Monday, November 07, 2005

News Round Up (Nov. 6, 05) & Opposition Report

Ibrahim Hamidi reports in al-Hayat that

German Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis has summoned six senior-most intelligence officers, including President Assad's brother-in-law Gen. Assef Shawkat, for interrogation at the Monteverde headquarters northeast of Beirut of the U.N. commission investigating the assassination of Lebanon's 5-time Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

But the Assad regime seems reluctant to allow Syrian witnesses or suspects to be interrogated outside Damascus, offering to let the U.N. commission question any Syrian it picks in venues to be chosen by Mehlis in or around the Syrian capital with the U.N. flag hoisted overhead.

Mehlis passed the summons to the Assad regime in Damascus through the U.N. secretariat in New York on Wednesday, using the powers given to him by Security Council Resolution 1636 to question any Syrian he wants at the location and modality of his own choice.

In addition to Gen. Shawkat, who is the overall chief of Syria's military intelligence service, Mehlis has summoned to Monteverde Maj. Gen. Bahjat Suleiman, former chief of Syria's internal intelligence apparatus and Brig. Gen. Rustom Ghazaleh, who headed Syria's military intelligence in Lebanon when Hariri was murdered in Beirut Feb. 14, according to Al Hayat. Ghazaleh's assistant in south Beirut, Brig. Gen. Jameh Jameh, also was listed on the Mehlis summons along with Abdul Karim Abbas, who served with the Palestinian branch of Syria's general intelligence service, and telecommunications and Internet expert Zafer Youssef, Al Hayat said.

Syria denies receiving request to interview Syrians on Hariri case Xinhua

Walid Jumblat: "I'm against a regime change in Syria that hawks in the U.S. administration want," he said.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says: "President Bashar announced, after my latest meeting with him in Damascus, a number of positive steps and stances." "I trust that his wisdom will lead to a breakthrough in the current situation," said Mubarak, who has acted as a mediator between the embattled Syrian leader and western powers turning on the heat on Damascus in order to catch Hariri's assassins. Mubarak and Assad discussed the Hariri murder probe in Damascus on October 28 with the Syrian president pledging after the meeting that his government would cooperate with the U.N. inquiry.

Moussa to visit Syria amid international pressure on Damascus

President Chirac has renewed his call for Syria to show "full and complete cooperation" with the U.N. inquiry.

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani said, "According to what President Assad told me, they are ready to give positive and total cooperation,"

Piling on the pressure
by Massoud A. Derhally
Arabian Business
November 6, 2005

"I consider that the UN Security Council resolution is a warning to Syria to cooperate with the investigation committee and this means that if Syria insists on not cooperating or stalls … then sanctions can be rationalised," Riad Al Turk, a veteran politician and Syrian opposition activist jailed for 18 years by the Baathist regime, told Arabian Business....

"The resolution puts the Syrian government in a bind, either to surrender to the Mehlis process, as Lebanon has done sometime in April, or remain under a political ban, which is likely to grow," says Chibli Mallat, an international law professor currently a fellow at Yale University.

But in an interview with Arabian Business last week, Abdullah Dardari, the deputy prime minister says: "The original draft of the resolution was very harsh.
It was toned down. Toning it down and taking out the threat of specific sanctions is an indicator that there are countries on the security council who see at least partially, or fully, the Syrian point of view.

"One maybe has to adopt new tactics or a new approach to ensure that full cooperation is reflected in the next report."

To some extent the prevailing anxiousness surrounding Resolution 1636 is reminiscent of Resolution 1441 and the mounting pressure on Baghdad in the run up to the Iraq war.

"The resolution is bad news, buts its good news that America didn't get its main terrorism article," says Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma and an expert on Syria who is currently in Damascus. "But," he adds, "they stuck it in the back door," in reference to the number of times the word terrorism was used
in the resolution.

"The people, who wanted the maximum pressure on Syria got their way. They had to sacrifice on the terrorism stuff, but they got the majors. They are going to manage to destabilise Syria this way. The fear [in Syria] is that the West doesn't know what it wants; it doesn't have an endgame," Landis explained.

The fact remains that president Assad has not been implicated in the Hariri investigation, but there are clauses in the resolution which suggest that it could go up to the president. "If they decide he's responsible or in the know then he could be swept up in this whole thing. Now if you change Bashar, Maher and Assef Shawkat, then that is regime change," says Landis. "You can't really separate this investigation and let the chips fall where they may on the Mehlis report and not call this regime change in this situation. That's what has this government in complete chaos right now."

But Dardari is entirely dismissive of such scenarios. "Regime change or no regime change, this is a question for the Syrian people to decide," says the deputy premier.

"Syrians are realising that Syria is targeted; its role in the region is targeted. The language that we hear sometimes in Lebanon that we don't want sanctions on the Syrian people and we want good relations with the Syrian people, but the Syrian regime is a different story. Not many people are buying that in Syria," he adds.

US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice "was talking about things that have nothing to do with the Mehlis report", Dardari said in reference to Rice's speech at the UN. "She was talking about regional issues; Iraq, Palestine and terrorism. The politicisation is there," he adds.

Asked what he would tell Rice if he had the opportunity to meet with her, Dardari says: "I would tell her there are so many interests in common between Syria and the US, if the US puts American interests first rather than Israel's interest. Dialogue between the two countries is the best means for dealing with the issues that maybe still problematic between them."

Palpably clear is Syria's recognition it is gradually being cornered and that the case against it is mounting. And while it proclaims its innocence, it has nonetheless begun or announced its intension to adopt a number of measures as part and parcel of what it says is its cooperation with the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) of German judge Detlev Mehlis leading the probe into Hariri's assassination.

"We have to define what is cooperation and make sure that whatever we provide is agreed upon and approved by the commission because last time we had a gentleman agreement with Mr. Mehlis; with very good intentions we thought that we did provide the necessary cooperation," Dardari explains.

"We don't count on a radical change in the American position. But one can say that there are countries that are willing to help. They believe in Syria's innocence and it's our job to give them more evidence," he added.

The French don't have the same agenda as the Americans, said the deputy premier who has been touted as possibly the next prime minister in Syria. "If we can demonstrate that our cooperation is full, candid and transparent, this would influence the French position to our favour and would definitely strengthen the position of Russia and China who are trying to defuse the crisis."

Hours and days before the Security Council convened, Damascus signalled it would be looking into expediting the naturalisation of 80,000 Kurds residing in the country, in addition to forming its own investigative committee to look into suspects that may be implicated in the Hariri assassination. President Assad has also indicated he would push forward a new party law, which he promised at the Baath conference last June.

There are also rumours spreading in the Syrian capital that prisoners referred to as the three of the Damascus Spring; Riad Saif, a 55-year-old MP, Aref Dalilah, a university professor, and Maamoun Al Homsi, a Damascus MP, will be released.

"Assad is clearly making some gestures towards the opposition and towards society in an attempt to win their backing in what is going to be a big a fight with the West," said Landis.

The opposition, which has largely been fragmented, clearly sees this as an opportunity. The Damascus Declaration for Democratic and National Change, a document signed by several Syrian parties and individuals days before the Mehlis report was released on October 21 is testimony, according to observers, of the closing of ranks of the all the different splinter groups.

But the disunity of the opposition in the past stems from two reasons, according to Riad Al Turk, the godfather of the Syrian opposition. It's because of "the terror of the regime who imprisoned, killed and exiled and so forth, the constraint of political activism, and the main reason which is that this regime has been in power for three or four decades. The world has changed and it is imperative that political parties change," Turk explains.

The great fear of the government is that Riad Saif will emerge as the leader of a united opposition party. For many in and outside of Syria he has been the great martyr of the Damascus Spring. A Sunni, a successful businessman, and a member of parliament who can speak for the Sunni merchants — Saif certainly represents more than a thorn in the side of the present regime.

"The question is whether the opposition can brand him as a spokesperson and turn him into a Nelson Mandela," says Landis. "They have been very bad at this because they are all jealous of each other, they all have different interests and they don't want any one person to become the man. That's their great weakness."

But while some in Syria hope for Saif's release, others are pessimistic. Anwar Al Buni, a major human rights lawyer who is defending Saif, believes talk of his client's release is a result of conjecture by people who wish to sway government behaviour.

"I don't foresee the release of Riad Saif because the situation does not permit it, given that the authorities are not allowing any kind of gathering, no matter how small it is. If there is a will to release Riad Saif it will part of a wide release of [people]," Buni told Arabian Business.

"If there is a release it has to be inclusive of everyone in prison and without any exceptions allowing political expression of everyone. The human rights situation is in a state of deterioration and there are a lot pressures on activists."

Riad Al Turk, the veteran politician and Syrian opposition activist, was unequivocal in his condemnation of the Assad regime in an interview with Arabian Business, calling on the president to resign as part of his plan to transform the embattled country into a democracy.

He has devised and presented (on television) a detailed plan for change: it begins with the resignation of president Assad; the head of parliament then assumes power in accordance with the constitution, and the army is responsible for maintaining security and all security services are frozen. The heads of these services
are removed and brought under the control of the military headquarters.

Under Turk's plan, the interim leader will then cooperate with the Security Council and agree to hand over suspects and those accused. Then an interim government is formed and arranges for elections to take place to form a new parliament. This will be done under democratic principles.

Turk tells Arabian Business: "I embrace anyone who is able to rid me of this regime."

Time will tell whether he succeeds.

Thanassis Cambanis of the Boston Globe has written an excellent article on the Syrian opposition. He gets it right.

In Syria, a sagging opposition
Dissidents see no gain in a fallen regime.
November 6, 2005

DAMASCUS -- Authoritarian Syria has so thoroughly quashed organized opposition that even the most committed dissidents find themselves in a depressing bind: They're willing to risk prison by speaking out against the regime but are so convinced of their own weakness that they don't want the regime to fall, fearing that only chaos would follow.

Haitham al-Maleh, a 74-year-old human rights lawyer considered one of the most influential opposition leaders, neatly sums up the plight. ''We have a problem: The opposition is weak," he said.
Despite his visceral anger at the government he calls a fascist dictatorship, he doesn't want to see it collapse, because he doesn't think there's anything to replace it.

''We believe in change step by step," Maleh said. ''We don't want to jump and break our necks."

The opposition's state of disarray and powerlessness testifies to a successful Ba'ath Party strategy under the Assad family dynasty, which after 35 years in power has left Syrians with no real political alternative. The dictatorship outlawed competing political parties and also all social and political institutions not under its direct control, from labor unions to sport clubs.

Such a dispirited opposition poses a great challenge to Syrian dissidents, internal party reformists, and US policy makers, who espouse a policy of changing the regime or its behavior but have no powerful partner in Syrian society. Proponents of regime change in Syria would have to look elsewhere -- perhaps in Syria's ruling elite, in the military, even in the underground Islamist Muslim Brotherhood -- for a strong hand to replace the Assad family clique.

Under the loose surveillance of Syria's secret police, those dissidents who aren't in prison or were recently released talk in public and on the record with surprising candor about the corruption of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Syria's dissidents have spent long terms in jail for speaking out, but despite their new high-tech tools -- cellphones, e-mail, and web logs -- they languish virtually unknown to the Syrian public and the outside world.

Dissidents are allowed to talk to the international media but not to hold meetings, organize political parties, or publish criticism inside Syria's borders.
Syrian intelligence agents tap their phones and watch their homes. But the dissidents think the government allows them to talk to the foreign media because it considers the opposition harmless and wants to present an image of political openness to the international community.

The opposition includes Ba'ath Party insiders who moderate critical websites and forums; television actors renowned for their starring roles on daytime soap operas and their veiled references to the social decay of the calcified Ba'athist culture; teenage bloggers and bearded musicians, human rights lawyers, journalists, and satellite television commentators. Continued...

Also see this interview with Anwar al-Bunni,"Dissidents despair at the end of Damascus Spring," in the Daily Telegraph by Harry de Quetteville(23/10/2005).


At 11/07/2005 07:05:00 AM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...

The question was, what will they do if thousands of syrians goes on the streets?
Will syrian soldiers kill their brothers and sisters? Will they fight for their Fatherland? Ammar said: Fatherland! There is no fatherland. Syria is but an empty husk, its leaders are maggots and its people flies. Flies! Flies forever attracted to their doom.
And Josey meant: OTOH, the Arabs keep up he delusion that they can get something for free. Such as: lose wars and get their demands met, shut down free speech and make intellectual advances, disrespect their people and ask for respect from others etc.
Ammar: Chaos! Bittersweet chaos! Have any people ever matured into freedom without it? Damn it, if only they could. If only they could, so that freedom and blood can be equally precious and sanctified and so that neither should be sacrificed for the sake of the other........the Syrian regime’s days are indeed numbered, even if there is no clear alternative to it but chaos.

At 11/07/2005 07:06:00 AM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...

Amar wrote:

Syrians have long believed that we are an exception to the regional rule. Stupid leaders, for instance, exist in Iraq and Somalia, but not in Syria. Oh no, "truth" be said, and certain mulish and other sordid qualities aside, our leaders tend to be smart, quite smart. So smart, in fact, they often outsmart themselves.

As for civil wars, well, they happen in places like Lebanon and the Sudan, but not in Syria. Oh no no no. Our sectarianism, tribalism, Islamism, ethnic divides and other sources of civil disorder exist only in the eye of the beholder. But as long as we choose to remain blind and stick our heads in the sand, we cannot be aware of these things and, as such, they cannot hurt us.

Indeed, this is what being smart is all about: it is all about knowing when to acknowledge the existence of certain facts and problems, and when to ignore them. Moreover, and here is the awaited catch, inherited wisdom informs us that certain facts and problems should always be ignored. Always.

For this, and while shit happens throughout the region, it always happens elsewhere. We are just too smart, and too good, or at least our leaders are, to let it happen to us. No, we are not in the habit of letting ourselves drown in shit, albeit we are willing to admit that we are surrounded by it, and that we, occasionally, tend to eat and regurgitate it, and in rather prodigious amounts too.

So, here we are, surrounded by shit, but not sunk in it, somehow surviving the stench of it, while managing to find some source of strange sustenance in it. Hell, we must be a country of human flies. This seems to be indeed the secret of our continued success and the essence of our wonderful exceptionalism.

Yet, even flies get buried in shit every now and then. For the lousy thing about exceptions is that they tend to be as ephemeral as the rules. Our inherited wisdom somehow failed to make a note of that.

Indeed, the Jasmine-scented evenings of the Damascene "of yore" have long disappeared, though we continue to live off their faded memories in our shit-covered heads.

But what else can we do really? What else can be done?

We send our deepest sighs to heaven and keep logging our shit around. That's what we can do. That's all that can be done.

For shit-farming, our inherited wisdom informs us, is simply the only profession suitable for a people who have long let themselves be transmogrified into flies. That and shit-peddling, of course.

But, will they buy our shit at the UN, I wonder?

At 11/07/2005 07:09:00 AM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...

Syria needs to be governed not just taken-over. It has not been governed in such a long time, it has almost forgotten how to let it happen, and people seem to have forgotten how to do it. They seem even to have forgotten how necessary governing is in the whole scheme of things, and that governing is indeed the whole point behind overthrowing the regime.

Yet, not only are opposition members not preparing themselves to govern, most are intellectually and psychologically ill-suited for that. No one is attempting to manage the transition itself, no one is thinking about managing the post-transitional trauma that usually takes place in such circumstances, and no one has so far presented himself as a credible leader, capable of galvanizing popular support, at a time when many such leaders are needed, and on all levels. Very much like the regime, the opposition remains leaderless. Mediocrity. Mediocrity, all over the place.

And what if the regime turns out to be as brittle and fragile as I think it to be, what if it collapses on us overnight? Who’s going to be there to lead? To inspire? To fill the vacuum? I know of a thousand. But they are all charlatans, and mediocre ones at that. That is the problem in times like these: there are no honest leaders to be found, but a thousand scoundrels do run about the place wringing their hands in anticipation.

The Age of the Lions sems to have effectively paved the way for the Age of the Hyenas.


At 11/07/2005 07:47:00 AM, Blogger Abu Kais said...

a summary of al-labwani's interview here:

At 11/07/2005 08:14:00 AM, Blogger Hashem said...

Hi Josh,

I've just signed my name of, how come I didn't see your name there? :P


At 11/07/2005 08:50:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Presumably, one of the reasons that Bashar's Baath Regime still enjoys the support of many is because of their strong stand against Israel. After all, he,at least, will not sell out to the west and Israel the thinking goes. According to news reports this morning, Sharon was quoted saying "I don't intend to enter negotiations with Syria because I don't want to withdraw from the Golan hights". The meeting concluded with the decision that "Israel shouldn't extend its hand to Syria when the nation's leaders are isolated internationally".

I had challenged any reader to offer one single positive achievement that this regime can be proud of over the past 40 years. I am yet to hear one. Apparantly, it takes time to think of one, so we will keep waiting.

One reader emailed Mr.Landis to supposedly complain about his presence in Syria. This enlightened Syrian nationalist did not want an American enemy residing in his country. Shame on this party/regime and shame on us. For a country of such an incredible geographic location, for a country which arguably has some of the longest and oldest inhabited metropolitan cities in the world, for a country of 18 million people with massive potential to even be able to recognize that one single American professor (no offense intended Mr. Landis) resides within its borders is a testement to how backward, insulated, out of the mainstream this potentially great nation has become. For the closest Arab country to Europe to be in this predicement is nothing short of CRIMINAL. Everyday that passes with the Baath party ruling this nation is equivelant to stabbing 18 million people's inspirations, standards of living, honor, reputation and prospects.

At 11/07/2005 10:46:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

Asef Shawkat: I'll Burn Damascus to Ashes then Commit Suicide
Syrian sources have confirmed to Al Siyassah, the Kuwaiti based newspaper, that Asef Shawkat has told Bashar Assad that he won't obey Mehlis' orders and go to Beirut for questioning in relation to the investigation into the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.
Asef Shawkat sent a letter to Bashar Al Assad mentioning, " Rustom Ghazali, Hassan Khalil, Bahjat Slueiman, Mohammed Khallouf and Gamea Gamea can all rot in Lebanese Jails. Maher Assad and I aren't going to Beirut for questioning."
In his lethal letter to Bashar Al Assad Shawkat continued, " I used to be one of the most powerful men in Beirut. It's impossible for me to be questioned by Mehlis or any Lebanese Judge. Me and Maher are ready to face anyone who dares to touch us."
Shawkat ends his letter by saying, "II would rather burn Damascus to Ashes and commit suicide than handing myself into Lebanese and UN authorities."
Al Siyassah also reveal that Bahjat Suleiman, former Syrian police chief, told family that if Bashar Al Assad hands him over to Lebanese authorities, then he will confess everything to Mehlis. Suleiman said, " I'll tell Mehlis, who planned and executed the assassination of Hariri."
on Saturday did suggest that Mehlis had summoned six top Syrian officials to be questioned in Beirut on Monday 7th of November.
Sources: Al Siyassah & Libnen

At 11/07/2005 10:49:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

Bashar Being Blackmailed By Maher
Maher Assad and Asef Shawkat, the two main suspects into the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, are reported to have planted Syrian cities with bombs. Both Generals in the Syrian Regime have been resisting calls from Bashar Al Assad to cooperate with the UN probe.
It's believed that Bashar Al Assad is trying to push the two Generals into handing themselves in to the UN probe in Beirut. Witnesses in the Damascus have confirmed that Syrian soldiers have surrounded Asef Shawkat's and Maher Assad's houses.
In another dramatic development, Syrian soldiers have surrounded the Syrian Military Intelligence Headquarters and Presidential Guard Headquarters in Syria. This is seen as a measure to protect Bashar Al Assad from any revolt conducted by units headed by Maher Al Assad and Asef Shawkat which both are head of the presidential guard and military intelligence respectively.
Sources have confirmed that if Maher Al Assad or Asef Shawkat are handed to Lebanese authorities, a string of car bombs will hit Syrian cities throwing Syria into chaos.
It's rumoured that Detliv Mehlis will order the arrest of Syrian officials after the Ramadan festivities.

At 11/07/2005 03:25:00 PM, Blogger O.D.M said...

I can't deal with anyone who quotes that stupid Al-Seyassa newspaper..

I don't know why they are against Syria all of a sudden, but I know that they have as much credebility as Farid Ghadry has.

Now is the time for Syria to open up, hand in requested officials, and do some major reforms that surprise all Syrians. We need that God damn Parliament!

At 11/07/2005 03:46:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

O.D.M. Said:
We need that God damn Parliament!

LOL, you mean I should place my bets on the semi-illiterate, Baathist rubber-stamp, yes-(wo)men, scum filling our Parliament? I don't think so.

Our problem, really, is that we have no credible alternate leadership. I've read a little about Riad Seif, and he is the closest Syrian politician to fit the profile of a potentially honest leader, but then again, power corrupts...

At 11/07/2005 04:11:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...


Its astonishing how silly you sound. As for the rest calling for the leadership to go. i would like to say that you need to stop whining. everyone, including people who despise the regime (which is your right) know that there is no viable alternative. so like it or not, i feel the best solution is to push for change in the government's leadership style instead of overthrowing it. you know they are unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon. so find away to work with them for the better of your country. because whining and cursing is not gonna do much

At 11/07/2005 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Yabroud said...

trying to fix this blog by posting something

At 11/07/2005 06:44:00 PM, Blogger Yabroud said...

It seems that there is some kind of agreement between the powers and the Assads as I have noticed that Mehlis is not asking for the testimony of Maher Assad. May be the Regime is being spared and they don't want to topple it.

Your chance, Bashar. If I were you, I would start from now transfer all of my money to my wife and the children with their British Passports.

At 11/07/2005 07:21:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

This regime is history. Stop convincing yourself that only if they change, things will get better and the country will be spared. Don't fall into their trap. They have been in power for 40 years. They have had ample time to change. What makes you think that another 5-10 years will do the trick? Plus, when one talks that the regime may reform and change specificity is the key word. You can claim change by taking baby steps. Syria has to bite the bullet and do for wholesale change at every facet of Government. No change can take place so long as the current constitution guarantees the Baath party to lead the country. One Advil a day for a parient struck with a massive 40 year disease is not the kind of change the will produce results. Who takes over? What if turns chaotic? I belive the alarmists will prove to be wrong. This scare tactic is what the regime wants you to believe. A country that borders Israel will not be allowed to disintigrate or, more importantly, fall into the hands sof Islamic fanatics. Regardless of the risks, the country will have to do it at some point. For people who argue let us let the regime and hope that they change, I would like to ask, TILL WHEN? Is another 10 years enough, or do we need perhaps 40 more? If it is hard and risky now, what makes you think it is easier then? In the world of investments, it comes to a time when you have to cut your loss. That day is already way past.

At 11/07/2005 10:35:00 PM, Blogger BP said...

This government, this nation wants to be respected?????

Syrian MPs in Special Parliamentary Session:

Syrian MP: "You should look for the murderers of Al-Hariri in Tel Aviv and Washington. You should look for the perpetrators of this crime and for those who stood to gain from it.

"The Syrians will never forgive those who have made it their business to harm Syria."


Khalil Musa: "This report is political and politicized, and is far from being reasonable or just. The Mehlis report should have cleared Syria, if it had been professional and objective.

"It is invalid for the following reasons: First, it lacks even a modicum of justice and reason. Second, it contains grave professional errors, as my colleagues, who are also lawyers, have mentioned. Third, it is based on witnesses known for their lack of credibility, and for their hostility towards Syria. Fourth, there is no evidence in support of this report. Fifth, the report refrains from accusing, or even mentioning, Israel, although it is the only one to benefit from Al-Hariri's murder."


Huneim Namar: "The greatest thing that the Americans and Israelis achieved from this Mehlis report is to divert attention away from any possible role played by the Israeli Mossad, the American CIA, or any other party who may have been responsible for this crime, as well as to direct the spotlight exclusively on Syria."


Hassan Taleb: "The Syrian masses stress their loyalty to the homeland, and to the leader, Bashar Al-Assad. They say, and I say on their behalf: My soul I will sacrifice for you, Syria, and I will give everything for you. I have planted my heart and all I have in its soil. May Allah protect Assad, you are my sword. You are the mighty leader. You are my eyes. They chanted your name, Bashar, and I say: I will sacrifice my eyes for you. "


Anwar 'Ubeid: "What is happening today is an indication that America and Bush are coveting this nation's resources. Syria is the only thorn to remain in the eye of Zionism and its collaborators. Hence, the Mehlis report is a clear attempt to pressure and harm Syria, the Syrian people, and their leaders.

"We are all familiar with Lebanon and with the intrigues of its leaders. Collaboration flows in their veins, and treachery thrives in their midst. Today they repay Syria's loyalty to them with treachery. They repay the attempts to help them with an effort to destroy Syria, and to put pressure on us."


Syrian MP: "Syria in its entirety went [to battle] when some people wanted to attack it – the entire Syrian people, the young and the old, said: 'We will dig their graves with our bare hands.'

"Today, too, we say: With our hands, with our fingernails, with our children and our elderly, with our women and with our youth, we will dig their graves, if they think of attacking the capital of the Umayyad. Thank you."

Lets hope, Syrians will get what they deserve and they are looking for.

At 11/07/2005 10:40:00 PM, Blogger BP said...

I would call this blasphemy!!!!

Hassan Taleb: "The Syrian masses stress their loyalty to the homeland, and to the leader, Bashar Al-Assad. They say, and I say on their behalf: My soul I will sacrifice for you, Syria, and I will give everything for you. I have planted my heart and all I have in its soil. May Allah protect Assad, you are my sword. You are the mighty leader. You are my eyes. They chanted your name, Bashar, and I say: I will sacrifice my eyes for you. "

At 11/07/2005 10:51:00 PM, Blogger BP said...

See this:

At 11/08/2005 01:28:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I told you the Assad regime was no different from the Saddam's one. Though Hafez Assad pretended to be more "intelligent" than that ass hole Saddam, it would have been a matter of time to see him down that hole as well (had he lived to this day)! But, his son is proving the same thing. His pictures fill the Damascus streets as well, and the personality cult he is pursuing without a shame that he was labeled "Western Educated" by some!

What BP brought up of the slogans chanted "obligatory" by the Syrian youth or aged men and women is very much in line with the dummy Saddam did even in his worst days! Should Assad add the words "Alah Akbar" to the Syrian flag at this stage? I think he will.

Those retarded leaders such as Saddam and Assads were imposed on millions and made these millions as retarded as they were. Syria needs to be saved of itself!

At 11/08/2005 02:17:00 AM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

Nobody has defended the Baathist regime till now....well that’s a shock!

Filled with cronyism, corruption, they have destroyed Syria's education system and brought the oil-dependent economy to a stand-still. All in the name of internal security.

So I guess that is their only achievement in 40 years: Internal security was maintained quite well. And maybe or maybe not they have built up an arsenal of weapons to counter the Israeli threat. The perception is that they have—so that is the truth. With our friendly neighbor Israel, unfortunately that is also an necessary achievement which we may forget

I don't think anyone is claiming the Baathist experiment has been a success. That is not the point. The point is what is the best way to get a system that works better.

But again lets be realistic.

If you think the regime is history--please come back to reality. People inside Syria will tell you the chances for it to happen is very low and its not about to happen without a lot of bloodshed. As a Syrian patriot--would u risk blood on your hands to completely start from scratch with a regime that could very well be just as inefficient—just as bad? Ask yourself if you were Iraqi--would you do what Ahmad Chalabi did? With his "intelligence" he has brought a new leadership to Iraq---granted at the cost of several-hundred thousand of his fellow countrymen. (and forgive my crudeness but what better way to counter a rapidly growing population and huge unemployment than a couple hundred thousand less lives and a destroyed infrastructure to rebuild and provide jobs) Is it worth it? In Iraq maybe I just might agree. Saddam was still young and firmly entrenched and his sons were ready to take over when his reign was over.

But let me make the claim that Syria is different. Let me make the claim that it is inaccurate and misleading to claim the past 40 years was a continuous and uninterrupted Baathist rule--as if the death of Hafez Al-Assad did not even take place. Can anyone deny that more has taken place to improve and ‘westernisze’ the country in the past 5 years than the previous 10 years? The banks, the cellphones, the private unis, the (limited) press, the improved relations with Turkey and Jordan, the removal of nearly every single baathist from Hafez's day, the freedom of speech that I am reading is unprecedented in comparison to Pre-Bashar days.

Now it could be this is all one big, complicated ploy designed to distract the world from the truth. But if that were the case, Bashar would be going to a lot of trouble to distract his people. The principle of Occam’s Razor tells us that given two equally predictive theories, the simpler one is most likely correct. The simpler explanation is that things are actually changing and this is not some elaborate hoax of change simply to cling to power.

And let us not pull a George Bush—-so full of hubris and denial--and attempt to force wholesale change when conditions in Syria simply are not ready for this huge change. The reality is there is no credible opposition. But what if ask you if there is a more credible opposition now than five years ago--undoubtedly yes. This trend is not suddenly going to reverse itself--that would be unnatural. It is natural to expect in 5 years time that conditions on the ground will improve more and make economic recovery and political change easier.

I believe it is dangerous and rather foolish to attempt to drive a car over a rocky pass without first attempting paving a road. Clear the large boulders first, then the rocks, then lay a foundation for a road and only when your road is at least somewhat paved will you be able to reach the other side of the mountain.

At 11/08/2005 03:07:00 AM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...

Again the question: What do the Syrians really want and what do they deserve? "Fallen chips", what does it means? Do it by yourself? If you go to democracy the rest of the world will support you? What we see and hear now from within syria is just hate. They hate all and any body. A society of hate.
"We need leaders, and if we don’t have them, we need to learn how to give birth to them, how to raise them, how to make them. In order to do this, we have a lot of introspection to do, and a lot of heresies to conjure, learn and practice, all sorts of heresies.

Heresy is freedom. But heresy means more fire as well, albeit a different kind of fire."

We destroyed our youth.
We are dictators too.

At 11/08/2005 04:19:00 AM, Blogger Lebanon Divided said...

Did you call Al Seyassah stupid when, on the 17th of February, it accused Maher Al Assad and Assef Shawkat of murdering Hariri?

Thanks, no need to answer.

At 11/08/2005 04:55:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

it's true that the kuwaiti al siyasseh is not famous for its reliabilty but we have to admit that many stories related to Syria were then confirmed accurate.

At 11/08/2005 05:15:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

Tishreen, Mister ODM, will tell us soon what commissioner Miss Marple investigated. And her result will convince the whole world. ;)


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