each its due importance, represent a key to understanding what is hapening in the area rather than just bashing Syria, Ghazi Kanaan or how far reform is progressing in Syria. What fucking reform are you taking about when Israeli airplanes overfly the whole are day in and day out. What "realistic actions" and "responsible policy" does the US want Syria to follow when its land is occupied by the US best Friend and when Palestinians are killed, Iraqies maimed, and on and on, all at Syria's door step? come on guys. Why is 1559 or whatever the hell is so important while 242, 338, 425 and 194 are not?? Who is kidding who, or who is fooloing who? When some call the bluff and assert thier right to defending and promoting thier interests, then they become no good. As simple as that. And we get busy defending various actions and trying to understand others, and unleaching our frustrations at symptoms not causes.
Funniest of all is this guy relating his experience about how Syrians evsdrop on Lebanese mobile and telephone conversation. Sounds like he has just read a novel by Jhon Le Carr, Robert Ludlum, or Tom Clancy and he is facinated with it. What the hell do you expect an intelligence agency to do any way???? Where did "al Maktab al Thani" phrase come from? was it not the D.B. or the Second Direcotrate of Lebanese Intelligence running while during President Shihab term?? come on guys, get real. Is the Israeli Mossad or the American CIA or MI-6 or whoever it is not operating in Lebanon now. Or rather, had they ever "stopped" operating in Lebanon? Only Syrian Intelligence is.. Right???? And maybe you are naieve enough to ever think that any of the above will stop operating in Lebanon or any where they have an interest. Oh my God !!! It is good you guys are not really in any important position in either politics or intelligence or whatever. This is only to cheer you up guys.. do not take seriously, but get little bit more serious.

At 8/11/2005 04:21:00 PM, Anonymous Joseph said...

This so called "Ausma" said this:

"""What fucking reform are you taking about when Israeli airplanes overfly the whole are day in and day out. What "realistic actions" and "responsible policy" does the US want Syria to follow when its land is occupied by the US best Friend """"

Do you see how the Assadists think?

Because there is Israel, they Assads and their criminal gang have the right to Hold Syria Hostage as long and the way they deem good as Israel exists and occupies Syria's land. Does this explain the absolute peafeul atmosphere that has reigned between Syria and israel except for the comedy of 1973 war? Does the regime have any incentive of even building Syria to free its land when the occupation will ensure the Assads dominance of Syria as long as it lasts?

Who the "Fuck" to use your language, has appointed you Assadists to be the keepers of Syria and the decision makers as when and how the people will be free? We mean by Reform, the end of the corruption that has spread across every thing in Syria since the Assad came to power. We mean by Reform giving back the decsion of the national interests of the Syrian people to the people iof Syria. We mean by Reform the freedom to express one's opinion without being condemned to a jail term of 5-25 years in Jail. Reminding you that Dr. AbdelAziz Al Kheir was put in prison in 1992 and he is still there because ... because he wrote about the corruption that the Assad family has brought to Syria.

You are a son of bitch, nothing less.

Joseph (an Alawi).

At 8/11/2005 04:35:00 PM, Anonymous Joseph said...

The bastard repeats what the thieves of his regime contuinally say; "we can't abolish the emergency law" that has been in Syria since Assad came to power, because there is Israel. We can't have free Elections becuase there is Isreael. We can't reform the Judicial system that is more corrupt than any thing on Earth, because--- there is Israel. We can't bring new measures to end the differences between the new Rich (the Class that govers Syria)and the majority of Syria's poor , again, because--- There is Israel. We can't, and we can't...because there is Israel. It is evident that they are the only beneficiaries of the existence of Israel./ If I were in their position (God forbid, and thank God!), would I want to get Israel out of the picture? Unlikely for some one with their mentality.

So, because of Israel, the Assads, The Makhloufs, The Masharquas, The Tlas's, The Khadams, and Kanans and so on have become the billionaires they are when their background is known, and they inherited nothing from their parents, and their salaries can never bring them the wealth they enjoy among the wealthiest of the whole world.

Thanks to Israel, this regime survives.

But, I hope Israel will one day soon beat the shit out of you..May be it won't, because if I were the Israeli Authority, would I want to destroy such a great friendly regime, that speaks loudly against Israel, but keeps the Syrians under control? Of course, Israel has the great interest in keeping the Assad regime.

Fuck you Ausama.

Joseph (Allawi)

At 8/11/2005 08:20:00 PM, Anonymous ausama said...

To Joseph (Alawi), and dame all !!!it proves Syria is secular place if an Alawi assumes the name of "Joseph"!!! and to the other coolheaded posts as well.I am going to be a true "patriot" as you are", although I will not go as far as wishing that Israel destroys Syria, so that Syria and the regiem is destroyed).
You are very cinvincing, I must admit. You are right, Syria is Bad, its people are stupid, ignorant, and submissive, the regiem created the myth " called Israel" to justify it's exsistance.And the Ba'ath, and the Assadists (??? new phrase???) are using all this to subvert and subjegate and rope" the Syrian People. !!! Are you happy now?? Ther was never a Sykes -Picott agreement, there is no Istea'mar, Israel exsitanse and its occupation and threats do not exist, and reform and western-style democracy is on the top of each Syrian mind but the "regiem" is opposing that "so that it can stay in power".whatever you say. Are you happy now ??? So, for the sake of argument,act patriotic, go to Syria, create a grassroot movement to change the regiem, be like the Syrian commiunists or the SSSP followers, pay in action or blood for what you believe in, and then we will all follow in your footsteps. Go to Syria, and stop the "regiem" from doing what it did years ago to end the fucking US supported Muslim Brotherhood blood bath which would have taken Syria down the Algerian or the Zarqawi freeway, and then all Syrians will love you for the end result if you can manage it in a different way.Go to Syria and manage and lead the peace process with Israel by accepting its "dictations" but without giving up historic, national and security rights, and the people there will welcome you as a hero.Fall into the fold and accept the dictates of the US as relates to Syria's policy towards Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, and see if you can get more out of the US and Israel than Sadat, or Fahd, or Hussien did, and then we will post your photographs in our bedrooms, not only in our offices. Can you accomplish that? Dream on. Dream on. Talk is cheep, but when you have twenty million to feed, your land to recover, and some of your own so-called Chalabi-Style political parties playing into the hands of the enemy, and some of your super rich Arab brothers bathing in thier petro-dollar heaven and giving you peanuts, and finally when you have your little Lebanese friends carrying thier "uprising for independence" (where the fuck where they when Israel OCCUPIED Lebanse land for twenty years and when Lahd's criminals screw the hell out of their Southern Lebanese brothers for years) ask you to get out because some very pateriotic and farsighted Lebanese in Washington and some suckers in Beirut and the Chouf thought that this can get them more power to control and milk the Liberated Lebanon. Go to Syria, live there and see how the "regiem" can cope and conduct reform, lift the emergency laws, and conduct free election with it's southern niegbour admmitedly on the payroll of the CIA, and its eastern Sadami nieghbour keep sending you bomb-loaded buses and trucks to explode in the middle of Damascuse, and when some of your Lebanese allies are cajuling andteaching your military officers how to steal and make money, go ther and tell me how you will manage. You will either follow the way our Gaddafi genious (who all of us think he is somewhat unbalanced in the upper part) or you will do what you are doing now. Navigating your course among the storms and trying your best not to compromise too much while trying to get through to better times. Sounds Familliar??? Not to you ofcourse. Incidently, have you heard of many current Arab leaders who know or believe in the internet or the information revolution? Newspapers say Bashar does. Have you heard of many Arab leaders who survived because of thier ability to navigate the best course possible without having the luxury of being flush in petro-dollars or without enthusiastically waiving the white flag to the US and Israel? Bashar is, and President Hafez did. Mistakes??? damned right there are many mistakes. After all it is Syrians and Arabs your are talking about not the Swedes or Dans. We are still a semi-ignorant, half-backward nation like our other Arab brothers, on our way growth and progress. And we are being led there by the nose by our governments not by our superiory intelectual people, and all under insurmountable external pressures and without the abundant resources availlable to some of our other lucky brethern, who just happen not to be immediate nieghbours of Israel who of course is not sitting idle and wishing us well in our uphill climb. And let us also not forget that Democracy and Progress is not a function of the ruling authority alone; its a product of the collective abilities of the People, Thier goverment, and the Surrounding circumstances. Nevermind all this. Let us be straight: If you are really that enthusiastic and caring about "liberating" your country and "people", go back to your so beloved country, work with you people, suffer, struggle and then shine as a victorious champion of the people, rather than bad mouth your country and its regiem playing naievely or voluntarily into the hands of its enemies.
Talk comes cheap my friend. But reality is different. Do you you know what Syria needs to go forward economically and then politically??? It needs a fucking managerial, technocrate class to transform it. Do you think the "regiem" does know that. You are stupid if you think so. But would the goddamned expatriate managerial, technocrate class leave its comfortable jobs in the Gulf, Europe and the US and come to aid of its country at the risk of lower pay and less comfortable living terms??? No they will not. Ask any minister in Syria and he tells that is exactly what the counry needs. But would any of you superstars be willing to go there and to sacrifice few frienge benefits for the benifit of the Syrian People you so warmly talk about?? you will not obviously! Then what to do? By simple calculation, we have thirty ministries or so in Syria, each needs around 200 higly-skilled managers; entrapenure-oriented,western educated with an established successful business track record MANAGERS. The cuurent earning or the package of those Managers (200 Managers times twenty ministries= 6000 managers)comes to about 4000 times $150,000 per annum, being the assumed average earning of worthwhile successful expat manager,and you know what? It adds up to almost one billion dollars per year. Can Syria afford it? (Of course some of the current beaurucrates would not like seeing new management technques enforced on them and they will resist it, but that normal and besides the point). More importantly would these desperately needed expatriate managers voulanteer to take up such a task, or would they opt for the other option of cursing the darkness rather than lighting a candle?? Now, mind you, if you talk about runawys or exiles from the Muslim Brotherhood who could contribute to the country's "well being"; then they are not needed. We are a secular country and we want to stay that way (and Given a choice between dictatorship or Sharia'a rule -as it was practiced by Taliban,FIS and now Zarqawi, I will welcome even Stalinism with open hands). Now, I confess, this is a somewhat simplistic approach, but it hase a grain of truth in it.What I am trying to convey by all the above is that, in my heart, I belive that for many current critics of the regiem -with SYRIA as a whole being the real target, and forgive me for my conspiratorial mind-,it is much more easier to raise noise about the mistakes of the "regiem" and to blame "dictatorship", "stuborness' and "missmanagement", "corruption" and so on, than to admit that the fault lays to a greater degree with the other two componots; the PEOPLE at the top of which lies the expatriate educated busniess class, and then the EXTERNAL threats, factors and circumstances.Will you give it thought??????????? Again,for those who cared to send me thier good wishes, compliments and praise, do not worry about me, I am not a Bathist, not an Allawi, Not on the Regiems payroll, I am just a guy who is so upset with people barking up the wrong tree and most importantly, at the wrong time. Stupidity just gets on my nerve! Yours trully, A Syrian Arab...

At 8/11/2005 08:54:00 PM, Anonymous Joseph said...

Ausama said this:

((( Dream on. Talk is cheep, but when you have twenty million to feed, your land to recover, and some of your own so-called Chalabi-Style political parties playing into the hands of the enemy, and some of your super rich Arab brothers bathing in thier petro-dollar heaven and giving you peanuts, and finally ))).

Just answer me with your mind and heart this question:

- Is Syria the responsibility of the Assad family?

Don'y you know that Hafez Assad couldn't take it any more after 3 years of Dual governing Syria. I mean he and his men with the Jedid and his men, and he came up with teh "correctional movement", because the others "erred", and it was time to put them all in Jail until they die, and so it was. They all died in their jail, and he and his ilks became the billionairtes they are now, and he passed all of Syria and its people as an inheritance to his son.

If 3 years in government that committed errors according to Hafez Assad (and he was a big part of the errors that were being commited back then), if 3 years required a coup, and the jailing of those, his friends that according to him committed errors, then, tell me what about the errors of 35 years since he and his son have been responsible for until now? Do we need to give them 35 more years to try different policies and keep trying until they succeed? Why 3 years, the others did not get a chance and they died in jail, while these two Assads (well, all of the family) has been making Syria a trying field for 35 years, and any one whop asks anything about the result is taken care iof either by killing him or imprisonning him with the utmost cruelty.

What are we to do with a family that thinks that Syria is its own property. It considers itself the only one who knows the good of the people of Syria, and the only one that can defend Syria, etc... Do you really believe that? Do you believe that the ex poor people who are now the billioniares of Syria are tired trying to feed 20 million people? Are you that naive?

Joseph Ali Mohammed.

PS: I am not the product at all of this regime as I never lived under its rules. So Syria is not the Secular thing you described it. Syria is a boiling water inside a tube ready to explode, and unfortunately in a very unsecular way.

At 8/11/2005 09:02:00 PM, Anonymous Hoseph said...

Your Bashar Assad said so few days ago:

"We hired a French Teamn, 2 years ago to correct the adminsitarative corruption in Syria. They failed.

Now, we are hiring a Malysian team to do the job."

Every time, it is the mistake of some one else. Now, it is the French mistake. He will keep trying until he gets it right. hahahahhahah.. I am truly crying instead. Do you believe that this family has an eternal inherited right to try things until it succeed? How many years have we been hearing of Reform until they changed the name to become renewal and improvement? Their crimes are evident, and people like you want to give them more time. Well, give them more time. Do you think they have the right to imprison people who speak out?

I can't believe you really are true to yourself.

Joseph ALi Mohammed

At 8/11/2005 09:18:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I have finally registered under this name. I have also created my own blog, by mistake, but I may use it.

At 8/11/2005 09:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ausama, I was always proud to be Syrian but i am more proud now after reading your notes ,that indicates to me that there is still hope for syria with people like you i agree with everything you wrote and i am also not baathist or alawey but i am like you a caring syrian Arab ,GOD BLESS YOU AND SYRIA .

At 8/12/2005 03:33:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

i remember seeing a comment by Joseph saying he will refrain from cursing others on this blog.

At 8/12/2005 07:24:00 AM, Anonymous Ibrahim said...


Occasional cursing is fine.

But repeated insults and cursing in each and every comment of "Joseph" should be stopped.

Please do something about it.

At 8/12/2005 07:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we look forward to whatever you learn about the use of courts to address sectarian issues in hiring and firing. I know that for many of the commentators, this will appear to be a small matter, but it is very revealing, if true, of public perceptions about the possible legitimacy and credibility of institutions such as courts -- something I am sure is very low in general.


At 8/12/2005 10:44:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...


I wonder if you are familiar with the Syria Judicial System under the Assads?

These shows, we are very well acquainted with. The Regime has done hundreds of magic acts since 1970 to fool the people, and to prolong its age. The Judges (Who are a 100% corrupt) will judge in your behalf and claim with you that the Sky is green at night if there is sufficient bribe, and/or an important Mukhabarat influence!

Perhaps you think that even if this is just a show, it will be useful, and may be the starting ignition for a better more fair future in the world of Justice in Syria! This is baseless. How can a regime that was built on corruption and brute power correct itself? for 35 years people like you had hope with every comedy this regime showed. They even sincerely tried to believe in the son (yes the biliogical son) of the dictator whose evil deeds can not be comapred with the worst uncivilized power hungry men in the history of man testify to his destruction work in the Syrian mentality/- and they stupidly but understandably gave him 5 years of praise before he even wrote a page about his philiosophy in life if he has one, before they knew anything except that he is the inheritor of power, and they begged him in every occassion to show "good" leadership and save Syria and Syrians from the effects of his criminal ego maniac father!

Now we know that as fathers as sons...and every thing else is just an illusion, and a game to be used against this lost people of Syria.

Joseph ALi Mohammed

At 8/12/2005 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

How pittiful can one be when he/she clings to the illusion of hope from the biological son of the killer who killed their fathers?

Such is the state of the Syrian people!

At 8/12/2005 12:22:00 PM, Anonymous Serious about the plan said...

Courts is Syria, legal and justice system!!!! Are you a Baathist acting so naturally stupid. Where the fuck you live, USA. You must be one of those fucking morons that believe there is an ant that is called god. If you even think that there is a remote chance of the existence of a court and legal/justice system in Syria, I recommend that you shoot yourself because you are too fucking ignorant to live and give humans such a bad trait.

Here is a real world example of Assads courts and Justice system:

After spending more than 8 years in courts, spending a fortune of money on lawyers and bribes, attempting to evict Alawites peasants from his land that was ceased by these scummy Alawites peasants when they kicked my dad and me out of the village chalet.
We got a judgment. Not because the court system is so fair, but the fucking land titles are in our names at the record office.

The judge said, although you got a judgment and a writ to evict those Alawites fuckers off your land, neither me nor this court has the political clout to enforce it. When we tried to persuade the equivalent of a Marshall to do it, he said his rank would not permit him to evict those peasants because many have higher ranks in the army than himself.

After dad passed away 2 years later, we went to the court to try again. This time the clerk said that your judgment was more than 2 years old and rats in the basement eat your file, since we have no computers and all the paper records were eating by rats you have to start all over again by filing a fresh case.

He was not kidding, he was serious. AND SO ARE WE.


At 8/12/2005 01:11:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...


Let me ask you this please!

Is your problem with the family you want to evict that they are Alawis?

Or is it because they do not want to vacate your home ?

Or is it both?

I see from your language that you are insisting that thsi regime continues to exist. Frankly when any civilized human being see your ignorance and the kind of secatrian racist mentality, one couldn't wish to replace this regime (though I am sure I hate it more than you do)!

Seek help man!

Joseph ALi Mohammed

At 8/12/2005 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Frankly, it is when I see people like Ezekiel speak up that I hate Hafez Assad and his son a lot more. After 35 years of total stability, and total dominance of Syria, we see the degree of hatred among Syrians for each other at a degree not witnessed previously. What were they doing during these 35 years except to use one sect against another in both Syria and Lebanon? What were they doing except to enrich their bank accounts for the few families that have power? What have they done in Syria to erase the differences between people, and in fact they did exactly the reverse which is to highten the differences and increase the hatred! There is not even a single good road between the cities in Syria. Tell me that there is that hiway which I know, and it was started before Assad took office, this as well as the Euphrates dam that he named after him which brought electricity to Syrian villages. He did nothing what so ever except stealing Syria's wealth, and oil and the dignity of the Syrian people. He did nothing but to empower the least educated and least deserving and forcing the good people to leave!

This is Modern Syria that he has left us. A country that is considered to be a garbage can.

Joseph ALi Mohammed

At 8/12/2005 03:03:00 PM, Anonymous Ezekiel said...

They were Alawites, it is a fact. I understand that make you upset because it insinuate that it includes you, but that is not the intention, not it is to be racist.
Just staing the fact and calling them what they are in foul language that do not includes all Alawaites either. You think I am stupid, don't know that they are the first and foremost victims of Assad's Baathist regime.

At 8/13/2005 05:06:00 AM, Anonymous shamee27 said...

To this EX arab,
I am so happy with what you said not because I like what you just said but because it prove my point that Arabs are useless bunch with out Islam, Islam left Arabs from the lowest level to the highest level, and the reason for the suffering of all Muslims in general and Arabs in particular is that they left their faith. We can’t solve the problem of our nation [MUSLIM NATION} by individual partial solutions, it has to be solution for the whole Ummah.
The question to this ex how can someone become an ex Arab lol did you take your body out of your skin , did you learn new language or maybe u asked for your brain to be washed ......:)

At 8/13/2005 07:03:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Dear and certainly lovely Shamee27,

You and your kind are the what brought us back from our so called highest level to our current lowest level. You can take your Muslim nation and Ummah and shove it down your racist closed minded religious dirty hole. Being Arabic has NOTHING to do with Islam and the day it truly does is the day Arabism is dead. I will tell that to Christian and Muslims fundamentalist like yourself. Religiousness is what is keeping us behind and it will continue to do so unfortunately. Because morons are increasing in numbers exponentionaly everyday. Islam was an inspirational driver but not the reason for Arabs conquering the world. It gave them a reason to feel special and that is a force that can bring out the best in humans. It wasn’t like God just declared Arabs great one day and the next changed his/her mind.

Sorry for this erratic way of writting but this kaffer woke up drunk from yesterday night's party.

At 8/13/2005 07:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you understand English?

Ex Arab insider, not ex Arab.

I wouldn't be honoured with being an Arab in any way.

You have left Islam? Wow..this is news to me.. Well, then follow your Bin Laden for he is following Islam. No?

Islam is truly the most brainwashing ideology a human being can be infefected with.

I truly feel it is a satanic ideology. Truly!

At 8/13/2005 08:27:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Ex Arab inside, same goes for you

At 8/13/2005 12:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



You're all crazy Arabs. I understand.

Ex Arab Insider

At 8/17/2005 06:12:00 AM, Blogger umgr8 said...

to Tarek are drunk now?
you r right God didn`t declare Arabs to be a great nation ,when Quran says"You were the best nation...." it meant muslims not neccesarly Arabs and to me a Turkish muslim is closer than a christian Arab

At 8/19/2005 12:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one goes out to Ghassan. I like how you represent the biased view of the syrians hassling people on the border. I too just returned from the region and visited all 3 nations via car. Id like to tell you that the lebanese "derak" (army-police?) force every exiting Syrian car to pay a "fee." Besides that, the "random" searches on the side of the road in shtaura and al masna3 really arent worth mentioning are they?

Maybe they are retalliatory measures but its only fair to present all the issues instead of picking those that serve your purpose.

have a good day


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