Saturday, February 04, 2006

Syria's Opposition Dilemma

Syria's Opposition Dilemma
by Joshua Landis
February 4, 2006

The opposition meeting in Washington DC last weekend was a success by all reports. Even though only 55 people gathered at the hotel conference center on Saturday and 65 on Sunday, several observers insisted that it wasn't the number of participants that made it important but the fact that for the first time the secular Syrian opposition met openly with the religious opposition. Perhaps more importantly, the internal Syrian opposition embraced the opposition in exile.

The door was opened last year for this combination by Riad al-Turk, the honorary leader of the internal secularists, when he left Syria to meet the head of the Muslim Brotherhood in London. Although the meeting, as televised on al-Mustaqilla channel, was a bit awkward, both called for a united front and democratic Syria. The long estrangement and bitter feud between secular and religious opponents of the regime seemed to be at an end.

Following this breakthrough, the "Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change" was issued by the internal and secular opposition in Syria on Oct. 16, 2005. It called for an end to Syria's emergency laws and other forms of political repression, and for a national conference on democratic change. Most importantly, the declaration was endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood, based in London. As Anwar al-Bunni, the leading human rights lawyer in Damascus, said at the time:

"The declaration demonstrates that there is a democratic alternative to the Baathists that have ruled Syria for 40 years. The regime wants the world to believe that if they go, it is only Islamists and radicals who will come to replace them. It is high time to publish this statement. Syria really needs all the world to know that there is a replacement for Assad that is democratic and liberal."
The most controversial line of the declaration was one meant to cement the alliance with the MB. It read:

Islam -- which is the religion and ideology of the majority, with its lofty intentions, higher values, and tolerant canon law -- is the more prominent cultural component in the life of the nation and the people. Our Arab civilization has been formed within the framework of its ideas, values, and ethics and in interaction with the other national historic cultures in our society, through moderation, tolerance, and mutual interaction, free of fanaticism, violence, and exclusion, while having great concern for the respect of the beliefs, culture, and special characteristics of others, whatever their religious, confessional, and intellectual affiliations, and openness to new and contemporary cultures.
This statement privileging Islam, the religion and ideology of the majority, as the "most prominent cultural component in the life of the nation and the people" rankled with some, in particular Christians and the Islamic minorities in Syria, such as the Alawites, Ismailis and Druze, who together make up some 25% of the population of Syria.

Although the official Islamic curriculum taught in Syrian schools states that Christians will go to heaven -- unique in the Arab World -- this is a minority view among Muslim clerics in Syria, let alone the broader Islamic world. Likewise, although Alawites, Ismailis and Druze are officially named Muslims and treated as such by Syrian law and the Baath Party, Muslim clerics, both Shiite and Sunni, have not embraced the notion that they are Muslims. A minority tradition among clerics from both schools of Islam has developed during the past century suggesting that they are indeed Muslims, but it remains a distinctly minority tradition. Bayanouni and the new leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have never specifically stated that Syria's Muslim minority sects are full-fledged Muslims, nor have they stated that Christians will go to heaven. Most members of Syria's minority communities still remember the exclusionary and bigoted statements of the Muslim Brother leadership of the 1980s, which referred to them as kufar, or unbelievers. Although Bayanouni renounces the excesses and mistakes of the Muslim Brothers in the 1980s, he has not completely reassured minorities that they will be treated as equals. The religious question remains a major stumbling block in the way of true unity among the opposition, and, indeed, within Syrian society more generally.

Secularism and the separation of church and state form the obvious route around this theological impasse. The Muslim Brotherhood has gone a long way toward embracing secularism in its endorsement of political pluralism and democracy. The paragraph directly following the "Islam" statement in the Damascus Declaration reads:


No party or trend has the right to claim an exceptional role. No one has the right to shun the other, persecute him, and usurp his right to existence, free expression, and participation in the homeland. Democracy as a modern system that has universal values, is based on the principles of liberty and the sovereignty of the people and state institutions, enables the people through free and periodic elections to hold those in power accountable and to change them.
The gap between Islamists and secularists has finally been narrowed enough to permit a political alliance between the two. This is a real triumph. It is what made the Damascus Declaration such a groundbreaking document. Likewise, the gap between the internal opposition and the exile opposition has been overcome. This is the significance of the Washington conference held last week. At the heart of this second division was the role of the United States. Much of the exile community has sought to ally itself with Washington and with foreign capitals more generally, in order to strengthen its hand against the Baath Party. Syrian based opponents of the regime have resisted this strategy for decades. Their stated platform was that although the Syrian people stood against the Baath regime, they would close rank with it on nationalist grounds to oppose external threats to the fatherland, in particular those coming from Israel and the West.

The Washington conference promised to close this second gap. The telephone hook-up between members of the Damascus-based Atassi Forum and the participants of the Washington conference seemed to solidify a growing alliance between American based opponents of the Asad regime and those within Syria. On top of this, Riad al-Saif, the recently freed leader of the Damascus Spring Movement, gave his benediction to the formation of this united opposition front.

The opening of a new opposition rift
But just as unity seemed to be all but locked up, another split among opposition members has opened up, this time over the role of Israel. There are other reasons to do with clashing personalities, religion, and opposition strategy, which have opened up old wounds, but the Arab-Israeli conflict is at its heart.

Only days before the convening of the Washington conference, its organizers stated that they would exclude Farid Ghadry, the President of the Reform Party of Syria, as well as a secondary personality, Mohammed al-Jbaili, a friend of Ghadry's who has recently started a new party called Rally for Syria. Jbaili was a founding member of the Syrian National Council, which organized the Washington conference. Ghadry and Jbaili hailed the convening of the Washington conference as a watershed event only days before it was convened, writing:

As far as we are concerned, several steps are being planned one of which is an important strategy session in February that will bring back the opposition most likely to be part of the architecture groups of Syria's future (there will be many participants from a wide spectrum of the Syrian opposition). This group, in general, believes that Syria does not belong to the Ba`athists or their subordinate offshoot ideological political parties but rather to a new vision that embraces the market economy as the centerpiece of that vision. The meeting will host mostly young and determined Syrians who see eye-to-eye with today's generation of Syrians. RPS is sending several young people to this meeting.
When they heard about their exclusion, Ghadry and Jbaili lashed out against the organizers in an interview covered by the "New York Sun." Jbaili insisted that he was excluded because he had spoken out against an opposition alliance with Islamists, such as the Muslim Brothers, or Baathists. Ghadry explained that he had been excluded because "Baathism and Islamism are antithetical to the spirit of Syrian reform. We don't want to replace one dictatorship with another."

Although Ghadry claims he is for sharing power with all Syrian opponents of the regime, his criticism of Islamists, ex-Marxists, and Arab nationalists belies his commitment to them. This is the way Ghadry's party describes its pioneering efforts:

The RPS was the first dissident group that asked for regime change, and when we met in Washington DC in November of 2003 with other opposition organizations such as Jean Antar of the Assyrian Movement and Dr. Hussein Saado, a Kurdish nuclear scientist representing the Kurdish community in Germany, and Taufiq Hamdosch of the Kurdish Democratic Party, we issued the first anti-government communiqué. It was strongly worded in favor of regime change for Syria. We were the first to raise this flag and appropriately enough almost all the other opposition groups have followed suit since.
Moreover, Ghadry arranged meetings between the Washington officials whose confidence he gained and other opposition members. He is in part responsible for the meeting between Mr. al-Dairi, a leader of last week's conference, and the vice president's daughter and a deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, Elizabeth Cheney, last year.

The problem with Ghadry's approach is that by calling for a violent overthrow of the government with US assistance, shunning Islamists, socialists and ex-Baathist, as well as by allying himself with Syria's enemies, he has alienated himself from the mainstream of Syrian society. When organizing last week’s opposition meeting in Washington, the Syrian Nation Council was forced to choose between Ghadry's group and the Islamists. It chose to ally with the Islamists.

As Mr. Ghadbian, a professor of the University of Arkansas and founder of the National Council, explained, "he prefers for Baathists, Islamists, and the Muslim Brotherhood to be included in a post-Assad Syria." He also said that he felt it was important for a democratic Syria to preserve its Muslim identity and stressed the importance of the conference's goals of "seeing a pluralistic, liberal Syria replace the unacceptable tyranny of the Assad dictatorship." He explained the reason for Mr. Ghadry's not being invited was that he was perceived by dissidents who would be leaving Syria to attend the conference as "too close to the Bush administration," describing Mr. Ghadry as "the Chalabi of Syria."

Although Muslim Brothers and other Syrian opposition members were willing to reverse their longstanding opposition to the US, they were not willing to go so far as to embrace those they saw as neoconservatives or members who have gotten too close to the Lebanese and Israeli lobbies. Such a strategy would kill them at home, where anti-Israeli and anti-Lebanese sentiment runs high, and anyone seen to be in cahoots with the government of either country is quickly labeled a traitor.

So what is to be done? The squabble between Syria's many opposition groups and Ghadry threatens to return them to square one, just when it looked as if the Syrian opposition had discovered a foreign policy. Many opposition members have argued that Ghadry is unimportant, but that is not true. It is only true if the opposition does not expect Western aid. Ghadry has now begun to attack the entire Syria opposition as either witting or unwitting "acolytes, useful idiots, or minstrels" of the Asad regime, because they won't join him and his allies in Washington in calling for Asad's downfall. Ghadry has a point when he argues that without US aid, the opposition will have a long a difficult road ahead of it. But the Syrian opposition also has a point when they claim that Ghadry is out of touch with Syria. Here is how one anonymous commentator put it on the blog site of the Reform Party of Syria, curiously named, "Syriacommentplus:"

Dear Mr. Ghadry,

First, Let me clarify that despite my disagreement with how you are going about it, I greatly respect you commitment to something I am assuming you deeply believe in. I also want to clarify that I am a Syrian Citizen writing you from the US. I have no political affiliations with anyone in or out of Syria. I am very much a Democrat and a liberal.

When it comes to Syria, my position is governed by my love for that wonderful country and its people, care for the well-being of the people, hope for its future, and a deep understanding of the current status of its society, especially in regards to its ability to change without drifting into Iraqi style chaos.

Does there exist a Syrian who does not want to see change? The answer is NO. The key however is to think of this change and approach it with a deep understanding of what the situation on the ground is and the ability of the so called opposition, inside and outside, to handle the next step. Also whether it has any popular support to do that.

What I find interesting in your article is that you raise issues that ironically weaken your own argument and credibility. Let us think of the opposition groups for a moment; you listed the Assyrian Movement and various Kurdish groups, one being a very small fringe group and the other a group representing those who want to annex part of Syria to an independent Kurdistan. All are non-mainstream, minority ethnic groups, the last thing the country needs. You on the other hand made peace with Israel your priority. You made the neo-conservatives in the US your friends even though there is nothing they would love to do more than fly some cruise missiles to Damascus. With all due respect to all those people, there is no patriotic, clean, and credible opposition group in or out of Syria today that the main stream Syrians can trust.

We have serious problems in Syria today, the lack of education is a serious problem, and corruption is terrible. People, as much as they want to see change, they want to see it take place slowly and without the loss of security that represents really all they have. As stated in you article, in the footnote, there is no leadership in the country. It is all old, dead, or in jails. You answer is to cooperate with the Lebanese groups in the US, who have ignorantly offended your average “Abu Ahmad” in every thing he is proud of as a Syrian in their quest to accomplish something they can’t even agree on, to get some act passed through congress to put more pressure on a country where the same “Abu Ahmed” is already suffocating.

As I have stated in the past, true change in Syria has to happen through positive pressure on the country that include economic investments combined with political pressures to prevent it from going to the same officials who presently control the country. This will enhance people's lives and move them up in their needs pyramid so they can become more politically active and bring change from the inside, under the umbrella of the interest of the country and not that of one ethnic group or another.

Mr. Gharry, I encourage you to listen to those in the country, hear what they have to say and leave Washington out of it. You will then understand why your message or that of similar opposition groups is rejected.

To be fare to Ghadry, here is his response on supporting neocons:

On the issue of neo-conservatives, the best answer I can give you is the following: Who do you want us to get help from to pressure the US government against the Assad regime? The State Department that still is more likely to protect Assad than hurt him? Or the intelligence community that has turned a blind eye to the Arab dictators? Or the Europeans that most, until the Hariri killing, protected Assad and some to a certain extent still do? In politics, you choose your partners based on goals and not on ideology. My goals are to see Syria become democratic peacefully.
Ghadry has no faith that the Syrian opposition will be able to rid Syria of dictatorship, so he has allied with the neocons who he believes will overturn Asad, whether peacefully or not. Most of the Syrian opposition does not want the assistance of the neocons, having been frightened by the Iraq, and earlier, Palestinian examples. They prefer to do it on their own, even if it takes a long time. They are happy to have America squeeze Syria and pressure it on human rights issues, but on the whole, they don't want America to break the state as it did in Iraq.

The US dilemma

The US administration also faces a dilemma: should it cut connections with the newly united Syrian opposition because it opposes peace with Israel and supports Islamists, or should it support the Syrian opposition and court the ire of the Lebanese and Israeli lobbies, which are integral to American society and its own foreign policy planning?

Farid Ghadry has explained that the antagonists in this American struggle are the Defense Department, the President’s office, and “appointed politicians,” who are for regime change in Syria, on the one hand, and the State Department on the other. State, or as Ghadry puts it, the “cocktail party diplomats at Foggy Bottom,” are not interested in regime-change. They are soft on the Syrian opposition and only want to “weaken Bashar.” Their hope is to build up the opposition to encourage evolutionary change rather than to force a quick overthrow or sudden collapse of the regime, which they believe would most likely lead to political chaos. As Edward Walker, a former Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs and presently director of the Middle East Institute, said in 2003, "The only opposition I know of in Syria is the Muslim Brotherhood."

Following elections in which Islamists or anti-Americans have swept the poles in Iran, Iraq, Egypt and now Palestine, it is very hard to believe that either side in the US administration will be successful. Those who want the US to get behind the newly unified Syrian opposition, despite its strong Islamist wing, will be dissuaded from doing so by those who refuse to support further Islamist gains in the name of democracy. And those who want more forceful regime-change, such as the neocons, will also be dissuaded by the same fear. Despite claims by Ghadry, that people like him -- free traders and pro-American liberals -- are the real majority in Syria, and not Islamists or those who would follow the Muslim Brothers, few are likely to believe him. My hunch is that the Hamas victory has thrown the US for a loop. The recent riots in Damascus and burning of the Danish and Norwegian embassies over the cartoon affaire will only deepen the confusion in the halls of Western capitals and once again arouse worries of the "Muslim mob," whether it was encouraged by the government or not.

Three years ago, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld "did not advocate seeking out Syrian exiles and dissidents for an opposition movement" because his department "decided that none of the options were more attractive than the incumbents." All that changed after the invasion of Iraq, when Asad made the decision to support the fundamentalists who wanted to kill US soldiers rather than support the US soldiers who wanted to kill fundamentalists. In a "with us or against us world," Asad was against us. Farid Ghadry was with us.

But if the US government was quick to support exile groups, such as Ghadry's, they were slow to support opponents of the regime living within Syria. Only in the Fall of 2005, when Labwani flew to Washington, did Washington come alive to the notion that supporting Syrians inside Syria could be fruitful. Days after the Labwani affaire, the embassy officials in Damascus began reaching out to Riad al-Turk and other Syrian opposition figures for the first time. The meeting in Washington last week was a product of this effort. What will happen to it now is anyone's guess. To stop supporting the liberals out of fear of the Muslim Brothers would be a mistake. State Department officials insist they will continue to reach out to as broad a coalition as they can. This kind of grass-roots work will take years to come to fruition. But there is no short cut to transforming Syria. It will take the hard work of many. Ultimately, it can only be done by Syrians for Syrians. But if Washington is smart, it will continue to build good relations with as many Syrians who support reform as possible.

59 Comments:

At 2/04/2006 08:20:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

The savagery of the Syrian Regime (the Assad regime) is manifested clearly in this photo after it has organized and orchestrated so called Protests against a Cartoon in the Danemark. I hope the world understand now to what extent this regime will go in using religion, and all backward issues to keep itself in power;

Syrians' rage

 
At 2/04/2006 08:26:00 PM, Blogger ahnad said...

من حرق سفارة الدانمرك في دمشق؟ بقلم بسام درويش 2/4/2006 الرعاع الذين خرجوا في مظاهرتهم في دمشق لم يكونوا ليصلوا إلى مبنى السفارة الدانمركية لولا سماح النظام الحاكم لهم بالوصول إليها. فكيف إذن بحرقها؟!!


إن من يعرف بطش النظام وقوة قبضته الحديدية في سوريا، يعرف تماماً أنه ليس هناك من مظاهرة تخرج وتتابع مسيرتها إلا بتصريح منه. أما إذا خرجت دون تصريح، فإن النظام لن يحتاج سوى إلى دقائق لقمعها وإلقاء القبض على محركيها.

عندما خرج الطلاب أمام قصر العدل في العام الماضي في مظاهرتهم السلمية، أطلق النظام كلابه البعثية من قفصها المسمى "اتحاد الطلبة"، فاعتدوا على المتظاهرين بالهراوات وفرقوهم خلال دقائق.

هل يعقل أن يستطيع هؤلاء الرعاع حرق السفارة دون تصريح من النظام؟.. هل يعقل أن لا يعرف النظام مسبقاً بنوايا المتظاهرين؟.. لماذا لم تطوّق قوات النظام السفارة قبل وصول هؤلاء الرعاع الجهلة إليها؟..

هل السماح بحرق السفارة ثمن بسيط يدفعه النظام للشارع الإسلامي كي يتعاطف معه في وجه الغرب الذي أجمعت دوله على محاسبته على جرائمه؟..

بسام درويش

 
At 2/04/2006 09:26:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

“…..Ghadry has a point when he argues that without US aid, the opposition is unimportant and will fail to unseat the Asad regime……”

The U.S will never provides aid for Syrian Oppositions, it has already struck a not formal but a tacit deal with president Assad, sort of like a gentlemen agreement. Israeli who really run Washington foreign Policy and Congress have made it clear that they prefer the Baath party in power in Syria. The U.S. just using these guppy Islamists as a pressure tools on President Assad, that is all.

It is all a waste of time and an exercise in futility. The road to Damascus and Syria can only be reached though negotiation with President Assad and that is when Western support will be needed. Since this is not the route taken by Washington, and it is the only viable route, one will have to conclude that the all the U.S apparent support now is a ploy. I can assure you that President Assad does not play these kind of Washingtonian silly games. Keep on trying, keep on sucking air.

 
At 2/04/2006 09:29:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

The only reason for the west to insult the prophet Muhamad is because muslems have been very weak in asking and fighting for their rights in Palestine Kashmir Iraq and recently Iran,they would never dare chalenge the Holicost,so this a declaration of war against Islam that is if Muslem care about what the west say about them as dirty backward stupid and other things,about the emergency law in Syria ,Syria should abbolish that law and institute a patriat act law simmiler to the one in the US which allowes the national security agency spying and putting people in prison without crime and denying them lawers like what they did to Padela cofiscating property can be done in the US with what is called Immenent domine which allows the govorment to confiscate land and pay their own prcies which usualy much lower than market value, the MB is Syria are trying to chang their skin without changing their ultimate goal which is to reach power and with the people in Syria concerm about coruption the MB will reach power like in Iraq ,Palqstine and will take years for the people to put aside their religous beleives and chose other than the MB,remember the Turks Muslems occupied Arab land for 800 years under the name of Islam,the way to solve that is to legalize only parties that any Syrian can join ,no ethnic or religous parties ,yes the MB have a rule in Syria but it should be like the christian majority in the US ,i mean association but not political parties the samr for the Kurds association like the mexican american the jewish deffence amd the Arab american organization.

 
At 2/04/2006 09:43:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Ghadry believes that without USA help we can not overthrow Assad, I srongly disagree, if US helped us then they will control us and we will not be free for long time, we will pay heavy price for american help, US is just like bank or morgage company, they make you pay three time the price of your house, and they say they are helping you,.
the conference in DC is right in excluding Ghadry, infact he excluded himself, by refusing to cooperate with MB or communist, they are patriotic people too, he himself said you allied with those you have common goal with, yet he contradict himself and refuse to join those who have common goal with.
my problems with those who met in DC are,they dont stress on freedom and liberty, this is the most important, issue and this alone is enough, with liberty we will respect all other group, will achieve human rights, women rights, will achieve unity with other arabic country, will have better economy, I want to mention that unity between egypt and syria was possible because syria in 1958 was a free country, however it was the wrong union, since Nasser was a dictator, and his dictatorship caused the secession.
if we dont dedicate ourself to freedom and liberty, then as we unseat Assad, we will fight between us, that would be wrong.
the opposition that is present outside syria, must work with the inside opposition, those who count the strikes,are not like the one who is suffering from it, we need to give them due respect and leadership.
we need radio station, or TV.to explain to the people that if they rise in large number, Assad will colapse, if we convince the syrian to move like volcano, in large number, only then a Dictator will be removed, it is JASMINE REVOLUTION, the wind may not shake the mountain, but certainly will will reduce it and blow it away, or pass over it.

 
At 2/04/2006 09:55:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

"........On the issue of neo-conservatives, the best answer I can give you is the following: Who do you want us to get help from to pressure the US government against the Assad regime? The State Department that still is more likely to protect Assad than hurt him? Or the intelligence community that has turned a blind eye to the Arab dictators? Or the Europeans that most, until the Hariri killing, protected Assad and some to a certain extent still do? In politics, you choose your partners based on goals and not on ideology. My goals are to see Syria become democratic peacefully...."

So you are saying that Syrian oppositions should, and it is okay, for them to be aligned and get aid from the Devil, and his agents on earth, the most evil beings ever created that has brought so much death and destruction on our country. What else can these NEOCONS offer the Syrian oppositions other than more evil and diabolic deeds, manifested clearly in IRAQ. Or are you expecting them to be reformed by now.

 
At 2/04/2006 10:22:00 PM, Blogger ahnad said...

أميركا تريد معارضة سورية جدية بديلة
GMT 3:15:00 2006 الأحد 5 فبراير
. بهية مارديني



http://www.elaph.com/ElaphWeb/Politics/2006/2/125827.htm


مؤتمر واشنطن بين إسقاط وإصلاح للنظام
أميركا تريد معارضة سورية جدية بديلة

بهية مارديني من دمشق: أثار مؤتمر المعارضة السورية في واشنطن "اللقاء الأول للقوى الوطنية السورية في اميركا الشمالية"، الذي اختتم اعماله الاحد الماضي ونظم مؤتمرا صحافيا الخميس، سؤالا مهما حول ماتطلبه المعارضة السورية في هذه المرحلة وهل ينحصر الامر في اصلاح النظام في سورية ام اسقاطه، الأمر الذي لم يتم الاتفاق عليه اثناء النقاشات بين معارضة الداخل والخارج بحسب مراقبين، في حين تم الاجماع على رفض النموذج العراقي، فيما كشف معارضون اكراد ان لقاءهم مع الخارجية الاميركية ركز على إيجاد معارضة جدية في سورية بديلة عن السلطة الحالية وان لديهم خطوط ضد التعاون مع بعض الاسماء.

وفي تصريحات خاصة لـ"ايلاف" من سورية، قال المعارض سمير نشار - الذي شارك في مؤتمر واشنطن، إنه لا يوجد عقل سياسي في سورية بل يوجد عقل امني لذلك لا يمكن دراسة ردود فعل السلطة تجاه مشاركة السوريين من الداخل في مؤتمر المعارضة في واشنطن ولايمكن معرفة هل سيتم اعتقال المشاركين من الداخل في المؤتمر ام لا. واكد نشار ان الشيء الذي ندركه ان ردود فعل النظام ابدا لم تكن محسوبة او مدروسة.

وحول مؤتمر واشنطن وتوحيد خطاب المعارضة، اعتبر الدكتور عمار قربي الناشط السياسي الحقوقي الذي شارك في المؤتمر انه ما زالت مسألة توحيد الداخل والخراج حتى الآن صعبة، لان الخطاب غير موحد في الداخل وغير موحد في الخارج. وقال قربي إنه استنتج بعد لقاء واشنطن إن "الامراض الذاتية التي تعاني منها المعارضة السورية في الداخل تعاني منها المعارضة في الخارج من اقصاء للاخر وديكتاتورية في الراي وفردية وذاتية في العمل حيث اقتصر الحضور على اصحاب الطيف الواحد"، الأمر الذي اعتبره يعيق توحيد الخطاب إضافة إلى الأمور غير المتشابهة التي يمر بها الطرفان. وأشار قربي إلى أخطاء حصلت في الدعوات الموجهة الى الشخصيات للمشاركة في اللقاء، إذ لم يدعوا المؤتمر جميع اطراف المعارضة ولم يوجه دعوة لاي من أطياف الحركة الكردية السياسية في الداخل والخارج، الأمر الذي لم يجد له مبررا اذ ان معارضون اكراد تواجدوا في ذات الفترة في واشنطن وكان سهلا الاتصال بهم ولم يحدث ذلك وجاء الوفد الكردي دون توجيه دعوة الى المؤتمر الصحافي الختامي يوم الخميس الماضي.

أضاف قربي أنه إذا اعتبرت أن حضوري يمثل الحضور الكردي باعتبارها قضية سورية بامتياز وعلى جميع السوريين ان يتبنوها عربا واكرادا الا ان غياب القضية الكردية من البيان الختامي كان قصورا كبيرا اتمنى الا يكون مقصودا وخاصة وانني سمعت مداخلات في المؤتمر لا تختلف عن خطابات بعض البعثيين السلطويين في سورية حول هذه القضية.

أما حول قضية إسقاط النظام، قال قربي إن هذا الموضوع لم يبحث في المؤتمر بشكل جدي حيث كان تناوله عاطفيا مما اوحى ان هذا اللقاء هدفه اعلامي فقد افتقر لاية آليات على ارض الواقع او اية اجندة تستشرف المرحلة المقبلة فكان الوليد بيان يضاف الى باقي البيانات. واضاف قربي ان ايجابية هذا اللقاء الوحيدة تبقى في لقاء المعارضة الداخلية بالمعارضة الخارجية مع اهمية واشنطن المكان والزمان ونوه الى ان هناك تفاوت في الطروحات فالبعض كان خارج سياق الزمان والمكان والبعض قدم خطابا سياسيا رفيع المستوى ويعرف ماذا يريد وقدم طرحا متوازنا من امثال الدكتور نجيب الغضبان.

وردا على سؤال حول غياب مشاركين أكراد في المؤتمر الصحافي الذي أعقب لقاء واشنطن، قال المعارض عمار عبد الحميد الذي شارك في إعداد مؤتمر المعارضة "إننا مهتمون بالقضية الكردية وان حقوق المواطنة بين السوريين كاملة وبالتساوي وكنا نود ان يكون هناك ممثلين للشعب الكردي وحاولنا ان نتواصل معهم ولكن امور تقنية حالت دون ذلك".

اما الوفد الكردي المؤلف من خمسة أعضاء بينهم مستقلون وحزبيون "كاميران حاجو من حزب البارتي في سورية وخليل كرو من حزب ازادي والدكتور سعد الدين ملا من حزب يكيتي ومصطفى محمد وشيركو عباس" الذي التقى الخارجية الاميركية، فاعتبر في تصريحات خاصة لـ"ايلاف" ان مؤتمرالمعارضة ناقص والتوصيات لم تتطرق الى المسالة الكردية واكتفوا بالاشارة الى اعلان دمشق وانه يجب ان نكون واقعيين فالمعارضة ضعيفة وانه في عملية التغيير لايمكن فرز المعارضة ولايمكن الغاء احد ونحن مضطرون لاتفاقات ولقاءات. واضاف الوفد ان حزب البعث الحاكم في سورية ترك اثارا ثقافية وسياسية على المعارضة السورية وهذه الاثار تشير الى ان سورية عربية رغم ان سورية فيها اناس غير عرب. وتابع الوفد ان المعارضة تحاول اختزال حل القضية الكردية بالمواطنة وهذا يعني انكار وجود شعب كردي ويجب على المعارضة الاجابة عليها.

واكد الوفد ان موضوع اسقاط النظام لم تطرحه الحركة الكردية في سورية ولديهم اجندة ضمن التحولات الديمقراطية وتحقيق مطالب حقوق الانسان واشاروا الى ان قضية الاكراد قضية شعب وارض.

وحول جوهر الحوار مع الخارجية الاميركية نوه الوفد الى ان اعضاء الخارجية ركزوا على ايجاد معارضة جدية في سورية لتتمكن من ان تكون بديلا عن السلطة الحالية وان لديهم خطوط ضد التعاون مع بعض الاسماء.

أما جهاد مسوتي، عضو مجلس ادارة منتدى جمال الاتاسي للحوار الديمقراطي الذي شارك في مؤتمر واشنطن، فقال لـ"إيلاف" "إننا لانطرح انفسنا كبدائل للنظام بل نناضل من اجل انهاء النظام الاستبدادي.

وحول نائب الرئيس السوري السابق عبد الحليم خدام قال مسوتي ان "النظام في سورية قاد الى التفسخ نتيجة سياساته الخاطئة وان مظاهر الانشقاق ستتكرر وتزيد ونحن مع موقفنا ضد المنشقين ونفتح صدرنا للجميع من خلال دوائر ومؤسسات المعارضة لكيفية الاستفادة من هذه الظاهرة".

وحول ازدواجية رأي المعارضة حول اسقاط او تغيير النظام في سورية، أشار في البداية الى ان الرئيس الاميركي جورج بوش بات يناشد النظام السوري الافراج عن المعتقلين السياسيين في حين ان الادارات الغربية لاتتحدث معنا ونحن نطلب الدعم السياسي واتفقنا في البيان الختامي على الاشادة بالخطاب الاميركي الجديد فيما كان يؤخذ على الادارة الاميركية انها تهمل قضايانا وموضوع حقوق الانسان في سورية ولا تهتم بالشان الداخلي في سورية في الفترة الاخيرة اضافة الى ان الرئيس الاميركي ذكر اسماء المعتقلين السوريين وهذا موقف ايجابي يستحق التغيير.

قيما قال نشار إن التغيير في سورية شان داخلي وهو شان الشعب السوري وان اي موقف داعم للقوى المعارضة هو موقف جدير بالاشادة.

واشاد المعارض السوري عبد الحميد الحاج خضر الذي شارك في المؤتمر قادما من المانيا بالمؤتمر مؤكدا ان الخلافات بين المعارضة لاتحسم الا اذا بدا الشعب يتحرك باتجاه التغيير، مشيرا إلى أن الخلافات ستبقى طالما في الاطار النظري. واضاف "نحن نريد التغيير غدا وكل يوم يمر على الشعب السوري تحت نير السلطة هو يوم يضيع على الشعب السوري".

أما الكاتب المعارض جورج كتن الذي شارك في مؤتمر المعارضة فقال إن التغيير حالة شاملة تشمل من ضمنها طرق متعددة، معتبرا أنه يتوجب الآن على النظام أن يوسع خطواته ويبدأ بانتخابات ديمقراطية كالتي طالب بها معتقلي ربيع دمشق، موضحا أن هذا ما حصل في بلدان أخرى على طريق الديمقراطية. واضاف ان المعارضة لاتستطيع ان تغير النظام حاليا وليس لديها قوى ولكنها تحرض وتدعو الى الديمقراطية والحريات حتى تصبح قوة قادرة بامكانياتها على التغيير.

وشدد مسوتي على الفرق بين المعارضة في الداخل وتلك في الخارج، إذ ان المعارضة الداخلية تواجه ضغوطات ومحاولات لاختراقها، بينما معارضة الخارج متحررة من كافة الشروط ويمكن ان تسهم في دعم المعارضة في الداخل على اكثر من صعيد مادي ومعنوي، مشيرا إلى عبارات واضحة في اعلان دمشق وجوهرية لانجاز التغيير الديمقراطي. واعتبر أن الاختلافات الموجودة حاليا بين أقطاب المعارضة طبيعية إذ أن المبدأ الأساسي وهو رفض النظام الشمولي الاستبدادي متفق عليه في الداخل والخارج.

واعتبر نشار ان لاوجود للخلافات، فلا احد مقتنع بالاصلاح ويجب التغيير تدريجيا مع ربط العوامل الخارجية والداخلية وهو مترابط ويجب ان يكون هناك امكانية للمعارضة لتضع استراتيجية للتغيير وتحدد آلياته في أقصر وقت ممكن بعد استكمال إطار إعلان دمشق بما يوحد المعارضة في الداخل بحيث تصبح فوة كبيرة وتعبر عن مكونات المجتمع السوري واطيافه الحية بما تشارك في عملية التغيير الممكنة، وبذلك يصبح معبرا عن رغبات وطموحات المجتمع السوري في التغيير.
تابع نشار ان البيان الختامي لفت على دعم المعارضة واكد على ماورد في اعلان دمشق وبان قوى المعارضة السورية سواء كانت في المجلس الوطني السوري في الولايات المتحدة الاميركية او التجمع الديمقراطي السوري في كندا ومحاولتهم توحيد خطابهم مع خطاب المعارضة السورية تحت مظلة اعلان دمشق.

 
At 2/04/2006 11:37:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalism Eternally said...

One only needs to mention few names of who are those neocons that are talked about so much in this comment section to discover the deception hidden behind this name.

Today’s Neocons or (New Conservatives) are deceptively trying to pass themselves as the American conservatives of mostly the White upper class of American ruling society and or the business and military elites of the 50’s America.

They are cunningly capitalizing on a roster of names in a conservative era, this 50’ era roster list names such as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Generals John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur, General George C. Marshall, Allen Welsh Dulles, John Foster Dulles, and all the other distinguished gentlemen, leaders and statesmen that shapped America most prospourous and perhaps most optimistic period, one that Americans had looked for the future and all the futuristic ideal of homes and life. Whith autos design like those of rocketery and all.

Unfortunately, todays neocons forgeries and fakes copies have nothing in common with the real and genuine conservative of 50”s America. These neocons resembles more of a Zionist Mafia that their fathers had written the Zionist Protocols than the Great American Heros of the 50’s.

The roster of today’s neocons names is something that could be proclaimed not as who is the greatest heros of America but who is the greatest weazels and con artist who sacrificed America’s greatest National Economic and Security interests to that of their dual aligance to Israel and Israel economic and security interests. Those Israeli interests are dimetraclly opposed to the American one and rely mainly on a goal to impovrishing and distabilizing the Middle East, weakining it’s societies on all levels and robbing it’s resources dry. The names of Douglas Feith, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and David Wurmser the Architects of Iraq genocide plans designed under the Clean Break of 96’ are at the forefront of this roster of names that are deceptively pushing own Zionist ideologies and plans disguised for gullible Americans as a Neo Conservative Agenda.

 
At 2/05/2006 12:00:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

This incompetent, ineffective and weakling Syrian ambassador to Washington (more like a damascene weakling. Syrians are much more intelligent than this geek). Said:

أضاف في معرض حديثه عن المعارضة السورية في الخارج، لا سيما أنها بدأت تنشط جهودها، أن كثيراً من المعارضة السورية في الخارج مرتزقة ولهم طموحاتهم الفردية،

We think there is nothing wrong of being an ambitious individual. That is a good trait, most Ambassadors by profession do not have. Most of them are like this Damascene Ambassador to Washington, an order taker underdog.

As to the Agent/ Ambassador wannabee saying that the Syrian external oppositions being "MOURTAZIKA" we say, the only MOURTAZEK, is you. We do not know of any Syrian opposition member or group that earned one penny from his opposition activities. Most, like SSPRS members used own personal funds, resources and time. Compromising on personal comforts and financial well being to keep the opposition activities on going.

A Mourtazek like this lousy dude that is representing Syrians and Syria’s interests, well most likely abandon his position, even switch sides like his ex boss Khddam, when his luxury or salary is reduced by a percent.

 
At 2/05/2006 01:09:00 AM, Blogger VIVA LIBAN said...

شيراك: إغتيال رفيق الحريري لن يظل من دون عقاب


Translated: Pay me up big time and make a deal with me like that you made with Washington.

 
At 2/05/2006 06:17:00 AM, Blogger adonis syria said...

April 2001
http://www.meib.org/articles/0104_ld1.htm

February 2006
http://www.tayyar.org/galleries/displayimage.php?album=382&pos=8

 
At 2/05/2006 09:07:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

www.faithfreedom.org

 
At 2/05/2006 09:37:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

Wow! Another act of violence by the Religion of Peace - I'm so surprised...
Has anyone noticed that it's only the Muslims who go on a rampage when they are "insulted" (and I don't think the newspaper published those cartoons to be malicious)? If Christians did this there would be art galleries and newspaper buildings going up in flames across the globe. What about when the Muslims recently burnt a Catholic church in Albania - I don't seem to recall violent retaliations by the Catholics. The same goes for all of the North American and European art galleries who displayed images of Christ and His mother covered in dung and Those places are still standing. The Religion of Peace is the only one which makes a point by issuing a fatwa against someone (saying that it is the duty of all believers to kill that person). It is the only one whose members stone victims, engage in word-wide, civilian-targeted ist activities and it is the only one whose members burn things when others do things that they don't agree with. This is not racism. It's called facing reality.
This whole issue stems from the fact that Islamics expect the rest of the world to conform with their ideas.
Muslims are not allowed to depict Mohammad but that doesn't mean that the rest of us can't (consider that he's a historical figure for the whole world).

 
At 2/05/2006 09:40:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

Flushing the Koran down the toilet is as much a demonstration of protest and free speech as burning the Danish flag. And Muslims have every right to burn the flag as the Americans do to flush.

Beheading people, blowing up trains in Spain, busses in the UK, flying planes into buildings is murder. It is not free speech and every person living in a democratic country understands this along with the right to defend ourselves against those who would take our freedom away.

 
At 2/05/2006 09:47:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

You see, this is the Religion of Peace. And you guys all thought that they were hateful.

Don't look at it as a burning embassy, it's really a 'peace bonfire'.

 
At 2/05/2006 09:51:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

WE ARE ALL DANES NOW

'Make no mistake: This story is not going away, and neither is the Islamofascist threat. The freedom of speech we take for granted is under attack, and it will vanish if it is not bravely defended. Today the censors may be coming for some unfunny Mohammed cartoons, but tomorrow it is your words and ideas they will silence. Like it or not, we are all Danes now.'

Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe.

 
At 2/05/2006 09:53:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

No to insulting religions!

No to violent protests, bullying and barabarism!

 
At 2/05/2006 09:55:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

Two very good reads at Brusselsjournal:

"Danish Muslims Rebel Against Imams"
(...)
"I am tired of hearing them complain about the situation in this country which has given them shelter, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and tons of opportunities for their children. If they cannot be loyal to the values of this country they should leave and by that do the majority of Danish Muslims a big favour."

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/758

"Shame on Britain"

"Appeasing British authorities who chose not to react to Muslim fanatics, would do well to ponder Winston Churchill’s words "England has been offered a choice between war and shame. She has chosen shame and will get war." Moderate Muslims are appalled at what happened in London."

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/759

 
At 2/05/2006 09:58:00 AM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I love the hypocrisy of the Syrian opposition. They refuse to be associated with the neo cons, yet they know that they can't really remove the regime. But this so-called opposition refuse to do the only thing that could change the situation because it is 'loyal' to the government.

Is something happens in Syria, it won't be because of this lame opposition that is incapable of holding even the smallest demonstration in Syria but because of US efforts. Ghadry is the only one who had the honesty to recognize this fact.

 
At 2/05/2006 09:59:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

However it has been made clear that the “moderate Muslims” we hear so much about are either in hiding or holidaying on Mars.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:05:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

Europe, do not despair!

The strengths of Western Civilization:

Individual Initiative, Liberty, Science and thousands of years of Judeo-Christian heritage which unfortunately appears dormant in the EU and needs to be revived. Governments must ultimately follow the will of Individual people. The vile islamic fascists must be opposed with the full weight of Western strengths, spiritual as well as physical. Keep working hard for FREEDOM, including women's rights which are the ACHILLES HEEL of islamic fascists, and don't be afraid of satire against the all of the vile islamic fascists!

 
At 2/05/2006 10:08:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

The governments in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Gaza and wherever they incite their own people will come to regret radicalising their own populace. Sooner or later the anger of the people will target the regimes there.

And just look at this group: they are all failing states with significant socio-economic problems. The outlook for the future of these people is bleak and their frustrations seek a target. It is unfortunate that it is the Danish who have to suffer; though there was significant incompetence from the Danish government's side when it comes to the management of the issue.

If there would be free speech in these countries all these regimes would fall. Europe should pursue the same policies that we pursued with regards to the Communism: spread democracy in the Middle East.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:11:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:12:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

Gaza's Hamas Leader Mahmud al Sahar :

"The World should respect the Prophet Mohamed, because Islam is coming, it's going to rule the world"

( Asked by an ITV Journalist about the Cartoons.)

 
At 2/05/2006 10:15:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

I buy Arla products, I support the Danes, and the world has joined together before to fight against the evil of Racist Hitler. Islam does not and will not rule my world.

Millions of people died before we learned to truly value the importance of freedom of speech and expression. Are we going to allow Gaza's Hamas Leader Mahmud al Sahar and other extremists to decide our future for us? No No No !!!

Solidarity Europe! We must make a strong front against this madness together. Decent Muslims are being tainted by idiot extremists. Innocent individuals and businesses are being threatened yes even the constitutions of European Nations are in danger of being compromised.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:16:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

"Why were those Danish flags to hand? Who built up the stockpile so that they could be quickly dragged out right across the Muslim world and burnt where television cameras would come and look? The more you study this story of "spontaneous" Muslim rage, the odder it seems."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/02/04/do0402.xml

 
At 2/05/2006 10:16:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

"" I love the hypocrisy of the Syrian opposition. They refuse to be associated with the neo cons, yet they know that they can't really remove the regime. But this so-called opposition refuse to do the only thing that could change the situation because it is 'loyal' to the government.

Is something happens in Syria, it won't be because of this lame opposition that is incapable of holding even the smallest demonstration in Syria but because of US efforts. Ghadry is the only one who had the honesty to recognize this fact."" Vox


Exactly, but even worse than that;

When this regime is out, those same cowardly opposition, and am not talking about the ones who were imprisoned or killed, but the many others who give us theories in patriotism will claim to have been heroes all along, and they will all rush to take over and gain positions in the after regime power structure. Such is unfortunately, the Syrian personality that I spoke about few times here. Even those who, on this same site, were defending the regime with all of what they got, will claim later on that they were fighting against this regime every minute of their lives. Even those who were part of the regime such as Khadam (who is the model of the Syrian personality) will claim that they were secretly against the regime, but could not do a thing.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:18:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:19:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{ "Why were those Danish flags to hand? Who built up the stockpile so that they could be quickly dragged out right across the Muslim world and burnt where television cameras would come and look? The more you study this story of "spontaneous" Muslim rage, the odder it seems."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/02/04/do0402.xml
}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}



Very good question. This question may also be asked for similar occasions. It is like there are always, and I mean always, hidden fingers in savage events like this.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:19:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:23:00 AM, Blogger danablue said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:48:00 AM, Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Arabism, “Pan” or otherwise, has always been a highly secular ideology based on the progressive principles of 18th European Enlightenment i.e. not on Rafic Al-Hariri’s commercialist brand of Wahhabism-Lite or King Fahd’s neo-medieval interpretation of Shariaa Law…

Today’s invasion (there’s no other word I’m afraid) of East Beirut’s upscale Achrafiyeh district by hordes of rampaging Saudi-sponsored savages was only the “great rehearsal” of things to come, as Lenin used to say of the revolt of 1905.

At least we won’t have the luxury of claiming we were not warned by the sadist disciples of Saudi “thinkers” Nasiruddin Al-Albani (born in Damascus), Abdul-Aziz Ibin Baz and other proponents of the final solution for Christians, Shiites, Alawites and other “secular dogs”…

See wiki entry below for more edifying info on Saudi Arabia’s leading “Grand” Mufti

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Baz

 
At 2/05/2006 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

{{{ At least we won’t have the luxury of claiming we were not warned by the sadist disciples of Saudi “thinkers” Nasiruddin Al-Albani (born in Damascus), Abdul-Aziz Ibin Baz and other proponents of the final solution for Christians, Shiites, Alawites and other “secular dogs”…}}} Vicorio shit




Play this fear tactic on other people. We know all of the regime's tactics. I am Alawi, and have no fear of the MBs or the Islamists. What happened in Lebanon, and sria is unique in the area, and it is unique because the player, which is the Assad regime is one in both of these countries. One thing it wants to benefit from these violent savge events is exactly for people to think the way you have stated it up in the quotation. This tells me that you are working directly for the Syrian Mukhabarat to come up with this "conclusion" so fast. We know your game very well.


JAM

 
At 2/05/2006 01:12:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 01:13:00 PM, Blogger danablue said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 01:15:00 PM, Blogger danablue said...

The Age of Liberty
I am willing to go to war to defend one Danish cartoonist



February 5, 2006
iranian.com

It is hard to witness all the angry outcries and the commotion that a derogatory cartoon of Mohammad, the prophet, has unleashed and not be moved. As a writer, who has fled her native country because she wanted to seek freedom in a secular democracy, I feel like I have to put pen to paper and take a stand.

In Iran and indeed in most of Islamic countries you can either be hanged or killed by a mob for a cartoon like the one published in Denmark and later in many EU countries. When I came here to France I did not expect the heavy hand of Mullahs to reach this far. But with all these demonstrations, boycotts, and threats they have in many ways used their bullying techniques to bring about a kind of censorship even here in France, Europe and America.

The angry bearded mobs have their apologists. Clean cut Imams and college professor’s who beg the West to “understand” the difference in cultures that they believe is at the core of this crisis. Again cultural relativism has come to the rescue of the intolerant Muslim fanatics. It is indeed fanatical to ask for the death of someone for merely publishing something. When Thomas Paine wrote his, “Age of Reason,” professing his aversion to organized religion, back in the eighteenth century, he angered many devout Christians. He was ostracized and died a lonely man, but his publisher was not threatened to death and no one died because of it.

When Paine wrote, “I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it,” he, with this simple and logical argument, paved the way for free thinkers for centuries to come.

Even though the Declaration of Independence talks about the rights of “man”, this Seyedeh, descendant of the house of the prophet, is more a daughter of Paine than of Mohammad. Because in the founding fathers I find the arguments behind the freedom that I am right now exercising in writing this piece. That freedom of opinion and speech is the dearest freedom to me as a writer and a woman. When I read Paine declaring: “my mind is my church,” it makes me cry it sounds so true, so near, to what I believe and who I am. Go back as far as you want in the history of my country and you will not find one woman who could have expressed herself even remotely freely. Now you may find people like me who write either in exile or with a nom de plume or both.

Here we are more than two hundred years after Thomas Paine wrote his treatise and some bearded mob in Tehran or Gaza can make whole countries and big publications tremble and apologize. This is appeasement of the worst kind and will only strengthen the enemy --- shame on the Danish authorities and editors for apologizing. Because Islam, in the way it is being practiced right now, is an intolerant anti-secular entity. They have declared a war on everything that the secular tradition of the West holds dear: most importantly the idea that people should have a right to believe, say, draw, paint, and write anything they please.

Now you may argue, as Muslim apologists do, that this cartoon “hurt” the feelings of the poor Muslim mobs and as such it should not have been printed at such a sensitive time in the history of Islam and the West. But I argue that in fact “these are trying times” and it is in times like these that we should be careful not to become lax, for fear of being branded as cultural absolutists, in our defense of liberty.

Democracy is not just about the will of the majority, we saw that at work in Iran, if not for Ahmadinejad then certainly for Khomeini. Anybody who has read John Stuart Mill knows that Democracy is about the will of the majority with respect to the individual rights of the minority. Without the latter part of this equation the former loses its meaning: democracy becomes mob rule.

I am willing to go to war to defend one Danish cartoonist. Freedom of expression is such an inherent and inalienable right that I believe all secular, freedom loving people, even if they perform their prayers five times a day, should not hesitate to put everything they have in its service.

France Soir re-printed the cartoon with the big headline, “We have a right to make fun of God!” I moved here several months ago because I wanted to enjoy this freedom. Because this way of thinking made me feel like a full human being, something I never felt as a woman in a Muslim country. Do not let their bullying ways and the new cultural relativism that appeases them get away with blurring the lines between our very different political philosophies!

In the U.S and Europe those people who hate Bush and his cronies feel like they should defend the Muslim fanatics. How incredibly naïve: I invite those well meaning liberals to come and live in Tehran and then after one arrest for having had a beer, we will talk about tolerating cultural differences. I believe all these Muslim apologists in the great learning institutions of the West should come and spend some time in the field!

As I have said many times before, freedom is a universal. Even dogs don’t like to be chained or dressed by men. Our anthropological understanding of cultural phenomena around the globe should not blur our understanding that certain “truths” are unalienable and such should be non-negotiable. He/she who denies another the right to an opinion is a fascist! A fascist is a fascist is a fascist whether in a turban or an SS uniform it does not matter!

 
At 2/05/2006 01:31:00 PM, Blogger danablue said...

http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/memorex/muh.html

 
At 2/05/2006 02:16:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

I don't understand why Damascus and it's Mukhabrats are allowing this Zionist Media platform AILAF, and in particular this Zionist agent / correspondent Mardini to operate and report out of Syria. It is one thing to show the world that Syria permits free speech, and freedom of press, but it is another when the news platform is an enemy of the people of Syria and had continually shown utter disregard to Syrian National Interests. Ailaf, has continually ignored all of Syria’s positive moves and had sensationalized all the false and fabricated one. On behalf of the Syrian Republican Party and the Syrian Nationalist Committee, we demand that the Syrian government ban this trashy news outfit and it’s correspondents from entering Syria. We call on the people of Syria, to make it as discomfort able as possible for anyone associated with this Zionist supported news online-rag (AILAF) to move within Syria and not to provides any comments or welcome to any of it’s Zionist agents.

Reports has recently received, this online-rag, has restricted comments by Nationalist Syrians groups and even opposition parties that are loyal to their country and it’s sovereignty and has refused to provide equal access to varied opinion, it has further refused to publish comments that are not in accordance with the Zionist agenda in the new comment section.

We demand immediate action by the people of Syria and the attention of the Syrian Government to this evil Zionist backed and supported medium.

 
At 2/05/2006 02:25:00 PM, Blogger LebaneseGeeks.com said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 02:38:00 PM, Blogger raf* said...

dear josh,

comment section editing. SERIOUSLY.

--raf*

www.aqoul.com

 
At 2/05/2006 03:26:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

It is time for Syrians to stand up and demand from this evil, corrupt and immorally incompetent United Nation Syrian rights to the Golan and compensation for Sharon destruction of the city of Konaitra.

Now that we got this Iranian-Syrian alliance cemented. Time to focus on getting the Golan back. We need to start a massive program to mobilize the Arab and Islamic world street, even Russian and Europeans against Israeli illegal occupation and the worthless U.N. to enforce implementation of internationally agreed upon 30 years old resolutions.

THAT SHOULD BE OUR FOCUS NOW. NOT COOPERATING WITH FAKE SIDESHOWS OF ZIONIST MANIPULATED U.N.

We should also focus on Israel Nuclear weapons. These weapons are threat to the world and Israel is in violation of 1000s of United Nation Resolutions. Israel must open it’s nuclear installation for inspection and be under control regiment to audit past, present and future operation of it’s nuclear reactor and the whole program.

The Human Rights violations are appalling and have been also the subject of 1000's of condemnations and resolutions by the United Nations, International Right Orgs and the World decent countries.

Many of Israel leaders faces Criminal genocide prosecution in several European countries and are on the wanted list of few of them.

Why are the world ignoring these violations by the Jews in Israel? We must work on highlighting and bringing these U.N. and International violation to the surface and forefront of our struggle globally. The Foreign ministry in Syria is not doing good enough job and neither the Ambassadors.

It is time for President Assad to prepare a campaign that is effective in securing worldwide support for the return of the Golan by imposing global economic and Diplomatic sanctions on Israel, until it fulfill these resolutions and address human right issues.

We must set up media and action funds to finance these worldwide campaigns and expose these Jewish transgressions on our Syrian People and Nation.

The question is today what President Assad is going to do about the Golan? Please have this addressed tomorrow. We are ready to help Syria launch a worldwide campaign to secure our rights and expose the enemy transgressions.

BASTARD ARAB AND MOSLEM REGIMES. RATHER THAN MAKING PEACE WITH THE JEWS AND ZIONISTS, WORKING WITH THE U.N. TO BRING SYRIA DOWN LIKE IRAQ. THEY SHOULD SECURE SYRIA”S RIGHT FIRST AND DEMAND THAT JEWS IN ISRAEL ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR ALL THE TRANSGRESSION COMMITTED AGAINST THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE.


Syrian Republican Party
Committed to bring dignity to Syria
www.ssprs.com
ccc@ssprs.com

 
At 2/05/2006 03:26:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

The comment section has become a sewer

 
At 2/05/2006 03:33:00 PM, Blogger Alawites for Syria said...

It does not take a Syrian genuis to figure this one out, just average intelligence, like that of Einstein. Long QM and Short YM, NQ and ES. Short JPY and long EUR is risky but make sence becuase Japan gets 75% of it's oil from Iran.

 
At 2/05/2006 03:46:00 PM, Blogger VIVA LIBAN said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 04:01:00 PM, Blogger DamasceneBlood said...

danablue

why don't you go stick your head in Sharon's ass, you asshole?

and please stop with your Fark cliches against Islam, and stop spamming this forum, it just makes you look like a total moron.

Obviously, there were some elements guiding these mobs, I don't know if it's the Syrian regime, but what would they gain from such acts other than embarassment?

I still think the Danes and their partners in crime are a bunch of racist SOBs. Just imagine a paper publishing a cartoon calling Martin Luther King a Nigger, or calling Einstein a Kike. This is much much worse, and it just goes to show that these savage acts (the publishing and republishing of these bigoted cartoons) have some hidden hands behind them too (aka Zionist media).

/flame on

 
At 2/05/2006 04:29:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Attempted Cover-Up of Al-Qaeda Role in Hariri Murder?

Yesterday, the pro-Syrian leaning Lebanese daily Addiyar (edited by Charl Ayoub) ran a story about the 13 suspected detainees who are believed to be part of an Al-Qaeda ring, and who were arrested by Lebanese authorities over a month ago. Addiyar claims that a source close to the investigation has told the paper that one of the suspects had confessed to taping and editing the videotape made by suspected suicide bomber Ahmad Tayseer Abu Ades taking responsibility for the Hariri assassination on February 14, 2005. This tape was aired by Aljazeera shortly after the bombing that also killed dozens of others. Abu Ades is believed to be the suicide bomber who drove the explosives-laden truck used in the assassination, according to some circles. Addiyar also reports that a team from Saudi intelligence had also interrogated the detainees at some point in the investigation.

Last week, another Lebanese daily, Assafir, ran a story citing a ‘security official’ who claimed that only 11 suspects were arrested, while two others who were also targeted in the raid got away. One of those escapees is supposed to be Khalid Medhat Taha, named in the Mehlis report as Abu Ades’ handler.

I have a source who is allegedly speaking to someone with direct knowledge of the investigation, and this is what I was told last week:

-Khalid Medhat Taha managed to escape (…or was helped to escape) from the dragnet. He is currently believed to be hiding in the ‘Ain Al-Hilwa Camp (for Palestinian refugees) on the outskirts of Sidon.

-A Saudi national and a Palestinian refugee were among those detained. In their first affidavit, they described how the vehicle (did not specify model) that was used in the Hariri assassination was fitted with explosives and stored in the ‘Ain Al-Hilwa Camp.

-The detainees are being held by the Interior Ministry (pro-Hariri), while Military Intelligence (thought to be pro-Lahoud) has not been allowed to interrogate them. The UN inquiry team into the Hariri assassination, currently headed by Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz (took over from Detlev Mehlis on Jan. 24), has asked for access to this group but are being stonewalled.

-A team from the Saudi intelligence service arrived in Beirut and spoke to the Saudi and Palestinian detainees. They managed to extract the names of five priority security targets operating in Saudi Arabia. It has been suggested that the initial information about the truck bomb was expunged from the record after this meeting, leading to speculation about some sort of deal. [This is where my source overlaps the Addiyar information, but I was very hesitant to write about all of this since this speculation concerning a bargain with the detainees does not seem realistic.]

-There have been three bombings against military targets in Lebanon, with minimal casualties. Unknown groups have taken responsibility for these acts in an e-mail (tracked to Cyprus) and through a phone call (from a public pay booth in ‘Ain Al-Hilwa Camp), and have threatened further attacks if the 11 militants are not released. This information has also been published in the Arab press. It seems that the attackers have given Feb. 14 as a deadline, ominously falling on the one year anniversary of the Hariri assassination.

I don't know for certain if the Addiyar story or what was relayed by my source is accurate in full, but it seems that the notion that Al-Qaeda (Zarqawi branch? Ansar Al-Sunna branch?) was somehow involved in the Hariri assassination has picked up a momentum of its own, and the members of the Lebanese political elite that are privy to this information are themselves preparing pre-emptive talking points for release upon public disclosure. The anti-Syrian camp is saying that the Asad regime is manipulating Al-Qaeda's activities in Lebanon, just as they supposedly do in Iraq, thus acting as enablers of jihadist terrorism. The pro-Syrian establishment is preparing for a big push to release the four imprisoned generals who stand accused of killing Hariri according the Mehlis report, and to divert some of Brammertz’s attention into an inquiry as to who ‘coached’ the three ‘false witnesses’: Zuheir Siddiq, Hosam Hosam and Ibrahim Jarjoureh.
Nibras Kazimi

 
At 2/05/2006 04:32:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

Who could write the bullshit above excet t-desco?

Invent conspiracy theories as much as you want pal. After all, you are an Arab and this is the only way you can be happy. But know that your unsubstantiated theories will not prevent the international community to take the appropriate measures against Syria.

 
At 2/05/2006 04:55:00 PM, Blogger VIVA LIBAN said...

".....But know that your unsubstantiated theories will not prevent the international community to take the appropriate measures against Syria......"

LOL, LOL and LOL.

Keep on waiting for that pal.
They are all bought up and paid for with hard, tax free cash. The only wone still waiting for his payoff, or not happy with the amount he already got is your President Chirac, so he keeps on barking, I want more money, I want more money.

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

It's an article by Nibras Kazimi. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

I had indeed pointed out the various links that exist between Khaled Midhat Taha and the extremist groups in Ain al-Hilweh, so it sounds plausible that he is hiding there. And those links also point to an involvement of al-Qa'ida in the assassination of Hariri.

Vox, why don't you show where exactly my theories are "unsubstantiated", so that we could actually discuss the matter?

Thanks.

 
At 2/05/2006 05:15:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Well, the following article is relevant to the story of the "outrage" of Muslims. I think that there is a deep injustice and inballance in how the world deals with each other, and then with Islam and muslims. Muslims seem to be enjoying a special treatment that is not accorded to any other group, and is not reciprocated:


Here it is

 
At 2/05/2006 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

{{{I still think the Danes and their partners in crime are a bunch of racist SOBs.}}} Bloodydamscene


No, I don't have to imagine any of that. I, and all people saw how Muslims destroyed historic and sacred monuments in Afghanistan belonging to Budists, and not a single Muslim country protested that crime. The muslims hurt others' feelings every day, and mock others religions all of the time without feeling any shame or guilt. Don't they mock Alawis, Druzes, jews, Christians, etc.... on a daily basis? Don't they claim all of the times that Druzes, Alawis, Ismaelis, and others they consider "heretics" to be worshiping the woman vagina? How come there is no sensitivity when it comes to other peoples' beliefs? What about if I truly worship a vagina, why mocking me and expect me to honour your worships?

The same standard should apply to all, not to muslims alone.

Oh, am I proud of not being a muslim!

But again, I defend Islam and Muslims for reasons beyond their own understandings. So.....

 
At 2/05/2006 05:35:00 PM, Blogger The Rise of The Beast Amen / Marduk said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 07:43:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Interesting post above. Maybe Guattanamo Bayanooni will read it.

But really, there is no difference between Alqaida, Moslem Brotherhood Bayanooni, Essenes or The Night Templar, or the Zionists, those that are distroying the Middle Eastern nations kings and sheikhs. They all part of the same Multinational / international Brotherhood. They take their orders and excute the plans that are handed from the same source.

"and at the end time the beast shall have power over them, and shall take all the wealth of the nations of teh kings of south" Said the Christian Bible.

 
At 2/05/2006 07:48:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2/05/2006 07:59:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Revelation 9

12The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

13The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns[b] of the golden altar that is before God. 14It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.

17The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

20The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

 
At 2/05/2006 08:33:00 PM, Blogger Alawites for Syria said...

Interesting above, here we have technologically primitive person warning mankind about a vision he received. What he seen is (Missiles), but he did not know how to describe it, except by the level of mankind knowledge at that time. So note carefully the above explanation he gave of a missile and it’s warhead. Sulfur, is what the missile warhead contains and explode into mass of sulfur and smoke. He describes a “Snake tail” he is talking about the guided missile fire and smoke trail line that looked like a snake to him.

He said a third of mankind will be killed by these.. Other Missiles described are ones that the head will cause plagues and disseminate beasts that will kill another third of mankind. All together Two third of the planet will be destroyed.

 
At 2/05/2006 10:38:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

The attack against Islam just became more obvius,economic boycut is more effective if sustained than any flag or embassy attack.

 
At 2/06/2006 10:34:00 PM, Blogger LebaneseLION said...

syrian republican party,
I got two words for you and your 200,000 Iranian army along with the Syrians.

'''NUCLEAR SUPREMACY'''

you figure the rest.

 
At 2/08/2006 04:37:00 PM, Blogger thepassoniate said...

Dear Mr. Landis,

If you read the letter below you would better understand why Mr. aljbaili, who is one of the founder of SNC, was excluded.
He wrote it and addressed to the members of SNC shortly after the foundation of the group. It is available on the website www.rallyforsyria.org

http://www.rallyforsyria.org/ar/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=48

Find below the letter:

To the attention of the founding members of the Syrian National Council

Dear Friends,

After carefully reviewing our activities and accomplishments since the foundation of the Syrian National Council on the 6th of July 2005, I regret to say that our efforts in bringing the SNC to the full gear of its expectation were clouded by some misunderstanding, and unnecessary arguments, due to misconception of the very nature of democracy with respect to the right of every individual to express him or her opinions under the rules of the SNC charter.

Our goals in forming the SNC were to present to the Syrian Diaspora, and to the people of Syria, a unified entity to be accepted as an example and a vehicle to change the autocratic and dictatorial regime in Syria.
The human rights of all people of Syria are at stake at this point; the SNC should open its doors to all assortment of Syrian society’s mosaic.

It is the expressed views of many members of the SNC that there is a needs of making some changes to the SNC in order to make it stronger and more consistent with the international political environment, as the SNC is an American political organization regulated by American laws.

These are the changes as suggested:

1- Dismantling the existing organizations and parties under the umbrella of the SNC, and transforming the SNC into a Party of All.

2- Considering all founders members of the SNC as members of the Executive Committee of the SNC Party.

3- Electing all the leadership positions of the SNC Party by the new Executive committee.

4- Adopting or modifying the by laws of the SNC to comply with the new SNC Party statue.

5- Inserting a language in the Charter to reflect equal rights for all Syrian citizens under the laws including women.

6- Considering the Islamic laws and the Shari’as, as one source among others, in writing the Constitution and laws of future Syria.

7- Denying the membership to SNC Party to all individuals or organizations which are associated to the Baa’th regime in Syria, and to all individuals or organizations which encourage ethnic or religious segregation in the Syrian Society.

8- To open negotiation with other political reformers and opposition parties inside and outside Syria as soon as possible in order to form a united front against the Baa’th regime in Syria.

9- To open a dialogue with Mr. F. Ghadry as the leader of the Syrian Democratic Coalition, in order to have a united front for the Syrian opposition in the United States.

These are the main issues to be voted on

I hope to hear from you by Friday the 26th of August 2005

Best Regards,
Mohammed Aljbaili

 

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