Israel, Lebanon, Syria

Who is Right on Syria?

Greetings from dissertation-land. I’ve tried my best to keep my head down over the past few weeks, hence the long spell between posts. Since the comment section is stirring with a discussion about the events in Syria, though, I thought I’d throw a quick post up with some of the most interesting bits and pieces from the news from the past few days.

The NY Times had one of its “Room for Debate” roundtables yesterday, with contributions from Rime Allaf, Sharmine Narwani, Andrew Tabler, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Ed Husain.

Nick Noe advocates a bargain with the devil, also in the NYT.

A reporter from Al-Akhbar interviews members of the Free Syrian Army in Lebanon.

Josh Landis speaks with Charlie Rose, Fouad Ajami, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Tom Friedman.

A very quick note about one of Josh Landis’s points, in the above interview. Josh often says that Syria could turn into another Lebanon or Iraq, and I think he’s right, in the sense that we could see a full-blown sectarian war there, depending on which outside powers get involved.

However, I don’t agree with his larger historical reading of why Lebanon and Iraq had sectarian civil wars in the first place. He finds the origins of those civil conflicts in the colonialist legacy. Broadly speaking, the Europeans came along and created these states that are not really states, and put certain sectarian minorities in charge of them. And the wars that eventually came about were the product of the masses revolting against those minoritarian elites.

That model fits Iraq better than it does Lebanon, whose civil war was the product of many different forces. Yes, there was a movement against Christian political superiority, but it was just one of the many factors that created and prolonged the conflict. Let’s not forget about the roles played by the Israelis, the PLO, the Syrians, Saudis, Americans, and others.

This may sound like hair-splitting, but I think it’s important to choose our words carefully when we talk about the prospects of sectarian violence, and how to avoid it. If Syria resembles either of these nightmare scenarios, it would be Saddam’s Iraq, not pre-civil war Lebanon. The preponderance of power held by the state, the large and relatively powerful army facing ragtag (but gradually more organized  and foreign-funded) militias, the legacy of authoritarianism, the Baath party, etc… these are all commonalities shared by Assad’s Syria and Saddam’s Iraq, not 1970s Lebanon.

Lebanon, past and present, is a cautionary tale in many respects. But not, I would argue, for the current situation in Syria.

wordpress stats

Discussion

34 thoughts on “Who is Right on Syria?

  1. He finds the origins of those civil conflicts in the colonialist legacy.

    The origin of these civil conflicts is the inability of the UN to demand democratic, free societies and western academic tenure.

    The two go hand-in-hand like a flies on …

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 8, 2012, 3:21 pm
  2. One major problem that the Arab countries suffered from and continue to struggle with is the failure of their residents to develop an allegiance to the state. That inability to develop a state specific national identity was to be expected right after the artificial states were created but not to have lasted for so long.
    The failure of these new states ; whether it is Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan or even Syria ; was not limited to their inability to mold a raison d’etre for their being but also failed to develop a notion of equality in citizenship. That has compounded the problem by allowing various factions to define themselves primarily as religious beings with total subservience to the top religious leaders of each group. A common problem amongst these countries is the totally nonsecular “citizens” whose prime allegiance is not the state but the religious tribe.
    As long as Lebanon persists in refusing to adopt secularism then its childish attempts at forming cabinets and electing parliaments on purely sectarian ground will only deepen its governance crisis. Lebanon was the first to implode but so did Iraq that followed exactly the Lebanese script. Iraqi Sunnis are the counter example of the Lebanese Maronite each of whom acted for decades as if these two political entities were drawn for their benefit only. All other citizens were essentially treated as intruders. So yes Iraq was another Lebanon. I have always aregued that the Lebanese worry about the Iraqization of Lebanon was misplaced because what was happening was in effect the Lebnanization of Iraq. Unfortunately the Lebanese Maronites still act as if exceptional. The Iraqi Sunni appear to have accepted their new status of non privileged citizens better than the Lebanese Maronites.
    Syria, on the other hand is different. The idea of national identity is more accepted than it is in any of its Arab neighbouring country since many, of all sects, identify with theSyria as a representative of a glorious Arab empire and the heart of pan Arabism. The sectarian fault lines in Syria came to the surface essentially as a result of the brutality of the Assads, their nepotism and their exercise of power. I am of the opinion that this division in Syria is not as deep and well entrenched as it is in lebanon and Iraq.
    Jordan is arguably the most artificial of the modern Arab states and what is surprising is that the divisions have not erupted into a full scale conflagaration yet. I believe that it would eventually.
    As for the Arab Gulf states, they are the most artificial of all.They are the product of imperialist designs, no more and no less.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 8, 2012, 3:23 pm
  3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16941399

    From the article:
    “The US says it has run out of tools it can use to stop the killings in Homs, after Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution last week.

    A White House official told the BBC it was unrealistic to expect anything could be done to stop the violence in the short term, but that the US still hoped a political solution was possible.”

    The US will not fight for the Syrian opposition. It is only looking at political solutions. Putting your faith in the international community for your own security is a dumb thing to do. Only you can protect yourself. In the rare cases the international community acts, it is almost always late. It acts usually only after massacres have been committed it at all.

    Posted by AIG | February 8, 2012, 5:32 pm
  4. It seems to be the defining question around Syria and any future interventions.
    Should the opposition and the protesters be aided in any way or should they be left to carve out their own destiny?
    Would you condone or condemn military aid?
    I agree with AIG and a lot of commentators who are against US/European direct involvement. On the ground, it would mirror an Iraqi style quagmire, and politically, it would give impetus to the anti-imperialist, anti-western crowd further exasperating fault lines and tensions.
    The Arab league needs to spear head the initiative, the Syrian Free Army and the opposition need to play a larger role.
    I also would agree with QN that this is not only the byproduct of the Colonial legacy, there are too many factors to paint it with a single brush stroke.
    I cant reiterate enough the simplicity of the causes that led to the uprisings across the Arab World and feel that the brave people of Tahrir Square, Benghazi, Homs, etc are being cheated by opportunists at every level and of every colour.
    All we can do is at least stay grounded in the facts instead of getting caught up in world power politics, fault lines, and conspiracies.

    Posted by Maverick | February 8, 2012, 7:06 pm
  5. Who is Right on Syria? Of course, Fouad Ajami is right — and Joshua Landis is left. But we knew that before we watched the show.

    Posted by samadamsthedog | February 8, 2012, 11:53 pm
  6. Nobody. It’s a witches’ brew.

    GK. IMO the “relative silence” of Israel vis a vis Syria is most likely of a similar nature to this bibi-issued fatwa:

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/152519

    Posted by lally | February 9, 2012, 1:30 am
  7. Hi QN. Josh is right that Syria could turn into a Lebanon and Iraq but it can also be in the positive sense: in that it could develop a democratic system of power sharing – possibly with a senate but we have to wait till you finish your project before we say that.

    It may also be that the logical conclusion of Josh’s argument is that both Lebanon and Iraq need Baath party rule to have stability and this is because of their sectarian divisions and diversity and this is a more worrying conclusion.

    Josh was also right in saying from the very beginning back in January 2011 that the revolts would never happen in Syria because the army would stand by the regime and would not hesitate to shoot at the demonstrators, which is in fact what happened.

    Violence has always been part of the argument and we have seen this in all the revolts be it Tunis, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen or Syria. The message there is that any alternative to the regime is much worse that the regime or even too horrible to even contemplate changing the regime. The regime’s power relies on maintaining that illusion and on us not being able to see beyond them.

    This is the idea of power that I see Josh trying to maintain in many of his statements on Syria and this has become a genre echoed by others. Nick Noe’s piece is almost a prototype of that argument that many others also make. The aim is to maintain the idea of power, by showing that the regime is indispensable, irreplaceable and that whatever lies beyond it is too horrible to contemplate.

    Below is my take on the maintenance of this ‘idea':

    Egypt Crisis: Re-evaluating Risk in the Middle East. Chatham House – Monday 31 January 2011. http://www.chathamhouse.org/media/comment/view/163021

    Syria: Violence as a Communications Strategy. EUISS – 16 August 2011.

    http://www.iss.europa.eu/publications/detail/article/syria-violence-as-a-communications-strategy/

    The Syrian ‘opposition’ does not have to prove itself. Guardian Comment – 1 October 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/01/syrian-opposition?CMP=twt_gu

    Posted by Nadim Shehadi | February 9, 2012, 4:57 am
  8. It’s amusing when people fall in line about an Iraqi Quagmire! Seriously? Have you talked to the Kurds of the Iraq on whether they have their life changed to the positive? Have you polled the Shiite of Iraq whether they feel disenfranchised and repressed bloodily? Have you asked yourself who has had a better election: Lebanon or Iraq? Cut this inane BS about unsubstantiated fiction. Is Iraq a peaceful model of a country? NO! But it is a million times better than the bloody days of Saddam.

    As for Syria. The same stands. The constant crap about the worst scenario. For whom? The civil war scenario or scare tactic has been the focus of the assad regime. They are counting on the faint heart-ed parrots to echo that a brutal dictator is better for Israel and disgusting enough that a tyrant is better for Syrians!

    Maverick people can complain against imperialistic or whatever values…Is that your excuse to let people be massacred? The whole world shamelessly watched while over a million Rwandans were killed in a genocide. Bravo for wanting the same scenario. :((

    Posted by danny | February 9, 2012, 7:59 am
  9. Danny,

    Good points; I agree with you.

    Hey, I just listened to the first half of the Charlie Rose interviews. I also give Fouad Ajami kudos for making the best case.

    Professor Josh, predictably, advises the US to stay out and let the ayrabs bleed. We can always count on Professor Josh to be the first line of defense for the embattled X-box President.

    Tom Friedman, advises support to the opposition to which I agree. It is no skin off our back.

    Work with the dumb-asses that make up the Arab League, arm the opposition, tell Putiin and the Chinese to “F-off”. Simple strategy.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 9, 2012, 8:08 am
  10. Danny,

    It is clear that the moral thing to do if there is a massacre is to help out. But in the case of Syria this will cost tens of billions of dollars and quite a few lives and it is not clear if it will stop a massacre. It may just push Assad into a corner and make him act even more aggressively thus necessitating a “boots on the ground” approach like Iraq. The no fly strategy did not stop Saddam from massacres, they were just more low tech. Thus what is moral to do, is just not practical to do.

    If you feel really seriously about the issue, you should go to Syria and help the fighting like Americans did in the Spanish Civil War and the first phases of WW1 (before the US joined the fight). Or you could raise money to help buy arms. But you won’t be able to convince others to make sacrifices unless you lead from the front.

    Posted by AIG | February 9, 2012, 10:53 am
  11. Nadim

    While I don’t think that Lebanon is the right model when thinking about worst-case scenarios for Syria, I do believe that some sort of prolonged bloody conflict is realistic. This isn’t because of some long-bottled-up sectarian genie that is going to pop out and wreak havoc, but simply because the regime is going to fight tooth and nail for its survival.

    If the opposition grows more powerful, the regime and the army are going to use more force. More people will die. The opposition may then try to ramp up its operations further, relying on support networks and staging grounds in Lebanon. The Syrians and their allies will not hesitate to take the fight to them. In the worst case scenario, we could see covert groups (probably connected with Hizbullah and Syrian/Iranian intelligence) launching assassination attempts on Free Syrian Army operatives based in Lebanon, and vice versa. Both countries could be swept up in a very serious civil conflict, even bloodier than the current situation.

    That’s my view. I support the opposition to Assad, but I think people need to be very clear-eyed about what it will take to bring him down by force.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 9, 2012, 11:02 am
  12. AIG,

    You keep on repeating things that are absurd. A combination of a No fly zone and systematic arming of Free Syrian Army (with special forces support…like Libya) could encourage mass defections from the so called loyal forces . My approach and I hope the international approach should not be a nonchalant comment like yours:”..If you feel really seriously about the issue, you should go to Syria…”

    It is insane, immoral and ridiculous. Anyways I think I know where you stand. Thank you.

    I hope that sooner; rather than later these so called leaders of the free world tell Russia to f off as so simply put @9 and establish that humanitarian corridor as well as blow away those tanks and battalions situation on the outskirts of major cities and let them topple Assad. Initially there could/may be atrocities. What do you call what’s happening till now? A picnic? However, there are more than enough support through the SNC and people on the ground (coordination committees) to stem revenge killings on both sides…My fear is that it will be a slow process as Obama and Sarky are fighting their own battle for presidency and a few thousand deaths amount to nothing to them.

    Posted by danny | February 9, 2012, 11:16 am
  13. Danny,

    You are far from a military expert and you really do not understand what it means to impose a no fly zone over Syria nor what it means to have special forces there. Syria has been armed to the teeth and getting air superiority in Syria is certainly possible but it will be costly in lives and money. You know somebody is going to be taking risks with their lives to do what you recommend and somebody is going to have to pay for what you recommend. But apparently, it is not going to be you.

    I am at least honest about my position. I am not willing to risk my life for the Syrian uprising nor am I willing to risk the lives of my kids. I am therefore in no position to ask someone else to do it. Your position of sending others to war I find strange. That is an immoral position. If you believe strongly enough in a cause, go die for it yourself. And pay for it out of your own pocket.

    Posted by AIG | February 9, 2012, 12:33 pm
  14. AIG,

    grazzie mille!!

    Posted by danny | February 9, 2012, 12:56 pm
  15. AIG,

    How is sending arms through Turkey (having Syrian opposition personnel pick up the weapons in Turkey and transporting them into Syria or clandestinely to Syrian shores) risking the lives of anyone except Syrian opposition forces?

    If weapons can be smuggled into Gaza under the nose of the IDF, surely they can be smuggled into Syria.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 9, 2012, 1:19 pm
  16. I see Charles Krauthammer agrees with me…

    The alignment of forces suggests a unique opportunity for the West to help finish the job.

    How? First, a total boycott of Syria, beyond just oil and including a full arms embargo. Second, a flood of aid to the resistance (through Turkey, which harbors both rebel militias and the political opposition, or directly and clandestinely into Syria). Third, a Security Council resolution calling for the removal of the Assad regime. Russia, Assad’s last major outside ally, should be forced to either accede or incur the wrath of the Arab states with a veto.

    Force the issue. Draw bright lines. Make clear American solidarity with the Arab League against a hegemonic Iran and its tottering Syrian client. In diplomacy, one often has to choose between human rights and strategic advantage. This is a rare case where we can advance both — so long as we do not compromise with Russia or relent until Assad falls.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-syria–its-not-just-about-freedom/2012/02/02/gIQAYVhVlQ_story.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 9, 2012, 1:34 pm
  17. AP,

    How is smuggling weapons going to stop the on going massacre in Homs? In the long term it is going to help bring Assad down, but it is not an answer to the atrocities going on right now and in the next days and weeks.

    Posted by AIG | February 9, 2012, 1:38 pm
  18. AP,

    I support what you and Krauthammer are suggesting also, but do not fool yourself into thinking that this kind of help will stop the ongoing massacres. It probably will aggravate the situation short term because Assad with his back to the wall, will try to use even more violence to get control. What has he got to lose after all?

    Posted by AIG | February 9, 2012, 1:42 pm
  19. Danny ya Danny,
    we both share the same sentiments but disagree on the practicality. I too cringe and feel heavy- hearted when I view images of defenseless civilians being massacred. I also stand against everything the Baath regime represents. I wish it would be so easy as to have a coalition that would swoop down and destroy all regime buildings, monuments, the Army headquarters, etc but we dont live in a cartoon world.
    There are consequences to consider with major implications. This revolution is made in Syria, by Syrians. It must be completed by Syrians. Only then will it be a true revolution.
    Intervention should be minimal, but humanitarian aid, shelter etc should be proliferated. Expelling Syrian diplomats across the world is a good development.
    I know it sounds crude, and Im not trying to appease the resistance camp/conspiracy theorists, I have no love for these types, but this is what I see as the best option with minimal negative impact on the future of Syrians and Syria.

    Posted by Maverick | February 9, 2012, 5:06 pm
  20. …but we dont live in a cartoon world.

    “Group leader, this is Delta Base 1, do you read?”

    “Go ‘head Delta Base.”

    “Target just left Building A at coordinate three zero zero. You copy that Group Leader?”

    “Copy Delta Base”

    “Engage and Destroy Target and return to Base, Over”

    “Affirmative Delta Base 1″

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 9, 2012, 5:26 pm
  21. 20 AP… :D
    I guess some did not watch the second Iraq war or the daily hits by the drones…
    I guess cartoons have come to the modern age. It seems when it comes to Syria all kinds of scenarios are popping up…Saddam was better armed; so was Milosevic. they said Libya will fall into a civil war among tribes..and they keep on talking!
    Assad or his rabbits (cartoons again) are no match to western military aerial or otherwise. All other possibilities; be that Iranian or supposed HA involvement is BS. Iran/HA will not dare take on the world…or it’s divine made up legend will disintegrate in a bloody mess. Iran will not give a cover to an Israeli/US strike…neither will HA give up Lebanon after all these years of building and ‘taking” everything.

    Posted by danny | February 9, 2012, 6:02 pm
  22. Iraq before the Gulf War had a pretty sophisticated air defence system, which took a month and 46 deaths to dismantle. And considering the size of the current US defence budget, a couple tens of billions spent on removing Assad would be pocket change. So I can’t find either of those arguments against intervention very convincing.

    As fro the point that the Syrian revolution would only be a true revolution if it was won purely by Syrian arms, I find that slightly ridiculous. The Libyan revolution against Gaddafi was no less genuine for the no-fly zone, nor was the American revolution somehow untrue because of French support.

    I myself would be in favour of a no-fly zone in support of the Syrian opposition, but I think we have to be realistic and recognise the political constraints. Obama will never take an unpopular military action during an election year, so any intervention is going to have to come from Turkey and the Arab League. And is the political will there either, without a UN resolution? I doubt it. Things can change quickly, but I can’t see anything other than the clandestine arming of the rebels for the foreseeable future.

    Posted by Will | February 9, 2012, 8:49 pm
  23. Danny,
    I am sure that you are not fazed by any of the arguments/presentations by AIG and others. I think that some need to be reminded of the fact that principled positions imply that we have a categorical imperative to take a stand in support of liberty and oppose tyranny.The day when a global “right-to-protect”; R2P, will not be questioned is coming.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | February 9, 2012, 10:19 pm
  24. Will, do you have a military background?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 9, 2012, 11:00 pm
  25. 5-star armchair general, QN.

    Posted by Will | February 9, 2012, 11:35 pm
  26. We agree that the Arab League/Turkey should spear head the foreign intervention. They have the capabilities and its about time they took an initiative.
    Its also more favorable for a locally based coalition to lead from the front. It might just be the difference in getting the silent majority in Syria to rise knowing that they have support from brotherly nations.
    I dont understand all the talk about the U.S. intervening? why? are they the only ones capable of doing the job? are they the only ones who are tormented by the situation? Apart from signing off on some initiatives,I dont see their involvement as necessary.
    Having said that I am not against foreign intervention per se, I would hope for a no-fly zone sooner rather than later and if the situation keeps regressing military support for the rebels ala Libya. But at the core of the matter, there needs to be a gradual rise in power from the opposition and a gradual decline in power from the regime. Legitimacy in the eyes of the people is key.

    Posted by Maverick | February 9, 2012, 11:51 pm
  27. Ghassan,

    IMO AIG has not made a convincing argument. His rationale seems to be more based on Israeli interests than a humanitarian or military analysis. QN tries to make a point regarding “death or hit squads” by HA or others…Lebanese or Syrians have been living in fear all their lives. That should not deter them. Also, It comes to my mind Russian mobsters who are challenged in USA they scoff it off that they can not be intimidated here as they have worked and lived under the worst security regime: KGB! As for HA/Iran I have given my rationale @ 21.

    Again, as I stated above, because of the elections in USA & France the slow moving process has been crawling while the stupid regime of Bashar thinks they can suffocate the uprising by bombing a city…It will not happen. Only the people’s resolve is getting stronger and hatred increasing.

    Posted by danny | February 10, 2012, 7:23 am
  28. One huge difference between Syria and the other revolutions is the strength and influence of the Salafist and Whahabi groups;

    how much strength and influence the Saudis want these guys to have in any kind of post-Baathist state may not mean much in terms of rock and hard place positions for the Syrian people but the consequences for Lebanon could be disastrous.

    Posted by mo | February 10, 2012, 10:06 am
  29. Danny,

    My argument is simple if you say: “I am willing to go fight”, that is a principled position. When you say: “Someone should go fight”, that is not a principled position. We all agree that it would be great if we could wave a wand and the Assad regime would disappear.

    What we don’t agree on is who should do the fighting. You did not give one argument to support the position that it should be the West. Why not the Arabs? Why not the Syrian diaspora? Shouldn’t they care more about what is happening in Syria than people in the West?

    I am completely honest and I repeat what I said before: I am not willing to die for any Syrian cause, nor am I willing to send my kids to die. What is your position? Are you willing to join an armed force to help the Syrians? And I don’t expect anyone to fight my wars. That is why I spent 10 years in the IDF.

    As for the practical issues involved in fighting Syrian Army forces dispersed in major Syrian cities, it is going to be a nightmare of collateral damage, and whoever takes this ungrateful task is going to be vilified and criticized till kingdom come. People do not understand the complexities of urban warfare and how it is almost impossible to fight it without major collateral damage. Well, let the “experts” in “clean” fighting set an example for all of us by fighting themselves instead of criticizing.

    Posted by AIG | February 10, 2012, 11:30 am
  30. Dear Nadim,
    You write: “This is the idea of power that I see Josh trying to maintain in many of his statements on Syria and this has become a genre echoed by others.”

    You are correct that I have since the beginning believed that there is “no soft landing” for the Assad regime and that it would fight the kind of war that it is now fighting. This is what I wrote in the first article I published about the uprising, and, in fact, in a book review of van Dam’s second edition of his book in the 1997s for IJMES, when I first used the phrase, “there is no soft landing for the Assad regime.” This is what I understood van Dam essentially argued in his book, which I concurred with at the time. Here is how I concluded the review:

    “Van Dam is not optimistic about the prospects for meaningful economic reform in Syria or the possibility of a Velvet Revolution in the future. He points out the Asad’s anti-corruption campaigns have been ineffectual because the President refuses to discipline his security chiefs, many of whom are the worst offenders. He doubts that the country can make a peaceful transition to a post-Asad government, because Asad has allowed his regime to become ossified. No purges have been carried out and few top personnel have been changed in the last 25 years. Consequently, no new generation has been groomed for power or schooled in the art of government. Only the President’s son, Bashar, seems to be in line to inherit authority from his father. Other members of Asad’s inner circle have likewise been grooming their sons to succeed them. He notes that the Sunni majority has not given up its “negative attitude towards Alawi religion and Alawis in general,” and adds that he finds it “very difficult to imagine a scenario in which the present narrowly based, totalitarian regime… can be peacefully transformed into a more widely based democracy.”

    The key to Asad’s success has been his ability to rule through his metaphorical village. Whether the dynastic principle that Asad and his men have been pushing will catch on in Syria is an open question. Van Dam gives us little reason to believe that Syria is developing either the political institutions or broader national identity that may someday replace the parochial loyalties and narrow prejudices which now define politics in Syria.”

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=5195804&next=true&jid=MES&volumeId=30&issueId=03

    My bleak view of the situation in Syria has guided my analysis from the beginning. I suspect the war that is now beginning to grip Syria will last some years before it is over. So far, I believe my pessimistic view has unfortunately been justified.

    Many have suggested that my analysis is motivated by some “idea of power” that I am trying to promote or belief in the regime’s goodness. I would argue the opposite. It is because of my understanding of the regime’s use of patrimonial loyalties that I have been frightened of the outcome. Others have suggested that my marriage to an Alawi (which was well after I wrote the book review quoted above) changed or guided by views. I would suggest that my ideas were well established before falling in love with Manar and that my subsequent intimate knowledge of the Alawi community only confirmed by belief that Syria’s sectarian problems were deep and not easily finessed. Of course living in Lebanon for years during the civil war as Christian and Muslim killed each other laid the foundation for my understanding of identity politics in the Levant. I was living in Damascus during the Hama uprising and brutal suppression of the revolt, which also colored my views.

    At this point, there is no going back for the opposition and I do not believe that the regime can right itself, as I explained in my – “The Regime is Doomed” — article.

    I have tried to explain from the beginning how I believed events will unfold. If they are scary, it is because I think they are scary and will be scary and unhappy for some time to come. You are right to point out that I misjudged Syrians when I argued that I thought the Arab Spring would not blossom or take root in Syria. I can only hope that in the end things will work out for the best. Syria needs a new form of government. You note that my faith is weak, and in that, I confess, without pride or smugness, you are correct.

    Posted by joshlandis | February 10, 2012, 4:58 pm
  31. Thrilled to see BOTH Josh and Nadim here.

    Let the games begin.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2012, 5:01 pm
  32. Actually, this exchange is too important to be confined to the comment section. I’m going to pull it up to the main page in a new post, and try to get as many of my tweeps to join in the conversation.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2012, 5:04 pm
  33. I’d never thought Id live to see the day where I would be in complete agreement with an ex-IDF soldier. @ 29. I guess reality overrides any ideology….and then a candid moment from the professor…..geeez…this is somewhat different.

    Posted by Maverick | February 10, 2012, 5:23 pm
  34. No one is right really . Syria , Egypt , Tunis , Libya who benefited from all that? they are all still struggling . Arab need to talk and be together.

    Posted by syria lebanon chat | March 31, 2012, 7:26 pm

Are you just gonna stand there and not respond?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Browse archives

And the people say…

Akbar Palace on Of Maps and Men
Bad Vilbel on Of Maps and Men
Ray on Of Maps and Men
Akbar Palace on Of Maps and Men
Mustap on Of Maps and Men

wordpress stats plugin
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,772 other followers

%d bloggers like this: