Thursday, September 22, 2005

Landis Defends: Young, Allaf, Abu Khalil Attack

My NYT op-ed, "Don't Push Syria Away," was criticised by Asad Abu Khalil, the Angry Arab, and Rime Allaf of Chatham House, the old Royal Institute for Foreign Affairs, in London. Michael Young of the Daily Star also critiqued my article. I will answer Asad first, because his remarks are just barking. Rime, however, has a substantive dispute with my argument, which will help me to explain my argument in more depth. Michael Young, I answer last.

The Angry Arab, Asad Abu Khalil, honors me with some of his exquisite invective.
Here is Abu Khalil:


Saturday, September 17, 2005
Here JOSHUA LANDIS pontificates about Syrian-US relations. But notice that here he wants to "inform" you that authoritarianism is NOT merely a governmental structure but that it "extends into the deepest corners of Syrian life, into families, classrooms and mosques." It must be in their genes, I guess. And notice this old trick which we knew from colonial times: when you want to make a racist point about the natives, or a generalization about "all of them" as this one makes, always cite the "authority" of a native you know. Or here he cites: "most Syrians." Imagine if I generalize about "most Americans" without having to cite polls.

He accuses me of colonialist attitudes and racism. Here he falls into the same trench with Bush -anyone who says Syria is not ready for democracy is a racist. I guess he believes, as Bush does, that God wants every country to be a democracy tomorrow? This is the ultimate neocon trap and `Asad has fallen into it. So America was right to have tried to export democracy to Iraq. Its only mistake was how it did it, disbanding the army, purging all Baathists, etc. If the Iraqis were ready for democracy then Bush's idea was sound - only the execution was faulty. The Angry Arab is blinded by his bile. Anyone who has taken democracy 101 knows it has nothing to do with blood, race, or DNA. Nurturing democracy has everything to do with institutions and culture, which are ever changing. Syria's institutions and culture are far from democratic. The argument that a liberal culture and proper institutions need to be cultivated before elections are carried out, especially in newly formed nations and deeply segmented societies like those of the Levant, are not new.

I wish Asad would describe one democratic institution in Syria. He certainly wouldn't choose the schools, where memorization of authorities is the key to any exam. There are no essay exams in Syria - only memorization - often from the text written by the professor. Here is one example. I was once given a stack of 500 blue books by a professor of English literature at the University of Damascus. It was the final exam and the only grade the students would received for the course. Every answer on every exam, save six exams, were verbatim regurgitations of the professor's lectures. Some enterprising student had recorded, transcribed and Xeroxed the notes of the professor's lectures and sold them to the rest of the class. The students memorized the lectures, including the copious misspellings and grammar mistakes of the transcriber. They then down-loaded them onto the blue book from memory. That is not the foundation of free thinking. The professor explained that the students passed if they memorized adequately. This is the standard practice in Syrian universities. It is not only my definition of an authoritarian education, however.

Abdullah Dardari, Syria's deputy Prime Minister recently released the "National Human Development Report - 2005: Education and Human Development in Syria." It is scathing attack on the authoritarian methods used in the Syrian schools. He used the word democracy at least four times in the executive summary and argued that only introducing critical thinking and promoting a real clash of ideas would develop the true potential of the Syrian people. But I am quoting a "native" informant, an old colonialist trick. The goofy Arab won't like that. He wants me to quote opinion surveys. But they don't exist in Syria - why don't they exist? Because Syria is authoritarian.

Here is a quote from Dardari's summary of findings:

"[This report] describes [the need] to shift from traditional, spoon-fed and authoritarian education, which presupposes the scarcity of information, to the concept of participatory, active and democratic education that is based on the abundance, access to and ownership of information.... Teaching methods, class interaction and evaluations remain authoritarian and based on memorization, which distorts the construction of the free and critical mind and autonomous student personality... [The teacher's role], especially in the basic education level, is still that of a dominant instructor.... The structure and orientation of the curriculum is still centrally mandated."
In Short, Dardari describes how authoritarianism, inadequate resources, centralized rote learning, and no libraries promote stunted human development in Syria, ever growing drop-out and decreasing graduation rates at every level of Syrian education. It produces an education that does not serve the needs of the economy or the human desire to be free and creative. In his concluding lines he calls for greater freedom as the key for Syrian development. He writes, "Education is the cornerstone of human development in Syria. Fundamentally, it produces choices in people's lives. Human development, it would seem, is nothing if not the freedom of opportunity."

Dardari's no-nonsense criticism of Syria's failing education system was an extraordinary breath of fresh air. I went to the public introduction of the report, which was attended by the relevant ministers and Asma al-Asad, among others. You could have heard a pin drop in the audience during the long and technical, power-point presentation of the main body of the report. Syrians are not used to hearing real criticism of their country by government officials. Jamal Barout, the author and presenter of the main findings stunned everyone when he projected a chart on the wall showing the comparison of Syrian and Israeli educational spending in order to drive home Syria's inadequacies. It was a refreshing and new honesty. Everyone loved it, even though the facts about the deterioration of Syrian education over the last decade were depressing. Better to say the truth than hid behind the usual anodyne blah blah that the Angry Arab and Rime Allaf would have us consume. Their desire to hide, or cover up, the truth because it is “insulting” stands in the way of real progress and the development of democratic institutions. I don’t think we should dispute that Syrian institutions and culture suffer from too little liberalism and democracy.

Reem Allaf writes:


"it will be news to all Syrians to hear Josh's shocking explanation for this: "because authoritarian culture extends into the deepest corners of Syrian life, into families, classrooms and mosques." What a ridiculous, insulting, and completely wrong statement on its own."
Here again we get a whiff of wounded ethnic pride, but Reem does not actually present a counter argument. She just says I am "insulting and completely wrong" about authoritarianism in Syrian society.

Evidence for this lack of liberalism in Syrian mosques and religious education can be found in my recent survey of the main ideas contained in the school textbooks that all Syrian school children must read and memorize as part of their state education. Here is the essay: "Islamic Education in Syria: Undoing Secularism," Also Translated into Arabic here. It begins:

Islamic education in Syrian schools is traditional, rigid, and Sunni. The Ministry of Education makes no attempt to inculcate notions of tolerance or respect for religious traditions other than Sunni Islam. Christianity is the one exception to this rule. Indeed, all religious groups other than Christians are seen to be enemies of Islam, who must be converted or fought against. The Syrian government teaches school children that over half of the world’s six billion inhabitants will go to hell and must be actively fought by Muslims.
If fact, there is not one mention of Shiite, Alawi, Druze or other Islamic traditions in Syria's religious curriculum. This is not liberalism and does not prepare Syrians to understand "the other" or get along in a world where religious tolerance is not "enforced by the government." Also see the section on the ideal Islamic government recommended for Syria. It is not very democratic. I include plenty of quotes from the school texts, so you don't have to take my word for it.

The next disagreement Rime has with me is over the effectiveness of the liberal Syrian opposition and how its members feel about regime collapse in Syria and the nature of Syrian society. These are important questions and deserve debate. Michael Young also disputes me on this. Let me quote Rime at some length.



I will limit my comments to the article's most ridiculous and insulting assertions. Josh is under the impression that the regime's "most hard-bitten enemies" do not want to see it collapse. That will be news to them, and it will be news to all Syrians to hear Josh's shocking explanation for this: "because authoritarian culture extends into the deepest corners of Syrian life, into families, classrooms and mosques." What a ridiculous, insulting, and completely wrong statement on its own, let alone when used to explain why enemies of the regime want it to stay! Do Syrians, enemies of the regime included, have an inherently authoritarian culture (and consequently don't want to see the regime collapse)?

He continues with another fantastic proposition: "Damascus's small liberal opposition groups readily confess that they are not prepared to govern." That will be news to them, as it is to me. I don't recall critics of the regime claiming they had no other alternatives; on the contrary, numerous members of the opposition have readily discussed their plans for the new phase that would come when "reform" of some sort happens. But Josh thinks that "like most Syrians, they fear the deep religious animosities and ethnic hatreds that could so easily tear the country apart if the government falls." In other words, this regime is keeping the peace amongst a savage population that can't wait to attack people of other ethnicities or religious denominations? What an insult. And what a complete disregard for the thousands of years of tolerance in Syria, where people didn't need to wait for the Baathist regime to live peacefully.
First: Rime claims that Syria’s opposition members believe that they are prepared to govern, but she does not quote anyone.

Let me quote the dean of the Syria opposition, Riad al-Turk, who is often called the “Mandela” of the Syrian opposition. I interviewed him at length earlier this year. You can search for it on "Syria Comment." But here is a paragraph from an interview that Joe Pace did with Riad al-Turk only two weeks ago. The entire interview will be posted soon by Joe on Syria comment. Here is Riad al-Turk’s reply to Joe’s question about whether the opposition is ready to govern.
Riad al-Turk: “The opposition today is suffering from an intellectual crisis. It is intellectually backwards and incapable of communicating with the populace. If you examined the membership of the opposition parties you’d discover that the younger members are in their mid-40s. They are not attracting the youth. These parties are totally detached from the younger generations… Anyone who tells you that the opposition is effective or doing a good job is lying to you.”

Joe Pace: I mentioned Farid Ghadry's claim that in six months, the foreign based opposition would be capable of governing the country as a replacement for the current regime. He responds:

Riad al-Turk: “That is nonsense. We have been working for more than 30 years and we are still being imprisoned. Work in Syria is still extremely difficult and there is no mobilized, politicized street. This is the difficult task ahead of us.”
Here is how Yasin Hajj Salih answered the same questions. (Yasin is one of the smartest and most respected members of civil society here. He spent many years in prison for his support of the Communist Party. I must thank Joe Pace for sending me his interview with Hajj Salih and choosing Syria Comment as the place to publish. This interview is all transcribed and waiting to be published as soon as Yasin gives it the OK. I asked Yasin similar questions during a meeting a week ago. He was excited to see the regime in the docket, because he had been tortured in prison, as so many have been. All the same, he was very concerned and fearful about the future of the country.)
Joe Pace: What’s your reading on why the opposition is so weak and ineffective?

Hajj Salih: In my mind, there are three reasons. The first is the intense oppression that has continued from the 1970s until today, and in the last three months there has been a heightened degree of oppression. They arrested and killed thousands of people from the opposition beginning in the 1970s.

The second problem is the nature of Syrian society. The Syrians today fear each other more than they fear from the authorities. Syria is a society that features a plurality of religions and ethnicities, including larger groups like Muslims, Christians, and Druze and smaller groups like the Armenians and Circassians. In the past thirty years there has developed a crisis of trust between them. The Arabs fear the Kurds and the Kurds don’t trust the Arabs. The Christians are afraid of the Muslims and the Muslims are apathetic or sometimes antagonistic toward the Kurds. The secularists are afraid of the Islamists and the Islamists hate the secularists. Many people fear the other more than they fear the regime. On the contrary, the regime under these circumstances becomes the solution in the sense that it is the only thing that prevents the eruption of ethnic conflict.

There have always been Kurds, Alawis, and Sunnis and in our history, but there has never been such a crisis of trust as has developed in the last thirty years. The responsibility lies with the regime and the Muslim Brotherhood. The regime was responsible because it reified sectarianism through its nepotism. It dispensed all the most important jobs to the Alawis. The Muslim Brotherhood was also responsible: in 1979 they killed some 80 officers in the Defense School of Aleppo, almost all of whom were Alawi. The simple fact that someone was Alawi warranted his targeting among the Brotherhood and this enhanced the regime’s status in the eyes of minorities. Alawis, Christians, and Druze began to look to the regime to protect them from the Sunni majority, to ensure that they wouldn’t become second class citizens or ahal ath-thimma. Maybe the elite in those minority groups didn’t accept this outlook, but they didn’t deviate too much from their people.

You could call it a crisis of national confidence. And this sectarianism has weakened the prospects of an ethnically cross-cutting, political opposition from emerging in Syria. It’s very important that parties emerge in which Christians, Sunnis, Kurds, and Alawis can meet. The Communist party fulfilled that function in the past, but it has suffered a crisis of its own. Now Christians, Sunnis, and Alawis participate in the party but the Kurds have left. Some Kurds still participate in an opportunist way, but that’s it.

When the regime cracked down on the organizations of the opposition, the parties were the solution that society stumbled upon. When you repress the parties, for all practical purposes you are imprisoning the people in a framework of traditional or family-centric membership. If I’m prohibited from being Nasserist or Baathist or Communist, I will be Sunni or Alawi or Kurdish. The crushing of independent, free political life in Syria has fostered a rebirth of sectarianism and this has created this crisis.

[The third reason is economic – in short, Syrians are too poor to get involved in politics.]
I don’t have to add very much to these statements by two of the smartest and most experienced leaders of the Syrian opposition. Riad al-Turk contradicts Rime’s assertion that the opposition believes it is ready to rule or has mobilized more than 200 followers. After all, he says: “Anyone who tells you that the opposition is effective or doing a good job is lying to you.”

Hajj Salih argues that the reemergence of sectarian identity and the debilitating ethnic and communal divisions in Syrian society have made the regime the one stabilizing factor in the minds of the people and that the opposition is divided and weak. He argues: "sectarianism has weakened the prospects of an ethnically cross-cutting, political opposition from emerging in Syria." He adds, "the regime under these circumstances becomes the solution in the sense that it is the only thing that prevents the eruption of ethnic conflict."

Everyone believes that the Asad regime has played a vital role in impeding the emergence of an effective civil society and democratic opposition. This is why many Americans and Lebanese,and a few Syrians, argue that America and France should destroy the regime in Syria.

I believe, and argued in my op-ed, that this solution is too dangerous because it is likely to open Pandora’s box and let out the furies of chaos and war. I believe the West should have engaged with Bashar to use its considerable might and economic leverage to support the liberalization of Syrian society. I believe Bashar could have been part of the solution. The West should have allied itself with those regime members - such as Dardari and many others, who are struggling for reform within the present system. It must also support the democratic opposition, which it has not done. This is a long and tedious solution to Syria’s and America’s problems. It is much harder than imposing more sanctions on Syria.

America is now locking the West into a sanctions regime that will only impoverish Syrians without toppling the regime. This is how sanctions worked in Iran, Serbia, Iraq, Cuba, Palestine… This will only lead to the Gaza syndrome. When the regime does finally fall, perhaps in a decade, Syrian society will be so abused, uneducated and radicalized that the situation will be infinitely worse and Syrians will be less able to find a peaceful solution to their problems. If the West would work with the regime to provide economic growth and administrative reform, etc. -- these are things I believe Bashar is capable of delivering in small doses – Syria would develop in a more positive direction. Were the West to support reform rather than revolution in Syria, or just simply leave it along, I believe things would be better in the long run and Syrians would find a way out of their present impasse and Baathist quagmire. I do not mean the West should or could provide financial support on the level of Jordan or Egypt, but merely modest technical support. After all, look how long it took Egypt to improve its economic situation and begin realizing the effects of the infitah? It has been 30 years since Sadat began opening up Egypt. Only in the last 5 years have we begun to see real positive results and increased growth rates. Sadat was assassinated and Mubarak has had tremendous western help. It is not easy transforming a society. That is the lesson of Egypt and Jordan. The fragility of the Middle Eastern state and the dangers of breaking it are everywhere to see - Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, and Iran to name a few. There are no good options for the West in Syria - there are only less bad ones. I think supporting the present regime to reform rather than setting it up to fail is the wisest option. Opponents of this view say Bashar has had five years and failed - no more chances. I think this is a foolish time line.

It has belatedly come to my attention that Michael Young of the Daily Star has critiqued my argument in an opinion piece. I don't have time to do it justice with a proper response right now, though I think I have answered many of his arguments above. I have the greatest respect for Michael and have found his arguments and analysis the most challenging and difficult to contend with.

Like many who are fed up with Bashar and the Baathist regime, Michael believes I am too optimistic about Syria. I would argue that I am more pessimistic than Michael is. He is a real believer that the Middle East is ready for democracy. I am not. He believes that if the evil regimes in the region are eliminated, good societies will find a better and happier solution to governance. I do not believe Syrian society has an answer right now to how to govern Syria. Unlike Michael, I believe that the turmoil likely to be produced in the wake of government collapse will destroy the most positive aspects of Syrian society - its fun loving conviviality and peacefulness. I think things would radicalize quickly here. I believe the great majority of peaceful and tolerant people would be overwhelmed quickly by those with guns, who are willing to use them and kill. I think we would see Syrian Zarqawis emerge. They would find followers, and, with a few killings, radicalize the many peaceful Syrians, who cannot see themselves bearing malice toward fellow Syrians today. Hate would spread and everyone would be forced to take the side of their religious or ethnic community. This is what we saw happen in Lebanon in the 1970s. This is what is happening in Iraq today. It can happen in Syria. It is not an insult to good liberal Syrians to say so. It is the unfortunate reality. They want to find a way out of the Baathist trap - but I don't suspect most will like what America is cooking up, as Michael thinks they will. Also, Michael wants justice for Lebanon and for the death of Hariri. That is a good thing. I don't think Lebanon will get it through regime-change in Syria. I think a broken Syria will hurt Lebanon's prospects for binding its own society together, growing its economy, and producing a better Middle East.

Michael, Rime and `Asad must be able to reasure us about what will come after Asad and regime collapse here. If they can convince me that positive things will happen, I am ready to conceed. As my mother-in-law always asks me: "shoo al-badiil? What is the alternative." When they can answer that question in a way that convinces me that Bashar is worse than than their scenario, I will be happy. I just cannot go with a faith-based scenario: "trust America - Syria is prepared to produce something better than it has today."

Also read Tony Badran's fun post: "Bash Josh Fest" in which he takes on Rime and `Asad, while giving me a good black eye - or trying to. He also has an earlier post criticising my article. It is similar to Michael's, and he promises further debate, which I look forward to. Tony has some good chops.

Here are more comments I received:

Mr. Landis: Syria was a flourishing democracy with plenty of democratic institutions prior to March 8-1963. It was chaos but it was democracy nevertheless!!!??? Let me tell you a story, when I was a little child, I went with my mother to the polling place with tears in her eyes...she was voting for the first time in her life for the president of Syria. Few months later, we all had tears in our eyes when the Soviet-Made Baathists tanks were rolling down the streets of Damascus. The tanks tracks destroying the wonderful streets of Damascus became etched in my mind to this day. That is despite the fact that I have lived most of my life in the USA. Sir, I will never, ever forget the insults and other shameful expressions being hurled at my community and my neighbors by the Baathists hooligans and their armed thugs passing through the peaceful streets of my area.

You need to realize that Syria has over than 10,000 years of social evolution, many do's and don’ts...a true problem for the Syrians, but not insurmountable. To say who is going to replace the current orders of things in that poor country, my answer is plenty. Plenty of people with good will toward their own people and the country at large. You also need to realize, as you may already know, that Syria was one of the most progressive country of the world prior to that dark curse of March 8-1963. Today, Syria today is in the bottom of the abyss, ruled by dungeons, basements, lonely incarceration cells and mass murders. Finally, I would like the say that the 9/11 attack on my beloved city NYC, has awakened all Americans from Syrian decent, new immigrants, first generations, second generations and so forth...
I do not know how things will turn out, but you must seriously realize that things will never, ever be the same....
Syria, eventually will return to its roots, civil, liberal, free and democratic.
Best regards,
Houston, TX.

-----
Dear Professor, I would first like to start by saying, on behalf of all the people that really know the Syrian way of life, thank you for posting that article. I'm a first generation Syrian American. My father and mother came to this country after the 1967 arab-Israeli war. I have been to that country over 12 times in my 30 years of life, and it's the most peaceful place on earth. It really upsets me when comments are made about Syria not doing enough to stop terrorism. The world condemned Hafez-Al Assad in early 80's when he crushed an armed rebellion of the radical Muslim Brotherhood , which at the time had members like Ayman Al-Zawhiri Bin Laden right hand man. I sometimes think had he not done that, Sunni extremism would have a different meaning today ,(Sunni ultra-extremism). I can truly say that your comments hit the nail right on the head. Peace in the middle east can only go through Damascus, even now on the eastern front in Iraq. As for the Lebanese ingratitude towards Syria, really makes me sick. Syria was the only country that brought stability in the region. A multi force that included the U.S. and France, weren’t able to achieve that objective. Most of the comments that replied to your article were mostly from racist and ignorant people. I applaud you sir, your have courage that I wish our politicians have. It's written in the Bible that Damascus will be the last city standing.
----

Dear Joshua,
I understood the following: As long as the Sunnis make the majority Syria does not deserve a democracy. So either we kill the majority of Sunnis and make them a minority or remain under the Assad Junta. This is your advice to the US government.
How about allowing and pressuring the establishment of a moderate religious parties who do not advocate the killing of innocents? Why don’t you see this as an option.

----
Joshua, I really enjoy reading your website. I am a Christian Syrian and have family which live there, our family biggest concerns in the region is Assad family is pressured out of power. The Sunni had confronted many of our family members and had threaten to have them killed if the Assad family is overthrown. So being able to get your daily comments and others which contribute to your reports have been very helpful.

Meanwhile, David Yuhas has this novel solution:

"Look to the spine for the source of many an ailment" said some old Greek...& in Iraq we have a case in point. The natural Syrian-Iraqi border is not the current Percy Cox Line of 1923, which is nothing but a relic of the British Empire, but, the Tigris-44 Line. Iraq does not have a "Sunni Triangle", but a "Syrian West". The proper name for "Anbar Province" is "The Syrian Desert". The Baath Party is not an Iraqi party, but a Syrian party, founded in Damascus in the 1930s. Saddam Hussein, ne "al Tikriti" is an ethnic Syrian, & only an Iraqi citizen because, in the aftermath of WWI, Britain imagined it could rule Iraq through Syrian proxies if it put the Syrian Desert on the Iraqi side of the Syrian-Iraqi border.

With this proposal, Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia would be neutralized...& Iraq would be free to rebuild its infrastructure & get back on its feet.

--
I read your article with great interest. This is exactly the type of analysis one would expect from a Professor at an institution known for being such a center of Middle East expertise as the University of Oklahoma.

Regards,

----

Dear Professor, I would first like to start by saying, on behalf of all the people that really know the Syrian way of life, thank you for posting that article. I'm a first generation Syrian American. My father and mother came to this country after the 1967 arab-Israeli war. I have been to that country over 12 times in my 30 years of life, and it's the most peaceful place on earth. It really upsets me when comments are made about Syria not doing enough to stop terrorism. The world condemned Hafez-Al Assad in early 80's when he crushed an armed rebellion of the radical Muslim Brotherhood , which at the time had members like Ayman Al-Zawhiri Bin Laden right hand man. I sometimes think had he not done that, Sunni extremism would have a different meaning today ,(Sunni ultra-extremism). I can truly say that your comments hit the nail right on the head. Peace in the middle east can only go through Damascus, even now on the eastern front in Iraq. As for the Lebanese ingratitude towards Syria, really makes me sick. Syria was the only country that brought stability in the region. A multi force that included the U.S. and France, weren’t able to achieve that objective. Most of the comments that replied to your article were mostly from racist and ignorant people. I applaud you sir, your have courage that I wish our politicians have. It's written in the Bible that Damascus will be the last city standing.
-----

Dear Joshua,
I understood the following: As long as the Sunnis make the majority Syria does not deserve a democracy. So either we kill the majority of Sunnis and make them a minority or remain under the Assad Junta. This is your advice to the US government.
How about allowing and pressuring the establishment of a moderate religious parties who do not advocate the killing of innocents? Why don’t you see this as an option.

-----

Joshua, I really enjoy reading your website. I am a Christian Syrian and have family which live there, our family biggest concerns in the region is Assad family is pressured out of power. The Sunni had confronted many of our family members and had threaten to have them killed if the Assad family is overthrown. So being able to get your daily comments and others which contribute to your reports have been very helpful.
----
Meanwhile, David Yuhas has this novel solution:

"Look to the spine for the source of many an ailment" said some old Greek...& in Iraq we have a case in point. The natural Syrian-Iraqi border is not the current Percy Cox Line of 1923, which is nothing but a relic of the British Empire, but, the Tigris-44 Line. Iraq does not have a "Sunni Triangle", but a "Syrian West". The proper name for "Anbar Province" is "The Syrian Desert". The Baath Party is not an Iraqi party, but a Syrian party, founded in Damascus in the 1930s. Saddam Hussein, ne "al Tikriti" is an ethnic Syrian, & only an Iraqi citizen because, in the aftermath of WWI, Britain imagined it could rule Iraq through Syrian proxies if it put the Syrian Desert on the Iraqi side of the Syrian-Iraqi border.

With this proposal, Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia would be neutralized...& Iraq would be free to rebuild its infrastructure & get back on its feet.

-- ---

I read your article with great interest. This is exactly the type of analysis one would expect from a Professor at an institution known for being such a center of Middle East expertise as the University of Oklahoma.

Regards,

-----

Dear Professor Landis,

Ihave red with great interest of one of the rare articles concerning Syria written by a competent and clear-sighted analyst.

Your article in the NYH of September 20,2005 is brilliant but...is this a shout in the desert?

I am a Swiss lawyer following closely events in the Middle East for over 40 years and travelled there often, including Syria acbout 6 years ago. I am devastated by the lack of understanding by the current US Administration about this area of the world, its ignorance of the true historical and religious background, One blunder after another has now placed the US in the position of the hated invader instead of the "liberator".

Your article is a breath of fesh air.Please continue,perhaps one day it will be heard in Washington DC.
Best regards,

Pierre R.Monney

32 Comments:

At 9/22/2005 07:19:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Thank you New York Times for the great Newspaper which
makes great poop and piss-absorbent material in my animal farm.

While I was having my 4 years old girl lay down the new NYT on the
dusty floor of the chics bin, I noticed an Op-Ed article written by
American Baathist John Landis titled "Don't push Syria Away, I was paid
big money to say that" or something like that.

I was outraged that this kind of faulty and deliberately misleading
political propaganda is published by the NYT. But then I got to my senses
back and realized how lucky I am that NYT always makes this kind of
political support to Kissinger boy Alawites-Baathist Dictator Bashar Assad
I mean, do you know how expensive it will be if I have to lay down other
absorbent material for the hens to piss on it. It cost a lot of money
but your paper saves me a lot.

One can't help respond to the crap written in that article, and please
assure me that although I degraded myself and wrote to a piss-absorbent
paper. I will be very insulted if you ever publish any of my comments in your
paper. My comments here are just to let you know that the crap this
American Baathist Landis publish is just that. CRAP.

Here is the response to the article, it was posted on his syriacomment.com.......................repeated the same response posted under the comment in this syriacrap.com

Will add this: Landis, make sure you run away when Syria is free, you will be barking from the cow manure university that sent you there for life, you may even stop barking language and start mooying, will learn to speak moo.

 
At 9/22/2005 07:24:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Looks like teh little evil dictator that Landis is supporting either still waiting for Mossad list of new minister to announce his new government or rolled up his sleaves and is riding in those Chevy pickup trucks that are stealing all the cash out of the Central Bank at midnight, shipping it by the truckloads to that parked Airbus, or is it a Boing this load?.

 
At 9/22/2005 07:39:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

scant intelligence analysis show that several comments written here are mock ups, not real. Looks like Alawites-Baathists and the hired American P.R. Firm doing a job that at Baathist standard is okay. In American Standards, they will not be called P.R. firm and teh Alawite dictator is for sure the only client they got.

Although these mock-up commnets give us a good opportunity to respond and further show the evil nature of Landis and the Baathist dictatorship he is supporting, we have to pass. Because we are very Busy preparing to leave to Washington D.C. for an emergency meeting called by the Pentagon Planning Office.

See you in Damascus soon.

 
At 9/22/2005 08:27:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

What a fruit loop!!!

But anyways....

People are entitled to their own opinion and hating the Syrian government is one’s right. But the problem with such critics is that their incapability of suppressing their passionate loathe while writing a balanced critique. And there lies the major difference between the so-called “pro” camp and the “opposition”. We (the dirty Baathist camp) have no problem with criticizing the Syrian government for its many failures. But we also try to remember the positives because the situation is not so black and white. And our criticism attempts to be constructive because we genuinely care about the country’s future and its people. On the other hand, most of these critics’ only concern is to push their political view/agenda whatever the backdrop might be. I would say Tony, Michael and Asad defiantly fall into that category. Anyways I had already posted my comments to Young’s, Rime’s posts. So ill just paste them below.

For Rime’s
Innocent_Criminal
Tuesday, September 20, 2005, 20:47
You make good points, and I glad to see your heart is in the right place. But I think you misunderstood/took-out-of-context much of his arguments. In the Sunni example, his point is that the ONLY organized political Sunni groups are those who are fundamentalists. So in the mean time the best option is the current government change of behavior instead of changing the current government. In my humble opinion, I tend to agree with that point of view.


Young’s piece:
Young?s article is valid on many points but only in an ideal world. On the other hand, I am sure he would defend the completely dissolute decision to invade Iraq on the simple foundation that ends justify the means.
I totally agree with him that politics is all about relevance and Syria has lost relevance due to its own mistakes, because allowing foreign countries to play you that way (among other mistakes) is Syria?s responsibility and no one else?s. But there is no doubt that Michael?s ?views? are politically motivated (it wouldn?t be the first time). I don?t hear him barking about the extremely similar authoritarian regimes of Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, etc. The only difference is that Syria is Israel?s only remaining Arab enemy.
He also makes a humongous and belligerent bogus declaration when he says ?This is deeply deceptive; the Hariri investigation is not an American-Syrian issue; it's an issue between the international community, represented by the United Nations, and Syria.? OH HELL NO you didn?t, the scary part is I really think he believes this crap. Can anyone recall the last time the UN did anything big without American consent or control on??? The Hariri murder is being overplayed because it can and has hurt Syria and that?s in America?s (and allies) best strategic interest. They are not trying to hurt Syria because of its dictatorship or human rights record mind you; but instead because of its foreign policy. And here is another to ponder; do you see any UN led investigation into George Hawi?s murder? Why is the life of one man worth more than the other? Because of the consequences and how they can be leveraged, not to mention the 4 billion dollar difference in assets.
And please keep in mind one thing, whatever happens, the US is not stupid enough for an all out military confrontation. Nobody would support such a move in or outside of America. Isolating Syria in the long-term wont hurt the leadership but it sure will sting the hell out of the mass public. Destabilizing Syria by using local groups who are willing to employ violence will meet the same fate as the one the Muslim Brotherhood met in the early 80?s. So, like it or not, you will have to deal with the Assad?s for at least the mid-term.

 
At 9/22/2005 08:48:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

This self appointed American Expert in Syria, so called History professor who is ignoring history itself and basing his arguments on bent logic that does not stand the scrutiny of any rational thinking wants to reward the Assads with the task of moderinizing the Syrian people's mentality that, in his opinion, and based on his specific knowledge is "Authoritarian" in its roots dating back to 10000 years of existence!. He wants to change this Authoritarian mentality by giving the Assad regime few more years during which this mellenium old mentality could change by their blessings and thier geniuses!

One can not but feel repugnant to such illogic presented as logic! Mr. Landis does not shy away from admitting that many of Syria's malaise were created by this regime through 4 decades of continuous attacks on Syria's institutions and the creation of the bribe mentality among Syrians (that had not existed prior to the Assads), yet, this self promoting idiot making his living out of analysing Syria, and making a name for himself out of his propaganda to keep the oppression of the Assads on the Syrian people continues to present Sunnis as the savages of Syria, and forgetting that those Same Sunnis gave the world the Moores civilization that taught the French people how to eat according to the American history books that are taught in the Oklahoma Univeristies themselves!

And I am an Alawi.



You need to learn few lessons in human freedom Mr. landis, and human rights. You should speak loud about the oppression of the Syrian people by the thugs that are from or around the family of Assad that you are defending, but you opted to try to fool the world instead!

JAM

 
At 9/22/2005 09:17:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Note to SRP:

Please see with me that the real danger comes from some Sunnis who the regime uses and has always found easy to find to use, such as Dardary who is giving his services to promote the life of this regime for his own success, as Khadam, Masharqah, Tlas, Kadoura, and so on. I believe that fighting those Sunnis is more impoortant than to label the regime as Alawi, and to attaclk Alawis in general. It is those Sunnis that people like Mr. Landis can use so freely and present them as exderts and knowledgeable, etc... that are in fact more dangerous to the people of Syria than the Alawi officers that maintain the physical security of the regime. Without such people like Dardary, the regime can not survive even for one more day.

Let's put our fight where it is most useful! Who is this new thief, Dardary? Find more about him, and uncover him, and shut his mouth asap.

JAM

 
At 9/22/2005 09:21:00 AM, Blogger Ghassan said...

Dr. Landis, my response to your mother-in-law question: "shoo al-badiil? What is the alternative" is: ANYONE is better than this regime! The regime of Asad (Bashar and Maher), Kanan, Ghazeli and the like! Syria did not STABILIZE Lebanon, it used the "divide and conquer strategy" to CONTROL Lebanon which will never last forever. Look what is happening now in Lebanon, freedom of speech, democratic "although not fair" election. Who would dare before to criticize a president and demand his resignation. I think that Syrians should get out of this "abusive" relationship with the Asad regime regardless of what are the consequences and try to build a good civilized, democratic life starting from scratch! Please ask your mother-in-law what will be her advice to her daughter if she is in an abusive relationship getting beaten up everyday, even if her daughter has nowhere to go or no way to support herself? Do you think she will advice her daughter to stay in this abusive relationship until she is sure that she has a "badiil"? No! I will tell my daughter/son to get out of this situation even if he/she does not know what the future is hiding for him/her! ANYTHING is better than this current situation!

 
At 9/22/2005 09:54:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I remember 1975!

In 1975, Hafez Assad, the first thug of Syria appointed Abdel Kareem Al Kas'em, a so called Sunni Millionaire with a genius under his belt! to do what? To become the Prime Minister to solve Syria's corruption that started in 1970! He created the so called Econmic Corruption law that since then was responsible to a lot of misery in every thing in Syria.


I remember the propaganda that was created around Al Kas'em in that year. It is no different from what they are creating now around Dardary. We are tired, Mr. Landis. This is non stop trickery, and you are directly participating in its promotion!

Bashar hired a French Team, very highly paid team, to do what? to solve Syria's so called administrative malaise!!! He then said that this team has failed. Remarkable how the French team failed in Syria... but what was the solution or alternative that this Bashar of yours has proposed to replace with? A Malaysian Team...may be less paid than the French team, but he is putting his so called hopes in this new team, to solve what? To solve Syria's malaise that he is purpetrating that it is an administrative malaise!

Enough BS, Mr. Landis. This regime has to go...


The Syrian people need to regain their status as Human Beings first and among all other needs. You said yourself that the people see themselves as sheep! Look at the Iraqis, they were sheep too during a similar regime for 3 decades, but I know for certainty that their present situation is a trillion times better than what they had before. From day one of their freedom in 2003, people felt the free air for the first time in a long time, and went into the streets. They have killings, civil war perhaps, etc..., but they are humans again, not sheep, and that is what counts most.

So, get lost with your theories to save this corrupt and very oppressive regime!

JAM

 
At 9/22/2005 10:10:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

JAM , don't take it personallly, you know that we know who brought, supported and is benefiting from this regime. Just bare with us on this leg of a multipart strategy.
You know that SRP care about all the minorities of Syria, especially the Alawites.

 
At 9/22/2005 10:11:00 AM, Blogger dimashqia said...

I love your article...as a member of one of those elite minority, I would love to see a change. Even though we have been elevated under the regime, these past few years have proven to be difficult for us. The country has already started to radicalize - lets look at the construction of mosques or even the attendance in local mosques and churches. I believe it is time for Syria to make a drastic change - the current regime doesn't have to be separate from that change. It is time that they give something back for the all the blood and gold that they have stolen. Let's have a constructive argument...how do we:
1- Convince the Assad regime to be more tolerant and to begin make some serious changes?
2- Convince the American regime that this path that they have taken is not the answer?
3- What can force dialogue?
This is what we should discuss...how to make a real difference. What messages need to be sent so that Syria and its people survive?

 
At 9/22/2005 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Damsheqiah?

I wonder how you can ask the criminal, the killer to take care of his victim!

This absolutely makes no sense.

I stated above how many times, this regime pretended to be "correcting", only to create more injustice, more oppression, more reasons for Syrians to become "sheep"..

So, what are you really talking about?

What minority you are?

Minorities always lived in peace and harmony in Syria prior to his regime. To say that this regime that itself has created this friction between teh peoples of Syria will be the saviour is crazy.



SRO: I am not taking it personally. I am speaking in logical terms. I am talking about how this regime promotes people every now of then, from among the Sunnis so it can gain more time. Kas'em, Zou'bi, ...., and now Dardary...please see to it that this is where the real false hope that people like Josh use to propagate the false hopes.

We are tired!

JAM

 
At 9/22/2005 10:56:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Note:


I have resisted coming back to this forum. However, today's article by Joshua is way beyond the ability of a Syrian to stay away from it. He who has nothing to lose if the regime stays on, wants this regime to survive and florish. The way he is cutting and pasting quotations from Turk, or others to support his views is dishonest, and misleading to those who may not know such about the Syrian people and about Syria.

I found myself really obliged today to come here and post what I have posted. I felt it was my duty to stand on this man's face and show how he is misusing facts, and trying to mislead the world that is reading.

My sympathy for the land of Syria that it has this man on its soil.

Pity the Syrian people for having this man as "their friend".

Thanks

JAM

 
At 9/22/2005 01:34:00 PM, Blogger O.D.M said...

Syrian Republican Party,

It is good that out of 12 comments for this post so far, you have 11 of them. Because later on, once you FINALLY find out that nobody cares about you, annd your party, all you will use all this experience in writing!

 
At 9/22/2005 01:40:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I am glad that Mr. As'ad Abu Khalil has responded that fast to Josh's today's post.

It is a wonderful reply:

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2005/09/bomb-them-or-talk-to-them-joshua.html

 
At 9/22/2005 02:37:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Thank you Mr. Landis for giving us the opportunity to publish this material in response to the content of your comment. We respect your opinion, however we are sure from an academician point of view and to help the academic community you will appreciate this response and respect our right to air a different views. He re is our rebuttal on this comment.

“…..And it could have been an opportunity for two countries that have notably tense relations to talk…..”
The United States gave this regime 43 years to rule. Nothing changed. You reap what you saw. Several American Presidents met and achieved nothing. Kissinger the devil agent has defended this regime for decades, numerous Secretaries of State visited Damascus and yet nothing changed. Hundreds of meetings and not a hint of change. Talking more to this regime will be considered insanity. This regime in Syria is directly responsible for the death of more than 10,000 Americans and the injury for life of more than 20,000 more. You do not talk to this kind of regime, you deal with it effectively.

“…..Many in Washington argue that Syria is the "low-hanging fruit…."
Yep, it does not take more than 10 million U.S. Dollars and 2 months to have a regime change in Syria. Got 3 mil down payment? I am sure we can strike an oil deal that is more lucrative and ethical than the one you strikes with Rami Makhloof. The Israeli can strike a much more mutually beneficial deal on the Golan too.

“…….Many in Washington argue that Syria is the "low-hanging fruit" in the Middle East, and that the United States should send it down the path to "creative instability….”
There are “many” smart policy makers in Washington? Maybe they can solve the deficit and the price of gasoline. Unfortunately, this claim of “many” is very, very exaggerated. Please name some names, we like to contact them and give them some appreciation, they must feel very, very, very lonely at the bottom. Like they say it is lonely at the bottom, or is lonely at the top?

“……But this is a dangerous fantasy that will end up hurting American goals……”
Nothing more will bring America more peace and security than regime change in Syria. Nothing more will bring glory to America than to champion the cause of the oppressed Syrians. When, and if, President George W Bush take charge of the greedy clowns around him, and decides to seriously remove this source of instability and insecurity to the Middle East that is directly contributing to terrorism, that is constantly, for decades, claimed hundred of thousands of lives and it is hanging over Israel, America and Western Europe he will find outspoken partners who will not only convey the message loud and clear but make sure that the plans are 100% successful.

“…..Damascus's small liberal opposition groups readily confess that they are not prepared to govern…..”
There are 87 committee members in SSPRS and each one of them including me, can run Syria as a part time job. Syria’s current annual revenue from exports, including oil is less than Mars bar sales in USA, that is “MARS candy bar” only not including other item such as Hershey’s. When you have democracy and freedom, you do not need 300,000+ paid security and intelligence and torture apparatus. When you have peace, you do not need to spend 20% on your GDP on armament, when you have notable family as uncorrupt officials and Government administrators you do not need to drain your National resources and cash. It is very easy to run a free uncorrupt country. Sweden is just one example of a hundred effective government operating on this planet that are less than 10% of the size of the Baathist Syrian government and yet it is a country that is made up of migrants from all over the planet just like the United States and for little country like that it exports annually products (not pumped oil ) that is hundreds of folds more than Syria.

“……Nonetheless, Washington seems to be pursuing a policy of regime change on the cheap in Syria…..”
OH Yeah… I wish that is true, I doubt the Israeli will let them do that. The last thing the Israeli wants is prosperous, secure and economically developed Syria and Lebanon. The model that the Petro-Zionist are trying to force is more like divide and rule. Breaking the region into chunks that are smaller than Israel, and can be maintained by a religious sect leader or an oil company executive. They are not planning on having a real government that is not corrupted, one that will not ship the resources under the table and the cash in plane loads to western banks. Who you are trying to fool but yourself. If they are so serious about regime change on the cheap as you claim, why have they not established a Syrian congress of exiles that will unite all the Syrians opposition or otherwise and establish funds that can be disbursed to operate an effective campaign to educate and prepare Syrians. Non sense. That all you are saying, pure none sense.

“…….Nonetheless, the two countries have much to talk about: both are trying to solve their Iraq problems. They share a common interest in subduing jihadism and helping Iraq build stability…..”
You must be forced at gun point by your brother and father in laws, the Alawites Baathist general to say such a misleading comment. Baathist dictatorship in Syria has no common interest with the United States. The Two are on collusion course that will ends up by the more powerful squashing the weaker one. Assads know that, and he is doing his best to keep America busy in Iraq and costing it all these casualties. He already knows he taught Bush Administration a lesson that will insure that no repeat in Damascus. Assad, is no position to subdue Jehadist because if he to side with the American the Jehadist will turn on him. He is boxed in. He will have to abandon Hizbullah in the East, Jehadist in the West, Angry Sunnis in the north and south. He has only one way out, National Unity Government. restore rights, open economy, compensate injured (pay for crimes) return National funds and treasures stolen by him, his party and family members. Remove draconian security and other laws, set up a National unity Government. He needs help, we can help. SSPRS made it clear that they are always ready to help Syria avoid the fateful outcome the Alawites and Baathists are pushing it to, a divided canton states, the Petro-Zionist plan one that leave an eastern State controlled by Ghadri’s Kurds, but in fact run by an oil executive just like Iraq and Afghanistan. An Alawites state on the Mediterranean, probably run by Riffat, he is good at hiding illicit cash. A Sunni Moslem state on the Homs-Aleppo access (Petro-Zionist mastermind knowing well that this will further split up into 3 city states of Aleppo, Hama and Homs) and avery weak and subservient Damascus capital state (a buffer between the Sunnis and Israeli) run by a mixture of Alawites and Baathist Sunni’s of the lower classes headed of course by subdued and subservient mouse named Bashar.

“………Syria has already taken the easy steps. It has built a large sand wall and placed thousands of extra troops along its 350-mile border with Iraq………”
Sand walls, really…you really think this is barrier? There are bushes in the desert that are far more formidable barrier than the nice climb of smooth soft grades anyone can enjoy the ride on it. Walking over it maybe as strenuous as climbing 30 steps stair flight but on the other hand you can just slid your butt downhill on fun ride to martyrdom and 72 virgins. Hell I will take this rough ride anytime if I know for sure that there is 72 well… blonds, not virgins please, had couple of bad experience with that.

Maybe Assad can take something more serious action, like issuing visas for those suicidal Arabs coming in plane loads to Damascus airport on a one way ticket, with no job or relative, not even a hotel room waiting. Maybe he think these visitors are just coming on one night visit, they need no hotel room because they will be staying the night awake at one of the brothels that are run by his family members and other army and security chiefs, using poor Iraqi FARFOURA as they say for the poor Bedouin visitors and one of those Eastern European BABA’s filled brothels for the elite army, rich Alawites and Emirs.

“…..He has freed most political prisoners. He has tolerated a much greater level of criticism than his father did. The religious tolerance enforced by the government has made Syria one of the safest countries in the region. Washington is asking Mr. Assad to jeopardize this domestic peace……..”
Why do you blatantly lie Landis? He has arrested all those that he freed y now and he has regressed and closed all the forums and silenced all the critics by beating, torturing, jailing and if all failed killing. Do I need to name names, try this link: www.shrc.com
Religious tolerance, you mean in Syria now after 43 years of sectarian rule by Baathists
Sunni in love with Alawites, Christian in Love with the Moslem Brotherhood, Sunni love Druze and shia Moslem is tolerating orthodox Jews and Christian. Utopia man, we have no problem in Syria, you are right. That bring to mind one of SSPRS previous comment, worth repeating here:
A major and startling discovery on Mars, Scientists now have evidence that the planet Mars is far away, you can not reach it by mopeds and it is in fact round, a quite a surprise for decades the World’s top scientist thought it is cubical shaped…………. In another major news and comments of interest about Syria is today published in the popular magazine Discovery Journal. The Journal reporting that Syria is safe, secure, Democratic and have a stable political system, social harmony and impressive economic growth. Syria is a country that are rare in the Middle East and are run by a very popular British Educated Doctor and his Intelligent fashionable British wife. Syria discovered to have boarders with Iraq.

American Baathist.
“….Washington is asking Assad to jeopardize this domestic peace….”
No, Washington don’t giva damm if one Syrian left out of Jail, all died of torture or alive for that matter of fact. They just wants Assad to stop killing American, Israeli and Lebanese. France wants all the cash shipped by Airbuses, not Boeings to Paris banks.


“…….Those in Washington who insist on fighting Mr. Assad because he is not democratic are hurting Iraq's chances for a peaceful future. The United States needs Syrian cooperation in Iraq……….”
This sound like a cheap, childish, desperado threat. Let me be the little evil Alawite dictator in Syria, killing, jailing and robbing the people at will or I will make you life hell and kill your people and friends in Iraq, Lebanon and Israel. I don’t know why any government will ever take this crap from this little weak and coward fella. Especially a government that is the super power and the threatening dude is the weakest of leaders. Who the hell is advising this guy, this sound like either his favorite Ambassador in Washington Mustafa whatever low class family, or yet another low class dummy named Farouk and Muallem, something like that.

Accommodating these American demands are practically the norms that every civil country will do if it know anything about Diplomacy. Even Ahmadi Nizhad and his Mullahs will easily navigate through and accommodate those simple demands that are the basis of engagement between countries.


“……….But he has worked hard to repair sectarian relations in Syria………”
Is that why he had his Mukhabarat distribute these Anti Alawi leaflets in all Alawi neighborhood all over Syria at once? I guess he wanted to scare them and arm them to start a civil war, what else?

“……….Worse, if Mr. Assad's government collapsed, chances are the ethnic turmoil that would result would bring to power militant Sunnis who would actively aid the jihadists in Iraq………….”
More scare tactics, that is what this regime is only capable of giving. This regime can make it if they changed course but they stay the same course that is leading to its demise. Someone needs to advise Bashar other than these Baathists the Landises and whoever advising now. Obviously, it is not working, and they keep repeating the same old broken record than no one wants to listen to anymore. If the United States helped bring democracy and freedom to Syria the right way, they will be appreciated just like they got appreciated in Lebanon by all sects including Sunni Moslems and Christians. Even the Lebanese Shia’s were neutral about American interference in Lebanon. In fact even arch-enemy Hizbullah, branded by the U.S. and Israeli governments as a prime terrorist organization were somehow supportive of American interference, although they displayed a superficial show of unity to patron Syria, under the table they did not plan any anti-American activities but in fact got busy organizing for democratic election and coolated with the same parties that were aided by American and supported American intervention. If the United States approach regime change in Syria with pure intention, Sunni Moslems are the most sophisticated people in Syria and will appreciate this turn around in U.S. policy dearly. America can have a very powerful strategic and commercial ally in Syria and Israel can reap a huge peace dividend and market area that will resolve it’s economic stagnation problem. Jews can travel to Damascus and Aleppo and do business normally just like they do in the United State. It is time for Israel to understand the benefits of Syria that is free of Baathism.

“………..For Mr. Assad to help the United States, he must have sufficient backing from Washington to put greater restrictions and pressure on the Sunni majority.
It would be suicide for him to provoke Sunnis and extremists while Washington seeks his downfall…………”
Nothing more Suicidal for the United States, Israel and the West than continued backing of the Baathist-Alawites Assad regime or his clan. This clan has committed untold human right violations, genocide and crimes against humanity that are disgrace for the United Nation, International Laws and treaties between nations. The Syrian Sunni Moslem majority are at breaking point and being oppressed and robbed by the Western backed Alawites-Baathist regime in Syria, using the most inhumane and brutal means to rule them in Syria, they simply can not take it anymore, they are venting the anger at America and the West as payoff for this support in less controlled area such as the West and Iraq. The Alawites-Baathist regime ruling Syria still living in 1963. The United States, Israel and the worlds in fact needs to be aware that we live in 2005-2006. Unlike the sixties were National Liberation Movements and other groups relied on foreign adversarial governments to procure arms and operation logistics, today there are no need for this government support. Today the internet, modern dual-use technologies and the young men to assemble and operate it are readily available and affordable. Potent technologies that can bring this planet and all the human advances to halt. It can stop all aviation, internet, telephone, satellite, transportation and even missile launchers from working. It can wipe out an entire petroleum installation in a country like that of Bedouin Arabs in couple of days, it can be used to disburse WMD’s, of which Syria has according to the CIA official documents submitted to the U.S. Congress, the worlds most advanced active program and the largest stock pile, we may add, it is stocked under incredibly inadequate security and administered by some of the most financially poor and morally corrupt people on this globe that are inherently anti American and anti Israeli. There are no defenses against these modern and affordable technologies, forget about building walls as they doing in Israel, and forget about crap like electronic countermeasures. Today, a $300,000 Israeli made countermeasure equipment (jammers) are worthless and rendered obsolete by a software and counter-countermeasure miniature devise developed by Orontes International Defense Corporation for measly 18,000 Rubles. The devise using Orontes Exclusive Intelligent Reasoning, Intelligent Thinking and Intelligent Command Self-Execution can detect and interpret a jamming signal and initiate self execute command. ( we would not have published this were not the Mehlis Report is almost completed and the culprits identified).

That advise Alawites-Baathist dictator Assad is sending President Bush, his Administration and the American public through Ladise’s New York time Op-ed is not only suicidal for the United States, Israel and the West but to himself also. He is failing to understand that the Syrian people, especially the Sunni Majority had enough of him, his Alwaites minority and the Sunni Moslems of the lower classes that he staffs through the idiotic and ideologically / morally bankrupt Baath party. The United States more than any other country, needs to ignore this ill and dumb witted advise from a weak and corrupt Alawites dictator of peasant stock. This Ruler-Wannabe of a failed Baathist dictatorship and a failed Baathist state, running a country that it’s entire gross GDP is less than the gross revenue of U.S. Wriggly chewing gum company, rules by shear terror in a mixture of Banana Republic, Bedouin tribe and Marxist-Leninist style. He have nothing of personal achievements or leadership skills or accomplishment to show for, except brutal crimes, plundering of National resources and siphoning off the cash. This is not someone the greatest, most advanced, militarily and economically the most powerful nation on this planet needs to listen too and take his advise into account.

“………..Those in Washington who insist on fighting Mr. Assad because he is not democratic are hurting Iraq's chances for a peaceful future………..”

How is that Landis? Could you please elaborate! How is bringing Democracy to Iraq is related directly to backing Assad brutal Dictatorship. Why would President Bush who went to war against Baathist dictator in Iraq to free the Middle East of oppressive rules and tyranny, to bring freedom and democracy to the region. Lost more than 10,000 American souls and injured more than 20,000 Americans, would wants to leave Baathist dictator Assad to continue to hurt the Middle East and the chances of a peaceful future of not only for Iraq, but that of Lebanon and Israel. Is this some kind of yet another threat you giving President Bush and his Administration, at one point they are going to have enough of Assad threats and clobber him.

“………….The United States needs Syrian cooperation in Iraq. This will require real dialogue and support, not snubs and threats. Washington must choose between destabilizing Syria and stabilizing Iraq……………”

Washington needs to choose not between destabilizing Syria and stabilizing Iraq. There is no such absurd formula for peace in the Middle East except in the figment of Bashar Assad imagination and his click of incompetent advisors. Washington must choose a stabilizing formula for the whole Middle East. Supporting Assad is everything and anything but stabilizing. After all, his Alawites-Baathist regime were responsible for the assassination of several Middle Eastern leaders. He continue to allow Arabs to cross to Iraq, killing and injuring for life tens of thousands of Iraqis and American soldiers. He house, finance and support the worlds most violent terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, PFLP and hundreds more. Terrorist groups that are armed, financed, sheltered and provided with the logistics by his Baathist dictatorship.


“…………..Joshua Landis, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Oklahoma, is a Fulbright scholar in Damascus who writes the blog Syriacomment.com………..”

Joshua Landis, a propagandists for Assad. Was allowed to operate in Syria on that condition. He is married to an Alawites-Baathist general in Assad corrupt Baathist regime. He is a professor in the same term a Middle Easterner will understand what a Professor at AUB is, working for the CIA, and like most who works for this Agency, they know nothing about the Middle East in general and Syria in particular. Otherwise, why on earth all those American dying in Iraq and all this mess in the region. You have to be a fool to believe that these wannabe’s knows anything about Syria much more than Damascus is not in Arkansas or the suburb of Portland and the Middle East is not North Carolina.

“………..Two similar op-eds have appeared in the last few days. One by David Ignatius in the Washington Post: "For Washington, fear is now in Bashar Assad's camp." And another by David Hirst in the LA Times: "Truth and consequences in Syria"…………..”

Judeo-Communists are all over the Western and Russian media. They only report, present and push forward anything that help Israeli and Zionists. Keeping Baathist dictatorship of Assad in Syria is prime interest of Israel. That keeps Syria extremely weak, economomically impoverished and the perceived Sunni threat under control. And that is why for 50 years Israel has been at war. Judeo-Communists failed to understand that the main problem for Middle Easterner is really not Israel but the oppressive and corrupt Arab dictatorships and the culprit is not really Israel but Israel friend and the supporter of these dictatorship and Israel, the Western countries, specifically the United States. Arab rulers rule the masses under the disguise of Israeli-American-western monster. Constantly brain washing the Arab masses with hate messages and editorials to divert the people attention away from their corruption. All awhile the West will not complain about the hate messages since the double faced corrupt Arab leaders enjoy the west full support in exchange for the rulers turning in the entire dictatorship and national treasury cash into the western bank reserves. It is all about money, it is all one big scam. Secret organizations really work, it is the most potent form of operation. You simply don’t know the plan and you can not ascertain a person is friend or foe. What you think is your best friend could be a mole and in fact your worst foe. It is called Freemasonry / Amonism and it rule. Unless you know how it work, you aint got a chance.

You read in the Christian book of Revelation that in the End of Age the Beastly King of the North that will rise up and will have all the world’s resources and specially those of the king of the South. He shall devour the whole earth and all the treasures shall be his.

End of Age is in fact the end of Pieces Zodiac sign that we been living under from the time of Mythological Christ birth until his return as Christ the savior for the Christians, Messiah for the Jews, Ali the Mehdi for Shite Moslem and the battery powered messiah for the Alawites. That is why Christians uses a fish sign for Christianity symbol (the modified Eye of Hour us). It is not going to be a Jesus that was born in a manger in Bethlehem (that is myth) that will return, it is an extraterrestrial being named Amen in the Egyptian tongue, Marduk in the Babylonian tongue and Ameen in the Arabic tongue. All referring to the same person and all were invention of his eldest son NABU / NABI or prophet in Arabic. The Pieces Age we been living under is passing and now entering the Aquarius Age. The book of Revelation is accurate in foretelling that by the end of the Pieces Age the world’s will belong to the one eyed beast (Aaouar Al Dajjal). Now you know some secrets to the U.S. Dollar bill designs and why the National Monument is the same SHIM as Amen placed in front of his Karnack.

The Christian Bible also said, “ We resel not against flesh and Blood, but against other being in high places in the heaven” and..”He shall deceive many, even the elite”

You illiterate Apes. Take this advise and read the Christian Book of Revelation.

 
At 9/22/2005 02:44:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

You call these garbage of Syrian Society opposition members. You fuker these scumm yoiu are quoting are ex Baathists and E-communist. They don't represent the Syrians, they don't even represent themselfs. They aided the regime for decades and when the usefullness of these human scum are no longer needed by the regime they were discarded. Upset at being discarded, the started opposition.

There are nothing more I like than the United States, Israel and the European fail to bring these Baathist to justice. You reached the end of the race now. There are no wiggle room and no turning back. It will be clear as crystal where friends and foe stands.

 
At 9/22/2005 03:09:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Wow!

Most of it is elightening!

JAM

 
At 9/22/2005 03:28:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Stay on board JAM and forgive the explicit "Alawites" terminology for now. Notice that we say "Alawites-Baathists"
We need your support in here against these evil one. Metaz is getting very angry at Landice, he no longer wants to post in here and we had to calm him down today.
The regime is stupid, very stupid, because rather than calming down the opositions, they are making them upset, the result is Metaz will be adding more shit on them today, He is dipatching it all over from Tehran and Jerusalem to Moscow and Washington. They keep getting in bigger trouble.

 
At 9/22/2005 04:38:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"Landis Defends: Young, Allaf, Abu Khalil Attack "

M. Young and Anton made good points. Allaf was not as good. Politeness forbids me from commenting on AK.

 
At 9/22/2005 04:43:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9/22/2005 05:07:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Still, I can't make up my mind on this issue. This regime is despicable and has lost too many chances to reform. They will never reform, I am almost sure of that. On the other hand, the threat of anarchy in Syria is real.

 
At 9/22/2005 06:10:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Unlike Iraq, as some are trying to compare the departure of the same evil Baathist regime may result in Iraqi style anarchy, Syria will not only have civil and orderly transition of power but it will put an end to the anarchy that is so persistent in Iraq. That is because the not very intelligent planners in the Pentagon failed to understand that they must plan for cover my rear or cover my ass strategy.

Unlike Iraq, Syria is 85% Sunni Moslems and they occupy the entire country, they are not divided into Kurd, Shia,Christian and Sunni regions. With the exception of the Alawites that are loyal to the regime, no one claims territorial or separate policy. They all understand that they live in one country named Syria, including the Kurds minority.

The various sects composing the remaining 15% of the population most of them are peaceful minorities, the Christians which make out about 8% of Syria’s population are highly educated and westernized. That leaves us with small Alawites minority that has been the cause of all the troubles in Syria for the past 43 years. That is not to say that all Alawites are causing the trouble or exclusively. The majority of Alawites are just as victims of this Baathist regime as the rest of the Syrians.

Among the Sunni Moslems are some of Syria’s most sophisticated people. Unlike what the regime try to promotes that Sunni Moslems are extremist, on the contrary they are not even a percent of the radical Alawites-Baathist or Shia thugs.

So the notion that Syria will have anarchy in the aftermath of the regime removal (a defacto fact now based on Pentagon briefings ) is deceptive strategy promoted by the evil regime and its supporters.

Only fools will buy Alawites Assad regime promises to stop insurgent from entering Iraq. Assad and his regime is no position to do that even if he to deploy the entire Syrian Army. That is because keeping the regime and supporting it, especially by the United States is the main reason why Syrians support the insurgents and even join them. Supporting Assad any more means that Sunni Moslems will increase support to the insurgents partly as revenge for U.S. and European support to the Assad regime and partly to insure no Shia control in Iraq. Additionally, a victory in Iraq, when U.S. troupes depart, will permit the establishment of a base to start action against other regimes in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman UAE and of course the devil agents Bedouin Arabia of Saadiin Sauds and African Egypt of Pharaoh Mubarak the two main countries in the Arab and Islamic world providing support for the Baathist-Alawites regime in Syria.

The United States has only one exist strategy. A winning strategy, one that can achieve the goals President Bush for the Middle East, that is to remove the Syrian Regime from Damascus. What happened after is not going to be neither slaughter of the Alawites, which all Syrians know that they are just as well victims and not radical Islamic fundamentalists control, but an elective parliamentary government that is representing the entire sects of Syria. The new government will block every of Arab fighters going to Iraq, will help disarm Hizbullah, make peace with Israeli and of course, realistically speaking, there will be a judgment for the Alawites-Baathist in Syria and Sunni-Iraqi Baathist hiding in Damascus.

American can be proud of the achievement. The people should build monument for those brave American that lost their life to build a new Middle East. President Bush, can leave office and be remembered as one, if not, the greatest Presidents of the United States rather than the worst president, who all he have to show for is a lost war against the worlds most backward people, a growing and victorious Alqaida Organization, 150,000+ Iraqi dead and 30,000 American casualties as of today. Who knows if the United States made the most fateful mistake and gave this Assad Baathist regime another chance what the death and casualties toll at the end of President Bush term will be, if it can be sustained for that long period until he leaves office. It could very well ends up Saigon retreat style by the middle of 2007.

Let the voice of reason prevail and let the evil one removed from Syria.

 
At 9/22/2005 06:17:00 PM, Blogger ugarit said...

I'll take Bashar and the Baath over Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood any day

 
At 9/22/2005 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

ugarit said...
"I'll take Bashar and the Baath over Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood any day".


Take him, naked or clothed. No one will be jealous of you!

But I am tired of this broken album! Either Assad or the MBs.

As an Alawi, I am telling you that there were many many many Alawis in late 70's who were wishing the MBs every good. The Mukhabarat started killing low level Alawis who had nothing to do with the regime, and also some of the best educated among Alawis, and blamed the killings on the MBs, and in that way, it created the desired results.

Now, the regime is repeating the same fear tactic by inventing leaflets that it distrubted simultaneously in many parts of Syria scaring Alawis, and presenting the Sunnis as the savages, this self appointed Syria so called Expert is presenting them to be!

So, take your Bashar. You and Asmaa Akhras must be the most money lovers of all girls, or who in her right mind would marry the son of the greatest criminals and thugs on planet Earth? A sick girl, for sure!

JAM

 
At 9/22/2005 07:16:00 PM, Blogger Aba Zayd said...

To SRP:

I don't think that you need to explain to Joshua Landis that the Syrian situation is different from Iraq, and that Syria will not face the same plight.

Does he even care? I think he is analysing Syria as of what is best for the US to do toward it, and not what is best for the Syrian people. I am convinced that this is the whole matter!

Thanks

 
At 9/22/2005 07:47:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

SRP, Christians are not 'westernized'. Modernized (relatively) would be more accurate. We need to stop assimilating education and modernization to the west because that implies that the East must be non-educated.

This is reversed orientalism man.

 
At 9/22/2005 07:50:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

And while you're at it, add one more 0 to the casualties.

 
At 9/22/2005 08:08:00 PM, Blogger Aba Zayd said...

The Syrian government can not resign until the end of the year. That is to permit to the so called minsiters to legally have the retirment as ministers. This is absolutely why it was not changed.

 
At 9/22/2005 08:32:00 PM, Blogger Rime said...

Dear Josh,

Thanks for informing me of your response. Mine is posted now as well on Mosaics (http://www.rimeallaf.com/mosaics/index.php)

Best, Rime

 
At 9/23/2005 07:39:00 AM, Blogger dimashqia said...

Joseph Ali Mohammed - what other choice do they have or do we have. Do you want to be the next Iraq? Time is ticking for the Assad/Makhlouf regime....it is time to stop robbing the country blind and give something back This is the end of the road and with or without them, change is coming. We are not sheep...Damascus is not as closed as it once was and Syrians see way more of the world than previously thanks to the Internet and to Satellite. Who is going to rise up and rule? The MB? That's great...let's become Saudi Arabia.

I am a member of the Christian community. Most Christians fear the fall of the Assad regime. My entire life, I grew up among Alawites and Sunnis alike but Syria is not the secular place it once was. Take a look around, have you ever seen Syria this religious? Each side has pulled to their position and the country has slowly started to become much more polarized. Look at the women in the country...how many are now covered? Women that I have loved and lived with are know under pressure to wear the Hijab. I asked one Alawia women why and she said zourouf...what does that tell you? If they do not make a serious change then it is the end of them as well...this is make it or break it time and I'd prefer the dog that I know then the one I don't.

 
At 9/25/2005 08:36:00 AM, Blogger Aba Zayd said...

demashquiah:

You said this:
"I am a member of the Christian community. Most Christians fear the fall of the Assad regime. My entire life, I grew up among Alawites and Sunnis alike but Syria is not the secular place it once was."


This is exactly what JAM was saying, proving to Josh and his ilks how this regime changed Syria.

Do you not agree that Hafez Assad was the one to revive if not invent sectarianism, tribalism, and the mentality of gangs and mobs?

 
At 9/25/2005 08:39:00 AM, Blogger Aba Zayd said...

Then you said Syria changed;

fine, why is the regime still shutting up mouths and any means of expressing one's opinion? Why is the regime restricting Internet use, and jailing people who access sites?

Why the regime imprisoned the people who listened to Bashar and spoke up in 2001?

What are you really talking about?

 

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