Conspiracy Chronicles, Lebanon, Syria

Was Michel Samaha Set Up by Wissam al-Hassan?

There are several conspiracy theories swirling around about the reasons for Wissam al-Hassan’s assassination (and even about whether or not he was even killed in the explosion on Friday…Some are apparently claiming that he was actually killed on the border between Turkey and Syria, and that the explosion last week was a false flag operation meant to pin the crime on Syria. Umm, ok.)

I would like to focus on one particular theory, though, that does not seem too implausible. It concerns the arrest of Michel Samaha, which, as I mentioned in my piece for the NY Times a couple days ago, was rather surreal.

Think about it. A high-profile Lebanese politician is hauled into custody in a spectacular way, with stacks of video and audio evidence demonstrating his involvement in a sinister plot. And unlike the arrest of the four generals for the Hariri assassination in 2005, there was no significant backlash from Samaha’s allies in Lebanon. The evidence assembled by Wissam al-Hassan was clearly so significant that no one — not Hizbullah or Miqati or anyone besides Jamil al-Sayyid — came to his defense. It almost felt as though al-Hassan was daring anyone to defend Samaha just so that he could splash all the dirty details across the headlines.

And yet, for all the evidence mounted against Samaha – including an apparent confession which implicated Bashar al-Assad himself in the plot – something seemed amiss. Why would the Syrian regime have chosen a sixty-four year-old political operative, even one as loyal as Samaha, to be an explosives mule? Had Syrian intelligence fallen on such hard times that it was reduced to conjuring up espionage from individuals with no relevant experience?

On the other hand, perhaps Samaha was the perfect choice — not by Damascus, but by Wissam al-Hassan himself – to lure into a bomb plot along with his Syrian handlers. The whole affair had more than a whiff of entrapment about it, a brilliantly plotted ambush by al-Hassan which Samaha and his overlords unwittingly walked into.

For that matter, Jamil al-Sayyid, who is said to have been in the car with Michel Samaha when he conducted his bomb run, may have similarly been a perfect target for such a sting. Why? Because both al-Sayyid and Samaha are political has-beens, itching to get back into the inner circle. They were once powerful and influential individuals, but today they are bit players on a political stage that has been totally transformed.

A few weeks ago, I recorded an interview for Bloggingheads with my friend Camille Otrakji. When I asked Camille what he thought about the Samaha arrest, he said that some of his contacts in Syria and Lebanon were speculating that Samaha could have been duped into carrying the explosives by a high-ranking member of the Syrian intelligence community who had secretly defected to the opposition. This person would then have tipped off the Lebanese authorities about the “plot”, leading to an arrest that was very damaging to the Syrian regime. (See here for the clip where Camille makes this case).

I have to admit that I found this theory pretty implausible when Camille proposed it, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that it should not be rejected out of hand. Obviously, we’re all just groping around in the dark, but something about the surreal and spectacular quality of the arrest and the amount of evidence that accompanied it (including the confession) seemed strange.

This doesn’t mean that Samaha is innocent. Even Jamil al-Sayyid admits that Samaha “made a mistake” and transferred explosives. What I wonder, however, is at what stage the Information Branch entered the picture. How soon did they get wind of the plot, and what was the mechanism? Could Samaha have been set up from the very beginning (as Camille’s contacts are suggesting)?

It’s important to recognize that even by the high-wire standards of Wissam al-Hassan’s career, such a gambit would have been incredibly dangerous, and out of step with the role he had cultivated for himself as an intermediary between Damascus and Beirut, Hizbullah and Hariri. Whether or not the Samaha affair was a sting operation from the outset, Hassan had to have known that the arrest and the media circus that followed it would have likely burned his bridges with Syria and its allies forever.

Curious to hear people’s thoughts.

Discussion

258 thoughts on “Was Michel Samaha Set Up by Wissam al-Hassan?

  1. And if yes, why are you so offended by the actions of Bashar, and not equally as offended by the actions of your own government?

    Gabriel,

    I am not equally offended by the action of my government because my government got rid of a dicator and replaced him with a democracy.

    If my government acted like Russia (for example) and promoted a dictator over the bodies of 35,000 people, I would be against it. That is why I was glad Mubarak stepped down after a month and before thousand were killed.

    But the issue I would like to discuss is Arab Anger™. Why does Arab Anger™ pin the needle when a dozen or two arabs die at the hand of the Zionists, and not when Bashar and his thugs bomb Syrian cities killing thousands?

    Maybe Lala knows.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 16, 2012, 3:39 pm
  2. Gabriel,

    MB in Syria are Syrian citizens who are fighting for their self determination in THEIR country! Palestinians; from my experience in Lebanon have been nothing but whiners and terrorists. We shall not forget that they abused the people of Lebanon instead of thanking them for taking them in when all those “Arab” countries pushed them away. How did they pay us back? …Remember the infamous words of Arafat about the road to Jerusalem?

    Hamas have killed their own countrymen and taken over Gaza by force. I call them Mafiosi if that better suits your definition. They are a mirror image of HA.

    Posted by danny | November 16, 2012, 5:02 pm
  3. Kim’s Tweet & the Ensuing Anger Management Crisis

    Danny,

    I just want you to know you’re not alone. If you have the mental capacity to question why Israel isn’t going to take any more missile fire, you may encounter a large slew of angry people, including that thing called Arab Anger™,

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/11/16/kim-kardashian-slammed-over-pro-israel-tweet-deletes-it/?intcmp=features

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 16, 2012, 5:44 pm
  4. So it’s Palestinians that you hate, Danny? Or is it Hamas, the Egyptian MB allies who happen to be Palestinians? Whose land are they on in Gaza? Is it not theirs? You do know that Hamas won the election and they fought off an American-backed coup attempt in Gaza, don’t you?

    Your version of that situation is severely counterfactual. Really, not that surprising though. One simply has to make an effort to circumnavigate American (and Canadian?) MSM sources in order to get to the truth of matters. If the truth matters, that is. For some, it’s irrelevant.

    Posted by lally | November 16, 2012, 8:54 pm
  5. AP:

    I am not equally offended by the action of my government because my government got rid of a dicator and replaced him with a democracy.

    A democracy that…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7282064.stm

    and…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldtonight/2010/11/christians_in_iraq.html

    and…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8133639.stm

    I suppose none of this would necessarily offend you though!

    Posted by Gabriel | November 16, 2012, 10:17 pm
  6. Danny,

    So the Palestinian MB are Mafioso, like HA.

    And the Syrian MB are Syrian Citizens fighting in their country.

    That doesn’t preclude them from being Mafioso though.

    So are they, or are they not Mafioso.

    And Hizballah may well be Mafioso thugs. But Lebanon is still also their country.

    Posted by Gabriel | November 16, 2012, 10:19 pm
  7. But the issue I would like to discuss is Arab Anger™. Why does Arab Anger™ pin the needle when a dozen or two arabs die at the hand of the Zionists, and not when Bashar and his thugs bomb Syrian cities killing thousands?

    Are you kidding me. How long have you been here in these forums. Our old friend Iceman may have been killed fighting the Jihad in Syria!

    Not to mention the multitude of very angry Posters here on this very forum, posting video footage, and being filled with that same Arab Anger™!

    What more do you want from them!

    Posted by Gabriel | November 16, 2012, 10:23 pm
  8. Gabriel,

    You asked me, “… why are you so offended by the actions of Bashar, and not equally as offended by the actions of your own government?”, and I gave you my answer.

    Then you provided some links showing that women, gays and christians are mistreated in Iraq, while you quipped, “I suppose none of this would necessarily offend you though”!

    Gabriel,

    The USA gave Iraq a chance to become a free democracy. But our current president was against it from the beginning. Instead, he said the focus should be on Afghanistan. Barrack Obama withdrew our forces from Iraq a few decades early. Now it looks as if both countries failed. However, I don’t consider it so much as a failure of the US, I consider it a failure of the arab and muslim communities there. The arab and muslim “progressives” are too busy crying about Israel than leading their own communities to freedom and democracy or they’re too busy making a life in other countries that provide what they don’t have back home.

    Apparently, democracy will have to evolve at the pace of the ME. Watching grass grow may seem like high speed bullet train in comparison.

    Unfortunately, women, gays and christians are all underclass citizens throughout the ME, including Palestine. So what else is new? Fixing these problems is part of the sloooooooow evolution I just mentioned.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 17, 2012, 12:24 am
  9. What more do you want from them!

    Gabriel,

    Considering that about 35000/35 or 3 orders of magnitude more arabs have died in Syria than Gaza, I would want to see 3 orders of magnitude more protests in Egypt against Bashar Assad.

    Make sense or is that over your head?

    http://rt.com/news/egypt-protest-israel-gaza-896/

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 17, 2012, 12:27 am
  10. Gabriel,

    Make your point! What is your point? Do you think Hamas is right in bombing Israel? Did they take over Gaza in a military purge or as the gullible and cute lally suggests in her revisionist story line:”You do know that Hamas won the election and they fought off an American-backed coup attempt in Gaza, don’t you?”

    As for HA what’s your point again? You can not be citizens of a country and not be Mafiosi?

    Syrian MB as mafiosi…Yup you could not be precluded in being described as mafiosi as well by your family members! Please sober up and be logical!

    Posted by danny | November 17, 2012, 7:22 am
  11. Well in retrospect the sober up was meant as a clear your head. :D
    In the meantime…Is it that time? Would Iran preempt Israel and create chaos on its borders? Is it time for Iran to order its pasdaran affiliate in Lebanon to engage on Israel’s northern frontier? Is it time to release the pressure off of Syria?

    We will see how agile is Obama in his pressures and levers with the regional powers.

    Posted by danny | November 17, 2012, 9:37 am
  12. Taking the Heat of the Syrian Rabbit NewZ

    It’s difficult to explain to the objective observer that Israel has no right to respond to missile attacks.

    Meanwhile the hypocrisy of the arab world about “Zionist Aggression” is typically mind-boggling.

    Obama won’t have to make that difficult decision on Iran if Ahmadinejad decides to save the Palestinians by launching missiles from Iran.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 17, 2012, 11:56 am
  13. Ahhhhhh Danny me boy, come follow me deep into the weeds of the historic debacle:

    “The [Elliot] Abrams program was initially conceived in February of 2006 by a group of White House officials who wanted to shape a coherent and tough response to the Hamas electoral victory of January. These officials, we are told, were led by Abrams, but included national security advisors working in the Office of the Vice President, including prominent neo-conservatives David Wurmser and John Hannah. The policy was approved by Condoleezza Rice. The President then, we are told, signed off on the program in a CIA “finding” and designated that its implementation be put under the control of Langley. But the program ran into problems almost from the beginning. “The CIA didn’t like it and didn’t think it would work,” we were told in October. “The Pentagon hated it, the US embassy in Israel hated it, and even the Israelis hated it.” A prominent American military official serving in Israel called the program “stupid” and “counter-productive.” The program went forward despite these criticisms, however, though responsibility for its implementation was slowly put in the hands of anti-terrorism officials working closely with the State Department. The CIA “wriggled out of” retaining responsibility for implementing the Abrams plan, we have been told. Since at least August, Rice, Abrams and U.S. envoy David Welch have been its primary advocates and the program has been subsumed as a “part of the State Department’s Middle East initiative.” U.S. government officials refused to comment on a report that the program is now a part of the State Department’s “Middle East Partnership Initiative,” established to promote democracy in the region.”

    http://www.conflictsforum.org/2007/elliot-abrams-uncivil-war/

    I have more, much more if you still need assistance in purging the cache of misinformation causing the gross malformation of your historical records.

    PS. Saddam Hussain had NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11!!!!!!!!

    Posted by lally | November 17, 2012, 1:27 pm
  14. lally,

    It seems too objective and backed with factual evidence! You have convinced yourself. Bravo & Lakhayem. :D

    Posted by danny | November 17, 2012, 3:14 pm
  15. Lala,

    Have you ever thought about creating your own comic book series?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 17, 2012, 3:36 pm
  16. Silence of the Lambs

    For those of you following the Arab Anger™ thread, you’ll be happy to know this phenomenom has climbed the food chain up to Israel’s arab MKs, as they hold a moment of silence for the holy Palestinians murder by the usual suspect.

    Has this esteemed group held any moments of silence (which should really be a few minutes or even days) for Syrians murdered by Dr. Rabbit and his wife Asthma? Or maybe Syrians aren’t as holy as Palestinians?

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4307259,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 17, 2012, 3:49 pm
  17. Danny,

    You think Hamas would not be the democratic choice of Palestinians? You actually believe that?

    Also- who said I think Hamas has the right to bomb Israel?

    But how exactly did this last set of events start? Sorry I’ve been a little out of the news loop. One moment a snippet on BBC saying that Israel killed some commander of theirs and the next, there are bombs hitting Tel Aviv.

    Posted by Gabriel | November 18, 2012, 9:05 pm
  18. AP.

    You need to have a thesis. I’m not sure what yours is. Are you here upset by the 35000 deaths in Syria because you cherish human life?

    Obviously not. You don’t seem to have batted an eye for the deaths caused by your government in Iraq.

    Now it’s nice that you don’t think the experiment of Democracy is a failed one in Iraq, and that this is not ultimately America’s fault.. it is a failure of “Arabs” and “Muslims”.

    It doesn’t change the fact that America caused the deaths of 100s of thousands of Iraqis. And certainly, you can’t even “justify” those deaths by this “failed” democracy that you seem now to concede it is.

    So what precisely is your point?

    What is the difference between America and Russia? The latter stands silent as the dictator of their choice slaughters thousands of his citizens. The former removes a dictator, kills hundreds of thousands of people, and puts in place a “democracy” that has devalued women, minorities- religious and sexual.

    Why exactly is one worse that the other? Please explain.

    Posted by Gabriel | November 18, 2012, 9:11 pm
  19. AP…

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/12796

    Apparently, there are Djeedeez flocking there from Egypt.

    How come the best those Egyptians can do is “protest” against Israel, but seem to have cadres to go fight the Djee-had in Syria?

    Posted by Gabriel | November 18, 2012, 9:23 pm
  20. Gabriel,

    Hamas won the last election that they participated in 2006. However; they took control over Gaza by force and basically there has not been any new elections. HA could as well win theirs in Lebanon. In both cases the existence of a gun in their hands tips the scales.

    They are like mafiosi; both have created conflicts and at the same time are sabotaging the building of a centralized state. Off course they are offering the social services & education etc. along with smuggling of contraband…You see they are no better then a Mafia family starting a “war” with other gangs and offering you protection…

    Posted by danny | November 19, 2012, 8:50 am
  21. Danny,

    I don’t disagree with your last post.

    However, it does take two to tango. And regarding the latest conflict, it seems, from the sequence of events that Israel did start that ball rolling with the assassination of whatever-his-name-is.

    I’m also not sure that Hamas wouldn’t win, hands down, another election if it were held tomorrow.

    I don’t know what’s going on. I think it is clear this goes far beyond though the conflict in Gaza. We have Syria up in flames, a new regime in Egypt which we are not clear on where it stands, we have sabre rattling against Iran.

    The headlines on CNN and FOX news is that Israel has the right to defend itself, and bombs are falling on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. But what exactly is the subtext here?

    Is it…

    A cleanup of Gaza to remove the weapons that Hamas has amassed? An attempt to prevent them from firing missiles in the future?

    Setting the stage for a showdown with Iran? (If Iranian missiles are making it to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, all the more reason to green light an Israeli hit on their nuclear installations).

    Other possibilities?

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 12:29 pm
  22. Gabriel tries to be objective but can not. Must be cultural.

    You need to have a thesis.

    Gabriel,

    My thesis is freedom and democracy. That means accountability. What is your “thesis”?

    From your writings, it seems your thesis is some sort of moral equivalency between democracies and autocracies. Especially if you make the following comments:

    Are you here upset by the 35000 deaths in Syria because you cherish human life? You don’t seem to have batted an eye for the deaths caused by your government in Iraq.

    In my world-view, it is one thing to kill your own people, the majority of which are civilians and put them in mass graves, and it’s another thing to fight a war against a dictator where some civilians inevitably get killed, but the majority killed are combatants.

    It doesn’t change the fact that America caused the deaths of 100s of thousands of Iraqis.

    It is not a fact “America caused the deaths of 100s of thousand of Iraqis”. I used the data from the IBC (Iraqi Body Count”, which is a known anti-Bush website. They tallied about 100,000 dead civilians and they do NOT distinguish between deaths caused by American coalition forces and those caused by arab/muslim insurgents.

    Get your facts straight first before you start waving fingers. Saddam Hussein’s mass graves were estimated to be about 300,000 dead according to the BBC.

    So what precisely is your point?

    Gabriel,

    I have lots of points. My main point (or “thesis”) is that many Arabs are hypocritical, simply put, they expect Jews and Americans to act better than their own leaders. Like you, they criticize Israel and the US far more than they criticize their own. I think that’s a pretty strong “thesis”.

    My second point is that all deaths (as unfortunate as they are) are not all equal. Gassing Iraqi civilians is a greater crime than killing non-combatants in a legitimate war. War crimes are war crimes. They’re defined and they all have legal implications. Israel and the Arabs have both committed war crimes; arab despots however, beat the Israelis in this regard, hands-down.

    What is the difference between America and Russia?

    Let’s see, Russia supports a murderous dictator, and the US doesn’t. But, of course, Russia gets “respect” from the Arab world, firstly because the arab/muslim world is split (believe it or not) between support for Assad and support for the opposition. The US will always be hated more than Russia because the US supports Israel. There is no relation between Arab deaths and Arab Anger™. If Saddam Husein and Assad kill a million arabs and Israel kills a couple thousand in a justified war, it is Israel that garners the brunt of Arab Anger™.

    The latter stands silent as the dictator of their choice slaughters thousands of his citizens.

    The US tried to unite the UNSC. Russia and China refused. Who’s the guilty part? The US of course. You suffer from the same malady: Arab Anger™ Get mad at Russia. Get mad at China. Can you? Would you? Why not?

    The former removes a dictator, kills hundreds of thousands of people, and puts in place a “democracy” that has devalued women, minorities- religious and sexual.

    Removing a dictator at great cost was good thing in my book. Again, the US did not kill “hundreds of thousands of people” or even non-combatants. The US can’t govern Iraq, but the US certainly gave the Iraqis the opportunity to create a democracy. It looks to me the Iraqi people failed to create a democracy on their own.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 19, 2012, 1:43 pm
  23. They tallied about 100,000 dead civilians and they do NOT distinguish between deaths caused by American coalition forces and those caused by arab/muslim insurgents.

    Get your facts straight first before you start waving fingers.

    AP. When you threw in the figure that Assad killed 35000 people, you didn’t break them down to people killed by the regime, people killed by the insurgents. People who died that are pro-Regime. People who died that are anti-Regime.

    So why are you seeking such a breakdown for the deaths caused in Iraq.

    Surely, what is good for the goose is equally as good for the gander, otherwise, one may consider you a hyprocrite!

    The US forces are an Occupation force in Iraq. They took that role upon themselves, and just as Assad is ultimately responsible for all deaths in Syria- whether they are caused by him, or not… then so is the US of A ultimately responsible for all deaths that took and continue to take place in Iraq.

    With that in mind, you haven’t explained the difference between Russia and the US. What exactly is the difference. It’s not good enough to say that the US “tried” to do something good, but failed because the Arabs are incapable in putting together a democracy. If the Arabs are incapable of putting together a democracy anyways, why did the US go there in the first place? To tally a body count?

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 3:02 pm
  24. AP. When you threw in the figure that Assad killed 35000 people, you didn’t break them down to people killed by the regime, people killed by the insurgents.

    Gabriel,

    In a NYT article written TODAY, it states, “… he [Assad] has used force to seek to crush the unrest, killing more than 25,000 people and detaining tens of thousands more, according to the United Nations.”

    I admit, that after Assad’s thugs fired live ammunition into peaceful demonstrations, and after attacking civilians in bread lines (for example) and after bombing cities, insurgents from around the arab world came to the aide of the Syrian opposition and many of them are guilty of war crimes.

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/bashar_al_assad/index.html

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/30/syria-government-attacking-bread-lines

    So now that you are arguing numbers. Why don’t you find a reliable article showing that “America caused the deaths of 100s of thousands of Iraqis”. We are waiting to see your “facts”.

    There is no hypocrisy for deposing a self-appointed despot with a UNSC mandate. US Occupation of Iraq is no different than US occupation of Europe. Defeating a murderous tyrant warrants occupation. In the case of Iraq, it was negotiated with the elected government. Furthermore, the “occupation” only lasted a couple of years…

    The US forces are an Occupation force in Iraq.

    Wrong. The occupation ended,er, about 8 years ago. Please check your facts before you start whinning.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Iraq_(2003%E2%80%932011)#Military_occupation

    My explaination of the difference between Russia and the US was simple and easy to read. If you can’t comprehend it, I can’t help you with that.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 19, 2012, 3:45 pm
  25. Muslim (not Arab) Hypocritical Anger™ NewZ

    Turkish Prime Minister: ‘Israel Is A Terrorist State’

    http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/11/19/turkish-prime-minister-israel-is-a-terrorist-state/

    PKK death toll: 18,000

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdish%E2%80%93Turkish_conflict

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 19, 2012, 3:55 pm
  26. AP (specific responses to specific comments):

    I have lots of points. My main point (or “thesis”) is that many Arabs are hypocritical, simply put, they expect Jews and Americans to act better than their own leaders. Like you, they criticize Israel and the US far more than they criticize their own. I think that’s a pretty strong “thesis”.

    I believe most Arabs are quite critical of “their” leaders. If for nothing else, they are critical of them being friendly with the Americans.

    My second point is that all deaths (as unfortunate as they are) are not all equal. Gassing Iraqi civilians is a greater crime than killing non-combatants in a legitimate war.

    It had been a while since Saddam gassed his own people. It was at a time when he was quite friendly with a certain Donald Rumsfeld. A time when the Americans were happy to see him wage a long war against Iran, and when Americans gladly gave him the means to “gas” his people.

    Let’s see, Russia supports a murderous dictator, and the US doesn’t.

    The US supports lots of dictators. Given that the Middle East is full of various Kingdoms, that much must be quite obvious.

    Also, given the ease with which Saudi Arabia waltzes into Bahrain whenever suitable to “quell” various demonstrations, I’m not sure we can’t describe that dictatorship as “murderous”.

    The US tried to unite the UNSC. Russia and China refused.

    On that note, when you do you expect your government to start the process of having UNSC act against the Kingdoms of the Gulf?

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 4:12 pm
  27. AP.

    The NYT article isn’t breaking down the numbers. So no help there.

    The 100,000+ figure is one you provided from the Iraq Body count, of civilian deaths. It’s website describes those as civilian deaths.

    Many more deaths of course happened. Which I assume are non-civilian.

    The NYT article simply states that Bashar killed 25000 people. It does not break them down to combatants and noncombatants, civilian vs noncivilian.

    So the value of the article seems low – at this point- until you can provide a better breakdown.

    Also, not sure what the purpose of the wiki article is. It is 2012 today. If the “Occupation” ended 8 years ago, that means it ended in 2004, almost soon after it actually started.

    Now perhaps you don’t consider the presence of close to a couple of hundred thousand troops “Occupation”, but the troops were there no less- the same troops that removed the organs of state security (or terrorism if you prefer).

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 4:26 pm
  28. AP,

    Re: Link to HRW report on breadlines.

    Now now, please let’s not quote the HRW, we all know they are a biased bunch!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Human_Rights_Watch#Allegations_of_bias_concerning_the_Arab.E2.80.93Israeli_conflict

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 4:32 pm
  29. Breaking Gabriel’s “Resistance” Credentials is Arduous Work

    I believe most Arabs are quite critical of “their” leaders. If for nothing else, they are critical of them being friendly with the Americans.

    Gabriel,

    Arabs were hardly critical of Assad for the 40 years he subjugated his people. They were critical of Saddam Hussein. Why? Because they were a “resistance” leaders. Please don’t paint such a skewed picture. The criticism only started when Assad started killing his own people by the thousands. And he’s STILL supported by a large part of the arab world!

    But like the Turkish president, if Israel has the chutzpah to respond to rocket fire, Israel, naturally is a “terrorist state”. So excuse me, but the whole arab world including yourself are a buch of hypocritical cry babies more worthy of ignoring. I only respect the few arabs on this website who are willing to admit to this problem. What a lonely bunch!

    If arabs are critical of arab leaders who are “friendly with the Americans”, then I would suggest that these arabs continue down the same road to nowhere that they’ve been walking this past half century.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 19, 2012, 4:34 pm
  30. Typo: …WEREN’T critical of Saddam…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 19, 2012, 4:34 pm
  31. So now that you are arguing numbers.

    Clarification. I am not arguing numbers, or calling for the breakdown of numbers. I started this with a rather naive question. See:

    http://qifanabki.com/2012/10/24/was-michel-samaha-set-up-by-wissam-al-hassan/comment-page-1/#comment-39912

    You’re the one who got worked up with the question and started to make distinctions between combatants and noncombatants. Between those killed by the US, versus those killed by the insurgency.

    So either we take the numbers at face value, and apply the same argument technique to all conflicts. Or we get into the “breakdown of deaths game”.

    What we will not do, is apply different metrics for different situations.

    The discussion would be far more meaningful that way, then we can figure out who the real hypocrites are.

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 4:40 pm
  32. Come on AP.

    There was a massive war in Iraq, against Iran. Saddam gassed Kurds. He slaughtered the Shia Arabs of Iraq, and you come here and say that the Arabs WEREN’T critical of Saddam! At the time the excuse was that he could not trust their allegiance.

    Please get real.

    Or are you complaining that Syrian Arabs and Tunisian Arabs didn’t riot when Saddam killed his people?

    How could they when they acted against their own dictatorial regimes, they were mowed down.

    The only thing they could do (with government permission, sometime America-friendly government like the Saudi/Egyptian regimes) is go out and protest against America and Israel!

    But you bring up a good point. Why was America very cozy with the Saudis and the Saddam regime in the 80s war against Iran?

    Why, since they are the vanguards of democracy and freedom, did they not act to remove him before he gassed 300,000 of his people using equipment supplied to him by the Americans?

    Why did they get a sudden concern for the well-being of Iraqis only in 2003, or before that in 1992 when the Iraqis had lived under the boot of Saddam for decades?

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 5:04 pm
  33. Gabriel,

    He slaughtered the Shia Arabs of Iraq, and you come here and say that the Arabs WEREN’T critical of Saddam!

    Sure. Give me a list of UN resolutions the ARAB SUBMITTED to the UN concerning Iraq in a similar fashion to this list:

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

    Please get real.

    What’s not real Gabriel. This list is “factual”. Provide a competing list for us to compare.

    Gabriel,

    You may believe that you’re moderate, but believe me, you aren’t. You’re just another in a long line of arab excuse-makers and “resistance” professionals. A dime a dozen. Oh well. At least you’re not alone like Danny and Vulcan.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 19, 2012, 7:48 pm
  34. AP.

    “Arabs” don’t submit resolutions in the United Nations. Arab governments do. Governments that you know are autocratic, dictatorial, fascist, and the list goes on and on.

    Are you seriously asking why Qaddafi didn’t raise resolutions against the actions of Saddam in the UN, or Hafez Assad for that matter.

    What do you propose they write in those resolutions? That Saddam is equally as thuggish as they are!

    As for the US, for which the topic of conversation was about, may I recommend a book by one of my favorite authors and thinkers… the late Christopher Hitchens:

    http://books.google.ca/books/about/The_Trial_of_Henry_Kissinger.html?id=qh4NbKGJqKoC&redir_esc=y

    Have a read. Then come back and tell me whether or not the US- unlike Russia- was the vanguard of Democracy and Freedom.

    And when you get a chance, perhaps you can enlighten me on why the US only acted against Saddam when it saw its own interests in Kuwait threatened.

    Just so that we are all clear on who the hypocrites are.

    The difference between you and me AP is that at least I admit the Arabs are hypocrites. You don’t have the decency to concede the hypocrisy of the Americans and the Israelis.

    Re: Vulcan and Danny. Don’t worry about them. They’re big boys, and they are not alone.

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 10:18 pm
  35. Also,

    When you get a chance, please tell me when the US will sit with Russia and China and discuss the UNSC resolutions calling for a dismantling of the fascist, dictatorial, murderous, intolerant regime governing the holy kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 10:20 pm
  36. Please dont include me in any category, if you insist, right now i belong to those who say FUCK everybody. what else can i say after looking at pictures of dead children the past 2 days.

    Posted by Vulcan | November 20, 2012, 1:36 am
  37. Vulcan wants to FUCK Everybody NewZ. Wear a condom I say.

    Vulcan,

    I would be more than happy to remove you from any “category” you wish. I named you and Danny as “moderates”, but if that doesn’t befit you, than by all means, you are no longer a moderate.

    BTW – what pictures dead children have you been looking at? Palestinian or Syrian dead children. Did you want more dead Israeli children to appease your sense of fairness?

    I ask, because there is a slight difference as difficult as that idea is to swallow. What difference?

    How about children slaughtered by the Syrian regime and their goons to intimidate the local population? I’m talking about face-to-face “combat” at “point blank” range, not from some aircraft targeting a missile launcher.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/31/opinion/ghitis-syria-killing-children/index.html

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/05/26/syria-houla.html

    And since you’re “above the fray” and you want to “FUCK everybody”, please tell the nice people on this forum, how many missiles should the Israeli population absorb before they should be allowed to retaliate.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 20, 2012, 7:56 am
  38. Akbar, you are really getting silly and confused here. I don’t know if my reply will help in any way to alleviate your concerns and weird obsession with the Syrians.

    I ABHOR the killing of children no matter what nationality they are, Including Palestinian, Israeli and Syrian. I guess being a father makes me feel this way.

    I hold the Arab leaders responsible for taking advantage of this conflict to maintain power by purposely allowing the Palestinians to suffer for so long without guiding them to accept Israel’s right to exist and achieve a peaceful solution. The Israeli leadership is also guilty for taking advantage of this historical Arab failure in order to not make any real concessions toward peace. I actually blame the Israelis a little bit more since they are socially, politically and economically more advanced than their Arab “cousins” (You may wanna take this as a compliment)

    My view isn’t as black and white as yours; there is no absolute righteousness in this conflict, at least not anymore.

    Posted by Vulcan | November 20, 2012, 2:15 pm
  39. Dear dear me.

    Maybe there is no such thing as an Arab moderate after all.

    Any more polishing of his “Resistance” credentials, and Vulcan may soon find himself as the Leader of Hizballah!

    Posted by Gabriel | November 20, 2012, 2:33 pm
  40. Vulcan,

    See. When you explain yourself better, rather than using cryptic statements like “FUCK’EM ALL” (I’m paraphrasing), I am less likely to be offended.

    Thank you for your clarification.

    Of course I abhor the killing of children, innocent civilians, and non-combatants. I’m a father too. But let’s take things into context. What border does Hamas take issue with? Why are they firing hundreds of rockets into Israel? How can Israel respond to this (which you didn’t answer)? Why can’t the two parties sign a peace agreement? How does the Israel-Hamas conflict compare to the Syrian Civil War and the carnage happening there? Why are the Arabs more vocal against Israel than Syria considering the huge difference in the level of violence?

    Now for some nit-picking:

    The Israeli leadership is also guilty for taking advantage of this historical Arab failure in order to not make any real concessions toward peace.

    As far as I recall, the Israel-Palestinian and the Israel-Syrian peace tracks made significant progress toward peace over the past few decades. And if I recall, the parties were rather close. Maybe I’m wrong. Israel isn’t going to win any friends in the arab world if they stop building homes outside of the green line. So I don’t see why this is an obstacle to peace. Israel in the past stopped for a year and it didn’t amount to anything. Furthermore, Israelis completely left Sinai and Gaza when the political establishment required it.

    I actually blame the Israelis a little bit more since they are socially, politically and economically more advanced than their Arab “cousins” (You may wanna take this as a compliment).

    At some point in time, you have to hold your brother accountable for something. I say this generally to the arabs out there. Why not start today? Why not tell them to get off their asses like Sadat did? Talking works.

    Or is the Ahmadinejad/Hezbo/Hamas/Assad direction the way to go? These goons aren’t going to sit still and you know that. So who is going to replace them? Barbara Streisand and Woody Allen?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 20, 2012, 2:45 pm
  41. LoL Gabriel, and you are a closet Wahabi.

    Posted by Vulcan | November 20, 2012, 2:57 pm
  42. Gabriel was best buds with the “iceman:…that should have been proof enough! :P

    Posted by danny | November 20, 2012, 3:10 pm
  43. “taking advantage of this historical Arab failure” NewZ

    Vulcan,

    I disagree. Gabriel doesn’t feel the need the “Fuck Everybody”, just Jews and the US. q;o)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 20, 2012, 3:13 pm
  44. AP,
    “As far as I recall, the Israel-Palestinian and the Israel-Syrian peace tracks made significant progress toward peace”
    until the Israeli nutcases decided to take out Rabin

    “Maybe I’m wrong. Israel isn’t going to win any friends in the Arab world if they stop building homes outside of the green line.”
    You are very wrong. Stopping the settlements, land theft and demolishing of Palestinian homes is essential to peace. A temporary halt is not good enough. these are the concessions Israel is refusing to give in good faith
    “What border does Hamas take issue with? Why are they firing hundreds of rockets into Israel? How can Israel respond to this (which you didn’t answer)? Why can’t the two parties sign a peace agreement?”

    It is true Israel withdrew from Gaza but it is also true Gaza is under siege by the Israelis, a total blockade by land, Air and Sea is creating Palestinian suffering, feeding right into the Hamas agenda.

    The Israelis want to see the Arabs accept their right to self determination in a Jewish country, why not show tangible on the ground signs that Israel also accepts the right for Palestinians to self determination in their own country. Not in an open air prison.

    Posted by Vulcan | November 20, 2012, 3:44 pm
  45. Gabriel doesn’t feel the need the “Fuck Everybody”,

    Obviously, AP knows naught about my libido! I fuck ‘em all! Short, Tall, Fat, Skinny, Male, Female!

    Posted by Gabriel | November 20, 2012, 3:48 pm
  46. Vulcan Speaks. Same Tune. Nothing New

    until the Israeli nutcases decided to take out Rabin

    Vulcan,

    I’m surprised you made that statement. The Israeli “nutcase” (singular) killed Rabin in 1995. I’m talking about the peace process that ran up to the end of Bill Clinton’s term. Remember “Camp David 2000″ and Taba? This was a process that included the current defense minister Ehud Barak. Barak is not dead and his administration is quite alive and well. The negotiations came to about 95% of the West Bank, some proposed land WITHIN the green line and half of the Old City. Did you forget? Is this what you refer to when you say the Israelis do “not make any real concessions toward peace”? Furthermore, you seem to have the misguided notion that peace in Israel depends on one person – Rabin. I would say that peace in Israel depends on everyone since Israel is a democracy.

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

    You are very wrong. Stopping the settlements, land theft and demolishing of Palestinian homes is essential to peace. A temporary halt is not good enough. these are the concessions Israel is refusing to give in good faith.

    Vulcan, if it was a permanent “halt” why would there need to be a peace treaty? Israel called a temporary halt and asked for the Palestinians to reciprocate. Again, the Israeli proposed peace settlement amounted to almost 100% of the West Bank and 1/2 of the Old City. Is that not enough? Are you saying the Israelis shouldn’t claim the other half of Jerusalem’s Old City?

    It is true Israel withdrew from Gaza but it is also true Gaza is under siege by the Israelis, a total blockade by land, Air and Sea is creating Palestinian suffering, feeding right into the Hamas agenda.

    Vulcan,

    OK, let’s think outside the box shall we? Let’s suppose Israel didn’t blockade Gaza or feed into “Hamas’ agenda”, do you think Hamas would “behave” (where did I see that word before?, see photo below)? Do you think there would be a serious possibility that Iranian arms shipments would be loaded right onto Gaza’s shores including combat vehicles? Shirley you’re joking.

    The Israelis want to see the Arabs accept their right to self determination in a Jewish country, why not show tangible on the ground signs that Israel also accepts the right for Palestinians to self determination in their own country. Not in an open air prison.

    I agree. The two sides have to accept each other. They also need agreements that stick just in case they come apart just like the worthless “agreement” Hamas and the GOI are trying to sign as we speak.

    Anyway, here’s another photo for your Arab-Israeli conflict scrapbook:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2235635/Gaza-conflict-Egyptian-president-says-peace-Gaza-imminent-predicts-lasting-ceasefire-begin-tomorrow.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 20, 2012, 4:20 pm
  47. AP,

    You are correct I should have added the Palestinians’ failure to accept a compromise during those talks. but i thought i had made that point countless times in this blog. what i am trying to say is that both Israelis and Palestinians need to work in good faith in order to achieve a solution.

    Regarding the gangs draging the lifeless body, it is a barbaric and savage act, anyone with a shred of humanity would think so.

    I will also leave you with some photos for your Arab-Israeli conflict scrapbook:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/20/bearing_witness_in_gaza

    Posted by Vulcan | November 20, 2012, 4:45 pm
  48. Holy Crap.

    Whether it’s that photo, or this photo…

    We’re going to end up with a scrapbook of dead Arabs.

    Posted by Gabriel | November 20, 2012, 7:49 pm
  49. BTW.

    Any more news on the Lebanon front. It seems all has gone quiet once again.

    Nothing interesting popping up in the tweet-verse (?) or the orange room?

    Some more mutterings on the various phone networks and the Hariri assassination

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2012/Nov-20/195617-stl-prosecutor-outlines-evidence-in-hariri-killing.ashx#axzz2CoHq8AEi

    Posted by Gabriel | November 20, 2012, 7:55 pm
  50. The Professor has neglected this bunch of tireless debaters for other more pressing matters. Funny, how a post is left to fester, the topic always reverts to Israel/Palestine. Throw your fan base a bone ya QN.

    Posted by Maverick | November 21, 2012, 12:44 am
  51. Regarding the gangs draging the lifeless body, it is a barbaric and savage act, anyone with a shred of humanity would think so.

    Vulcan,

    I agree, but I’m am also willing to discuss why people would do such things. Emotions are running high, people are fearful. People are in danger. There is also a large element of hate and demonization, most of it from the Arab media. Whether it is a captured Syrian opposition fighter who is buried alive and suffocated, or a regime soldier shot point blank in front of a camera, I think we can say that these people have been lowered to the status of animal in survival mode. It’s a full-fledged civil war, not much different than the US civil war.

    This is a world I have no experience with and it’s foreign to me. That the Arab world with 1 Billion people, huge natural resources can let this happen doesn’t make sense to me. In this vein, I can’t understand the Gulf countries and their seeming ineptitude to put a stop to this. What can they do to stop the violence in the Arab world? And what about Iran? Iran clearly promotes it. Is it just a matter of stopping Iran?

    Vulcan,

    I asked a couple of questions over the past few days, and I never got answer. Mainly just silence. I’m going to list the questions I have for you again or for anyone else who wants to render and answer:

    1.) How should Israel respond to the hundreds of missiles being fired from Gaza?

    2.) What would you do if you were the Israeli PM?

    3.) What do you think would happen if Israel had no blockade of Gaza (which you recommended)?

    4.) Why does Gaza and the violence there create more Arab Anger™ (protests) than the violence in Syria?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 21, 2012, 8:26 am
  52. AP.

    Seriously guy- stop the whining.

    And if you expect people to engage seriously with you. To “render” and “answer”, perhaps you can start with scrolling up the posts and “rendering” and “answering” the questions asked of you.

    1) Is it really true that America has been the vanguard of Democracy and Freedom?
    2) Is it really true that America has not only acted out of its own self interest
    3) Are the Arabs really more hypocritical than the Americans?
    4) Why have the deaths in Syria caused by Bashar offended you more than the deaths in Iraq caused by your government?
    5) What would you do if you were a Palestinian living in an open-air prison and your babies were killed with Israel’s massive fire power?

    Posted by Gabriel | November 21, 2012, 7:11 pm
  53. Gabriel,

    Maybe you think I’m whining because no one wants to answer the hard questions?

    OTOH, your questions are completely absurd. You ask if America is a vanguard of Democracy and Freedom? There is no Utopia, but compared to the ME we certainly are a vanguard of Democracy. Americans have the freedom every 4 years to elect a do-nothing, anti-business liberal.

    Since when is a country acting in “its own self interest” a crime? That’s your second stupid question.

    Of course the Arabs are hypocritical, when they expect more from others than from themselves. It’s like you asking other people to act intelligently.

    I told you why the deaths in Syria caused by Bashar offends me more than the deaths in Iraq caused by the US. The deaths caused by Bashar are perpetrated in order to keep an unelected despot in power and his people under his thumb. The deaths caused by the US in Iraq was perpetrated to kick out a despot and provide Iraq and opportunity for freedom and democracy. Our current stupid president, Barrack Obama, naturally didn’t find that worth America’s time and effort. Only for Libya.

    Gabriel,

    If I were a Palestinian living in Gaza I would risk my life asking the local Hamas politbureau chief what it would take to sign a peace treaty with Israel so we could improve our movements in and out of Palestine and immediately improve the economy. That this (like the $60 – $90 billion dollars of investment Arafat rejected along with 95% of the West Bank) would be better for me and my family rather than Utopian Hamas ideal of trying to end Zionism.

    OK. You know have my permission to answer my list of questions. Get to work.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 22, 2012, 12:31 am
  54. AP.

    Those are not answers to my question.

    I didn’t ask you if America was democratic, and take to the polls every four years to elect a useless do-nothing crackhead supporting liberal.

    I asked you if they were the vanguard of Freedom and Democracy in their dealings with other countries. Supporting “democrats” as opposed to the Russians you so loathe.

    Stick to the questions, and answer them.

    Posted by Gabriel | November 22, 2012, 1:36 am
  55. For lack of better words here’s another idiotic comment by the “Cardinal”:

    http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/61960-al-rahi-no-one-has-right-to-request-handing-over-of-hariri-murder-suspects

    Should he not just shut up already? From describing Syria as the most democratic country to this gem. What an idiot!

    Posted by danny | November 23, 2012, 4:45 pm
  56. Gabriel the Moderate Extremist

    Maverick,

    Here are a few snippets from our thread of last week, just to get you up to speed:

    Danny:

    Gabriel,

    Make your point! What is your point? Do you think Hamas is right in bombing Israel? Did they take over Gaza in a military purge or as the gullible and cute lally suggests in her revisionist story line:”You do know that Hamas won the election and they fought off an American-backed coup attempt in Gaza, don’t you?” Posted by danny | November 17, 2012, 7:22 am

    Lally:

    Ahhhhhh Danny me boy, come follow me deep into the weeds of the historic debacle:

    “The [Elliot] Abrams program was initially conceived in February of 2006… (Arab Conspiracy Theory 101) Posted by lally | November 17, 2012, 1:27 pm

    Gabriel:

    However, it does take two to tango. And regarding the latest conflict, it seems, from the sequence of events that Israel did start that ball rolling with the assassination of whatever-his-name-is.
    Posted by Gabriel | November 19, 2012, 12:29 pm

    Of course Gabriel is a factual walking nightmare. Here are the facts:

    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=20&x_article=2326

    And then 5 Questions showing the Gabriel’s blame of the usual suspects:

    1) Is it really true that America has been the vanguard of Democracy and Freedom?
    2) Is it really true that America has not only acted out of its own self interest
    3) Are the Arabs really more hypocritical than the Americans?
    4) Why have the deaths in Syria caused by Bashar offended you more than the deaths in Iraq caused by your government?
    5) What would you do if you were a Palestinian living in an open-air prison and your babies were killed with Israel’s massive fire power?

    Posted by Gabriel | November 21, 2012, 7:11 pm

    My answers followed. Didn’t take a whole lot of thought of course…

    http://qifanabki.com/2012/10/24/was-michel-samaha-set-up-by-wissam-al-hassan/

    Posted by Akbar Palace | November 27, 2012, 11:02 pm
  57. Waiting for QN to write something on the USA’s decision to designate MS as a global terrorist. In the meantime, I ask the question: how can the USA decide on someone being a global terrorist before this person has even been indicted in his own country?

    Posted by nicosd noovoo analyst | December 19, 2012, 4:57 am

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