Arab Politics

The Nation and the Tribes

Talal Salman had an editorial in today’s as-Safir, in which he rightly criticized the three summits called by the Arabs in support of Gaza. “Sale! Three for the price of one,” he mocked.

I am so tired of the stupid “Arab Cold War”, and we’re only, what, five years into it? Is there some way to fast forward? I really do think I’ve seen this terrible movie before.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia want to curtail Iran’s encroaching influence while the “resistance” axis does not want to see Egypt broker a truce with Hamas at its expense.  Everybody is trying to throw their own “look-at-how-important-I-am” party, but only their friends are showing up. Bah humbug. What’s the point of being important if the people whom you deem as unimportant don’t recognize you as important?

Meanwhile, innocents die.
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Discussion

41 thoughts on “The Nation and the Tribes

  1. QN,

    It seems that the Arab world is more concerned about its own internal, petty squabbles, than about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. If Syria, Egypt, KSA, and others, really cared, they would have united in every fashion possible (including declaring new military alliances, etc.), and would have begun taking steps to threaten Israel diplomatically, and otherwise. If Egypt believes the only way to cause Israel to stop is by force, then it needs to unite with other Arab states. If it thinks the only way is diplomatically, then it also needs to unite, to apply much stronger pressure.

    Israel has always been accused of “divide-and-conquer” strategies vis-a-vis the Arab world. But in my humble opinion, the Arab world seems to be doing plenty of that on its own…

    The short and long term interests of this region demand unification, first by the Arab nations, and then, with Israel. The Arab leaders can have another 1000 summits in Doha, Riaydh, Beirut, and Damascus. But as long as they keep playing these silly “you apologize first” games, the future of this region will remain hostage to the extremists who still very much dictate the order of the day.

    Look how far we’ve come… A mere two-three decades ago, strong nations and armies controlled the Arab agenda (Egypt, Syria, Iraq, etc.) Today, it’s a few religious organizations with a couple thousand guerrilla fighters (no tanks, no planes, no smart missiles).

    Whether we’ll have to continue fighting, or start talking, I believe there’s little doubt it is better (for all of us) to have two sides to this conflict, and not twenty-two.

    Posted by Shai | January 17, 2009, 9:45 am
  2. Shai,

    I agree partially with you. The Arab world focuses on internal matters only when it is a matter of political jockeying, not when it comes to serious internal reforms and development. The rest of the time, they piss and moan about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 17, 2009, 10:27 am
  3. QN,

    It seems, perhaps, that AIG was right after all in his Democracy-First condition. Israel says “no peace” to everyone, Syria half-begs for it over the past 5 years, and Israel says “Hey, I’m serious! No damn peace! And, just to prove it, here’s Gaza for you!…”

    It seems we are very interested in Democracy-First throughout the region… Actually, maybe Gaza is a bad example. Hamas did, after all, win the 2006 elections fair and square. Hmmm, so maybe the message is “Hey, no damn peace, even if you ARE inspiring to become a Democracy!”

    Ach, violence has this nice aspect to it, that it always gives us an opportunity to see what we want out of it, doesn’t it?… All sides are reinforced in their beliefs. It’s a win-win situation. Unlike that idiotic fantasy-of-a-notion called “peace”.

    Posted by Shai | January 19, 2009, 12:57 am
  4. Shai,

    What you need for peace is primarily ACCOUNTABILITY of the governments to the people. I do not know how to get that in a government that is not democratic.

    If Hamas really cared about Palestinians and were afraid of being voted out of office, they would not have decided to discontinue the tadhiya. That is just one simple example. Just elections are not enough to make a country democratic. There must be the real ability to change a regime through the ballot without bloodshed, thus making the government accountable.

    Again, democracy will not lead to peace immediately, but it will make sure there is no war, which is good enough for me. A good example is Lebanon. Public opinion is strongly against Israel but it is strongly against a war with Israel also. This is one aspect of why Hizballah’s hands are tied.

    Eventually, when the benefits of democracy kick in, and Arabs are hopeful of their future, there will be an opening for peace. But a few decades without war is good enough in the meanwhile.

    Posted by AIG | January 19, 2009, 11:23 am
  5. AIG,

    When in Israel’s history have we had “a few decades without war” exactly? And when do you see this new era starting? Unless, of course, you consider Intifada I, Intifada II, Lebanon 2006, and Gaza 2009 periods more closely resembling “non-war” than war… Based on your logic, we should have never made peace with Egypt and Jordan. Would it have been better today if we hadn’t?

    Posted by Shai | January 19, 2009, 11:31 am
  6. By the way, we will know for sure if the operation in Gaza was successful in about a year or so depending on how much quiet the people in the south of Israel have.

    I am optimistic since it will take Hamas many more years to be ready for another such war than Hizballah. This will give Israel time to also develop a good anti-missle system.

    You guys think the Palestinians will think of something else but I doubt it. If we can take care of the suicide bombers and the missiles then the Palestinians will have no alternatives for an armed struggle.

    Posted by AIG | January 19, 2009, 11:32 am
  7. Shai,
    Read what I write carefully.
    Regarding Egypt I already explained many times before that it was part of the cold war and was important to gain US support.

    It was good that we signed a peace agreement with them. Israel gained enormously but the Egyptian people were screwed because it consolidated the Sadat-Mubarak rule forever and took away any chance of Egypt being democratic. In the end, Mubarak will fall and we will face an Egypt ruled by the Muslim brotherhood.

    Also, the peace with Egypt greatly highlights the hypocrisy of the US in pushing democracy worldwide and of Israel supporting democracy. Why make these compromises with Syria? I see no strategic need. That Israel and the US gave up on democracy in Egypt is not a good reason to give up on democracy in Syria.

    Posted by AIG | January 19, 2009, 11:39 am
  8. AIG,

    It’s really quite basic, in any kind of political or strategic thinking. The less enemies you have, the better. Syria offered, for over 5 years, to become a friend of Israel, to stop being our enemy. This interest is the same today, as it was during the Cold War, as it’ll be tomorrow, in a new Cold War that is developing in our region. If and when Iran achieves its nuclear capabilities, isn’t it better to have Syria (Iran’s ally) our friend, rather than enemy? Without Syria’s support, Iran would have great difficulties exporting its “Islamic Revolution” all the way to the Mediterranean Sea (Lebanon, Gaza). This should be in Israel’s interests no less than anyone else.

    Our best strategy is to invest in ways that will bring us closer to peace with our enemies, not in ways that prolong the conflict. This “wait-and-see” attitude is a very dangerous one, and we already are beginning to see where we’re headed. The future, if left to itself, is not full of non-war, but rather ongoing violence, bloodshed, and endless wars.

    I don’t know if you have children here in Israel that will suffer the consequences, but I do. Maybe you’re perfectly willing to send my two girls to fight in another Gaza or Lebanon or worse, but I’m not so easily willing to send yours. Think about that sometime.

    Posted by Shai | January 19, 2009, 12:15 pm
  9. Shai,
    Yes, it is really quite basic. Syria is offering us nothing. No flip no nothing. If Asad has something to ofer me or the rest of the Israelis then let him tell us what he is oferring in a speech directed at the Israeli people. Until then, I have zero trust in him being interested in anything more than staying in power, and I believe that if he signs a deal with Israel it will jeopardize his regime.

    So yes it is quite simple. I think Shai it is you who has to think why 94% of Israelis support the operation in Gaza and why 70% are against giving the Golan. If your conclusion is because they are numb, stupid, manipulated or along these lines, then it is you who is in huge denial. That is the main reason why the so called peace camp is dwindling in Israel. You cannot make a salient argument but you don’t blame yourself, you blame the people for not getting it.

    Your approach is fundamentally wrong. It is based on wishful thinking and contradictions to which your answer is that it is better to be overly optimistic. No, and no again. It is better to be realistic. I accept that we have many years of low intensity warfare ahead of us. I am willing to give my life in pursuit of such strategy because I, as most other Israelis believe that this is the best strategy for Israel long term.

    Posted by AIG | January 19, 2009, 12:30 pm
  10. AIG,

    Since when have the majority understood how to solve complex problems? You think it’s an easy-one? If so, why haven’t you solved the 60 year conflict yet? And if we should so eagerly follow the not-numb, not-stupid, non-manipulated mob, why follow them only sometimes, and not all the time? Do you, as a person, truly aspire to following “the majority”? Is this how you make decisions in life?

    Who generally tends to have courage and foresight more – the majority, or the few? Stop using codenames like “the peace camp” to define something we should all aspire to distance ourselves from. Aren’t YOU interested in peace? So is the peace camp something negative? Are they working towards a negative goal? That you think this camp is unrealistic (and should be “blamed”) is your own subjective opinion of course. Personally, I think every member of that camp should be commended, for at least continuing to work towards peace. Those who see in this camp a danger, are precisely those who contribute nothing to our safety and security.

    No one is always right, and when peace depends also on the other side, indeed there are major mistakes along the way. But what matters isn’t how many times we fail along the way, but rather how much we stick to the path. You don’t fail, if you don’t try. And there are times, very few in fact, in a nation’s history, when chances can be taken. Giving back the Golan, for hope of peace with Syria, is certainly worth the risk of having sudden “surprise attack” and Syrian tanks heading down to Hadera and Tel-Aviv.

    Peace, AIG, is not always a reward you give someone for doing something good (Assad “proving” himself to you). It is also a decision we sometimes reach, when we are tired of fighting. I’m not sure which is a greater demonstration of weakness – continuing to fight, or putting down our weapons.

    I don’t wear daisies in my hair, and I’m actually far less-liberal than you might think. But I also don’t wish to see my own children bear arms like I did, just because “the majority” lacks the courage to make peace. We’ve become champions at excuses why NOT to make peace. And the endless wars we are engaged in are a direct consequence of these excuses. We cannot continue to always blame someone else for our weaknesses. Just as you would like to see the Syrian people find the inner courage required to change their nation, so too I would like to see ours do the same.

    And so should you.

    Posted by Shai | January 19, 2009, 11:50 pm
  11. Shai,

    Stop the patronizing. Everybody wants peace. But we want a real peace. We are not fighting Syria anymore, we are fighting Iran now through its proxies. If Syria does not flip, most Israelis realize we are not advancing any peace. Even Liel says this, so your position is really out there.

    And you may be tired of fighting. I am not and neither are most Israelis. We may not like fighting, but hey, nobody said getting a Jewish state was going to be easy.

    The Arabs cannot live in peace with each other. This statement is correct at all levels. From families to clans to tribes to sects to nations. If you get no immediate gain from a treaty, you get nothing. the Syrians say that Mubarak will soon fall and the Saudis and Egyptians say that Asad is on the way out. And you want to make an agreement with Asad and get nothing for the Golan. Absolutely nothing.

    Syria is in a horrible condition. The awful drought we are having, they are having too. Oil is less than $35. The Gulf Arabs have much less to invest. Let’s wait patiently to see what happens.

    Posted by AIG | January 20, 2009, 12:41 am
  12. The Arabs cannot live in peace with each other. This statement is correct at all levels. From families to clans to tribes to sects to nations.

    The most racist crap I’ve heard in a year.

    Posted by offended | January 20, 2009, 5:00 am
  13. Shai,
    It’s good to see you here. You’ve been missed on SC.

    Posted by offended | January 20, 2009, 5:03 am
  14. AIG,

    We’re not fighting the Syrians? Then why do we need it to “flip”? Of course we’re fighting the Syrians, both at our initiative (Deir Ez-Zur, Mughniya assassination), and at theirs (support of Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.) Assad said, wisely, at Doha that his nation will not risk being destroyed for the Golan. They will not start a direct war, on the Golan, for the Golan. But they certainly will continue to pressure us to leave the Golan, by every other means.

    I’m not seeking peace with Bashar. I want peace between Israel and Syria. Today, he represents that nation. Aside from the Syria leader, there hasn’t been a single Syrian I’ve ever spoken to, that doesn’t want peace with Israel. Today, certainly most no longer believe it is possible. In light of our less-than-peaceful gestures in the past 3 weeks, many in the Arab world, perhaps most, are giving up on an Israel that wants peace, believing we are an Israel that wants to impose its will upon its neighbors. Indeed, that Israel is here to remain the regional bully, and has no honest intention to live at peace with its neighbors.

    After we kill 1300 Palestinians (most of whom were innocent people, never bearing arms, never fighting us…), and injure more than 5,000, it’s a little hard to claim we’re a peaceful nation. Indeed you cannot but see the reversal in roles, with Israel becoming the new Goliath.

    By the way, I am saddened to hear that you’re “not tired of fighting”. That says something about a person, doesn’t it? I don’t have a single friend, from the extreme Left to the extreme Right, including ones that are still in Reserves, that isn’t tired of fighting. And regarding Alon Liel, just to clarify for you, he never made the statement that Syria must first “flip”. That is not a precondition he places on peace with Syria. He believes, like many do, that once we sign a peace agreement, Syria will naturally move away from Iran, HA, and Hamas. I’m not so convinced, nor do I think that’s in Israel’s best interests, but neither one of us demand a “flip” first. Both of us demand certain parts of this so-called “flip” to take place prior to the return of the Golan, specifically with regards to the military alliances Syria has with Hezbollah and with Iran.

    Posted by Shai | January 20, 2009, 7:09 am
  15. Dear Offended,

    It is good to see you here as well. I miss our talks on SC, but I decided to self-impose silence upon myself for a while, for obvious reasons…

    Posted by Shai | January 20, 2009, 7:11 am
  16. In light of our less-than-peaceful gestures in the past 3 weeks, many in the Arab world, perhaps most, are giving up on an Israel that wants peace, believing we are an Israel that wants to impose its will upon its neighbors.

    Shai,

    Tell us, how “peaceful” is it lobbing thousands of missiles into Israel? Is there any reason why you always ignore Arab actions against peace?

    Indeed, that Israel is here to remain the regional bully, and has no honest intention to live at peace with its neighbors.

    If that were true we wouldn’t have a peace treaty withJordan and Egypt. Again, you overlook the evidence to the contrary.

    He believes, like many do, that once we sign a peace agreement, Syria will naturally move away from Iran, HA, and Hamas.

    “Naturally move away”? The evidence shows that after a peace treaty, the Arabs naturally move toward isolating Israel.

    One would think that relying on false assumptions as the basis of a peace treaty would be height of folly, since Israel already did that with Arafat. I see the “Boy who Cried Wolf” is lecturing us on how to make peace.

    Dr. Bashar Assad will have to get his hands dirty Shai. “Dirty” with public peace overtures with the Joos. A meeting, a handshake, a visit to Disneyland…something like that…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 20, 2009, 9:56 am
  17. Akbar,

    Since I always value your semi-serious style of “discussion”, I’ll leave you once again to argue with yourself.

    Posted by Shai | January 20, 2009, 11:28 am
  18. Offended,
    The utmost racism is the way you differentiate between Arabs killed by other Arabs and Arabs killed by Jews.

    You are Syrian. You should care about your fellow Syrians. Answer me a simple question: Why isn’t there any memorial for the tens of thousands killed in Hama? Why doesn’t Syria bother to remember them? If you so care about Arab life why did you not do anything after the recent killings in the Syrian jail? Why are you not upset about Darfur much more than you are upset about Gaza?

    Why do you only care about Arabs killed by Israelis and not about Arabs killed by other Arabs?

    As for my statement, it was not racist. You support a dictator ruling your country because you are afraid of a civil war. That is exactly what I meant when I said that Arabs cannot live in peace with each other.

    I don’t expect you to answer this post since it seems you are not inclined to enter into serious discussion but all you want to do is bash Israel. But I would like to be pleasantly surprised. Can you give an honest answer to the questions I asked you?

    Posted by AIG | January 20, 2009, 11:33 am
  19. AIG,

    I trust the rules here at Qifa’s den are a bit more relaxed than SC so I am going to be blunt with you.

    How many ****** times I tried to put it in your puny mind that I DETEST THE KILLING OF INNOCENT HUMAN BEINGS anywhere, anytime?

    And now let’s throw the question back at you (your smoke screens dont fool anyone) because IT’S YOU who’s supporting the indiscriminate killings in Gaza. It’s you who’s ferociously defending whatever Israel does. All arab liberals I know of are equally critical of the breaching of human rights in arab countries. Nevertheless I am yet to meet a ******* israel apologist who would say “no, that can’t be done in my name” even though it won’t cost you anything in your lovely democratic israel to voice your opinion. While on the other hand Arab liberals risk their lives when they criticize their respective governments.

    Darfur was and still is a tragedy, and I would like nothing but a neutral investigation to show us whether the Jenjaweed militia have committed any crimes or not. Wherever that might lead.

    But the united states isn’t pumping billions of dollars each year to the Jinjaweed militia, are they? I mean, israel’s actions aren’t only not frowned upon, they are rewarded with massive militay aid every year.
    Which shows your hypocrisy and that of the people who are like you.

    You can’t even come close, neither you nor anyone of israel apologists will dare utter a syllabul of criticism toward israel. And that’s racism for you. It shows in your words, line and sinker.

    And yes, saying that ‘arabs can’t live in peace’ is racist. But I normally wouldn’t expect less from you. You’re happy in your cocoon of racism, so be it. Nobody will compete with you in that department.

    Posted by offended | January 20, 2009, 1:18 pm
  20. Offended,
    Again you evaded my question:
    Why are you doing nothing for Darfur while you actively attack Israel?
    Why do you not give a **** that there is no memorial for the tens of thousands murdered in Hama? Why do you do nothing against all the abuses of YOUR government but choose only to attack Israel?

    Can you answer the questions above? If you are a liberal, show it by making a difference in YOUR OWN country. Otherwise your talk of liberlaism is just plain BS. You are only a “liberal” when it comes to Israel. For crying out loud, you SUPPORT the Assad regime. And you dare call yourself a liberal?

    Just admit to yourself that you world view is just one big hypocritical excuse to attack Israel.

    Can you deny that you are against democracy in Syria because you are afraid of a civil war? Again you evade the question but choose to call me names. Your hypocrisy is plain for all to see. Address the sepcifically the issues I raised and I will directly address your issues. But do not think you will get away by changing the subject.

    Posted by AIG | January 20, 2009, 2:04 pm
  21. I trust the rules here at Qifa’s den are a bit more relaxed than SC so I am going to be blunt with you.

    Offended, given that I wrote the rules at SC, I should probably install them here as well. 🙂

    Come on guys, no nasty words please. Just nasty thoughts. 😉

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 20, 2009, 2:08 pm
  22. Typical zionist propaganda.
    AIG, you’re the last person to speak about integrity or consistency. Man, you’re the epitome of hypocrisy. For the record, it’s none of your business what subject I ‘evade’ and what subject I choose to address. We’re speaking about a particular point here which is the israeli war crimes in gaza, it seems to me that you’re somehow acknowledging the fact that they were shamelessly committed? At least implicitly? Because this is what I am expected to hear when I finally admit to you that I am anti-Assad and pro-democracy bla bla bla?
    Well listen boy, I don’t need a non-hypocrisy certificate from you or anybody else. I am here in my capacity as an Arab, not a representative of any regime. Why is that so hard for you to understand? are you telling me you’re entitled to kill arabs because they’re not democratic and because they don’t possess peaceful dispositions? If my memory serves me well, you’ve stated a similar racist opinion once on the thread about Abu Kamal air raid. Arabs aren’t entitled to complain about getting killed by american commandos because they’re being killed by their dictators anyway, right?
    And I’d think even if a Darfurian came and complained to you about your war crimes (I can safely state they’re yours since you haven’t distanced yourself from them), you’d find something in the Darfurian history, probably a sexist or a misogynic ritual in, and then you’d say: “go and fix that, failing which you’re a hypocrite” and maybe you’ll give him/her the extra zionist propaganda treat by saying that he/she deserves to have been expelled, raped, mass-murdered..etc..?

    Well YOU are a hypocrite. Man I challenge you NOW to distance yourself from those war crimes. Alas, I am sure you can’t. 🙂 let’s hope at least that you’re prepared with the list of IDF’s outrageous lies and justifications? maybe that will save a little of your face, albeit by consolidating, once and for all, your image as a pathetic propagandist.

    Posted by offended | January 20, 2009, 3:08 pm
  23. Mr. Qifa.

    Sorry minnak ya estazna.

    Ra7 dubb lessani min hiek wo raye7.

    Minshanak bas ha!

    Posted by offended | January 20, 2009, 3:10 pm
  24. AIG –

    The fact of the matter is that there is one standard for Israel and another standard (if any) for Arabs and Muslims.

    Get over it. You know it, they know it (but won’t admit it), and I know it. (Shai doesn’t know it)

    The important thing for us is not to be bothered by their criticism. Ignore it.

    Gaza was another lesson is ignoring Arab criticism. Let the Israeli voter dictate what is fair and what is excessive. She’s done it well in the past and she will continue to do it in the future.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 20, 2009, 3:56 pm
  25. Offended,

    As far as I can tell there were no war crimes committed in Gaza. When I see the evidence that there were, I will change my mind. These things are determined in court, and not decided by you based on “evidence” provided by Hamas. Why don’t we both agree to wait till the court rules on these issues? Isn’t that what “liberals” are supposed to agree to?

    My government treats me well. I am a free person. My government is accountable to me. In fact, Kadima will be voted out of power soon most likely.

    You are a slave that does nothing to help himself. You accept non-democracy in your own country but instead of complaining and doing something about YOUR OWN government, you just complain about Israel.

    By evading my direct and very specific questions you show your hypocrisy. Of course it is my business that you are not able to answer my questions. It shows how intellectually bankrupt your position is. It shows that you do not care Arab life but about Arab life only if it was taken by an Israeli.

    If you want a sincere discussion, answer my questions. Why is that so difficult for you? Are you afraid to defend your views on what I ask you?

    Posted by AIG | January 20, 2009, 4:18 pm
  26. Slowly but surely the truth will come out about all the “war crimes”:
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/180691

    Posted by AIG | January 20, 2009, 9:42 pm
  27. AIG,

    What questions my dear? You wanna know how skillful I am in designing memorial? I am hearing about a new museum coming up which will be dedicated to chronicle the Holocaust committed by Israel against Palestinian children. Not a bad idea…..so AIG, it sounds to me that the 100 times I owned you on SC weren’t enough, so let me try again. I know you’ve got a bug about democracy up your a** and I grew tired of telling you that how we handle our domestic affairs is our own problem. What I am doing to help Darfur or improve civil rights in Syria is something you’re not entitled to know and you’ll never learn about. It’s really none of your business. You’re probably looking for the Ghadris who will deceptively carry the banner of democracy and regime change through military action bla bla bla…so that you undermine our country and its ability to transform in a healthy manner. Heck, I even remember your Freudian (?) slip once when you said that it’s going to be easier in Syria because Khaddam knows how to handle it once the current regime is ousted. Yeah, like Khaddam is the ultimate democratic leader in the region. Your clownish tactics don’t fool nobody. So get over it will you?

    That’s an interesting article you’ve linked to there at the newsweek website. One has to wonder though, ya3ni, if Ban Ki Mon was yesterday in Gaza saying that there’s an urgent need to investigate the several massacres committed by bombing UN run schools in Gaza, how come the newsweek was so quick in ruling who, and how war crimes were committed?

    Again, typical zionist propaganda.

    One photo should suffice though,

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/7835088.stm

    Posted by offended | January 21, 2009, 1:21 pm
  28. Offended,
    I am giving you every chance to answer simple questions. But your answer is that you can criticize my country but nobody can criticize yours and what you do about it because it is “none of your business”. How childish a response can you give? Imagine if I told you that you cannot criticize how Israel treats its Arab citizens because it is an internal manner. Or imagine that Israel accepts the one state solution and then terrorizes the Arabs but says that now it is an “internal matter” and cannot be criticized.

    How you handle your internal problems or more correctly the fact that you DO NOTHING about your internal problems is THE problem of the middle east. If you want to complain about human rights LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Otherwise, it is clear to all that you are just bashing Israel and are not a real liberal. You have done NOTHING to improve the situation in Syria. Nothing at all. The situation is only getting worse, yet you dare to criticize Israel while your own home is one of most backward countries in the world in human rights, education, technology, economy etc.

    So I will give you another chance to answer the questions so that you do not make a complete fool of yourself. Why do you care more about the life of an Arab killed by Israel than you care about the life of an Arab killed by your own country when in fact is should be the other way around?

    Why do you call yourself a “liberal” if you support the Asad dictatorship?

    Why is there not ONE memorial or museum or statue in Syria to commemorate the tens of thousands of innocents murdered in Hama? How can you say you care at all about human life if you will not do anything to commemorate or remember the murder of YOUR OWN fellow countrymen? And if you cannot setup such a museum in Syria, why not set it up in the Gulf where you live? Or really, do you only care when an Arab is killed by an Israeli???

    Posted by AIG | January 21, 2009, 1:55 pm
  29. AIG,

    Do you not read what I am saying? Why is it so hard for you to understand? but then if you can’t see anything wrong with the photo I’ve posted then you must be color blind, or just plain blind. ; )

    “Why do you care more about the life of an Arab killed by Israel than you care about the life of an Arab killed by your own country when in fact is should be the other way around?”

    My bad AIG, what kind of stupid question is that? how did you arrive at the conclusion that I care about one more than the other? care to link to a comment of mine where I’ve stated that Arabs killed by Arabs don’t matter to me?

    Is it not obvious to you that Israel’s killing of Arabs is nothing but one episode in the long long series of the persecution of Palestinians and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine?

    The only thing that can come close to that in the recent Arab history is the massive Sunni expulsion from Iraq, as a result of Al Qaeda terrorism, and the counter-terrorism of the shia’s death squad (under the watchful eye of the American occupation).

    You probably don’t know how much I detest Al Qaeda and feel an equal (if not more severe) aversion to the tactics and brutality of the Shi’a death squads. Equal to that is my disgust at Israel’s behaviour toward the Palestinians.

    Why do you call yourself a “liberal” if you support the Asad dictatorship?
    Again, lies and propaganda. Who said I support Assad’s dictatorship? (or any other dictatorship for that matter?) weren’t you, oh AIG, present when me, Jad and Alia were discussing the potential of democratic transformation in Syria?

    However, I do admire and support Assad’s stance in supporting the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine with everything possible. And I consider this cause a noble one. Unlike Abbas who’s bought and paid for, people like Nasserallah and Mash’al, whether you like or not, are representatives of real popular resistance movements. And it was syria who had supported them and in return it had to endure all kind of funny labels like ‘harobring terrorism’..etc…(it’s however akin to your calling me a ‘pseudo liberal’, like HGAF)

    Why is there not ONE memorial or museum or statue in Syria to commemorate the tens of thousands of innocents murdered in Hama?

    I dont know. But let me guess: because it took place during the reign of the father of the current president and it will be kind of embarrassing for him to open this ‘can of worms’?

    “How can you say you care at all about human life if you will not do anything to commemorate or remember the murder of YOUR OWN fellow countrymen?

    When I become in charge of the Syrian ministry of commemoration, I will certainly try to oblige to your request.

    “Or really, do you only care when an Arab is killed by an Israeli???”

    No…. again, read all the above. But I do care immensely when a Palestinian is killed by an Israeli. Because those are defenseless people and their story is an open wound in the Arab conscience.

    Okay AIG, let me in return ask you couple of questions:

    1- What’s your vision for lasting pace in the region?
    2- What do you think of the photo I’ve posted?

    Have a nice day..; )

    Posted by offended | January 21, 2009, 2:56 pm
  30. And AIG, I forgot to thank you for putting up with my evading your questions. I really hope you’d try to accommodate those stupid Ayrabs… we might be a little slow on the uptake sometimes.

    p.s. even though I take everything in this website with a grain of salt, it worth having a look at:

    http://www.btselem.org/English/index.asp

    Posted by offended | January 21, 2009, 3:05 pm
  31. Offended,

    I also agree that Hamas and Hezbollah are certainly more representative of the resistance than anyone else. But when we consider the Palestinian people, why do you believe Fatah refuses to unite with Hamas? Does Fatah truly believe it can outlast Hamas? Does it truly believe the people, who will be voting soon enough, will forget how it did nothing to help half its citizens, in Gaza?

    Is there, in fact, a terrible rift growing amongst not only the two largest parties (Fatah and Hamas), but indeed amongst the entire Palestinian people? I’ve yet to hear the kind of overwhelming condemnation expected by the other 60% of the Palestinian people, over the Gaza massacre. Where are they? Or is it that deep inside, most truly want Hamas out?

    As for Syria’s freedom and democracy, I completely agree with you. These are internal matters for the Syrian people, and the Syrian people alone, to deal with. But I also don’t have the luxury of eternal patience, to wait for those much needed reforms to take place. Israel must be ready to sign peace treaties with enemies that are democracies, authoritarian regimes, moderate dictatorships, monarchies, fiefdoms, gangs, thugs, thieves, and yes, even “terrorists”.

    I don’t think Anwar Sadat ordered the killing of less Israelis than Ismayil Hanniyeh or the Sayyed did…

    Posted by Shai | January 21, 2009, 3:27 pm
  32. Shai,
    I think the rift between Fateh and Hamas is very unfortunate. If we’re to believe the Vanity Fair article (published few month ago as a result of an investigation of the joint Fateh, Egypt, US conspiracy to remove Hamas), then Egypt and the US are to blame too.

    I’ve just heard that Obama’s first call to a leader of another country was to Abbas, little do they know Abbas term as a president has expired already. However, I wish Abbas would sieze the opportuinity and reconcile with Hamas NOW itself. If you’re getting the support of the mightest man on earth then you might as well seek to reconnect with your people. It’s unfortunate, really. Something similar to Doha style pressure should be applied to Hamas vs. Fateh to get them to talk to each other and move along competing in the Palestinian political arena (like it was done with the Lebanese squabbling factions/parties).

    And no Shai, honestly, from what I’ve heard and read of Palestinian reactions, Palestinian people will never drop their support of Hamas just because of the recent events. In fact, this support might grow stronger now. I’d imagine that such a movement which grew under the heavy clamps of the occupation would weather and survive the military hit. I have no illusion about ‘victory’. But the people there on the forefront of suffering have different metrics to mine. I am 100% sure that the only way to undermine Hamas is to remove the rug from underneath their feet. i.e. remove the very reasons they existed as a resistance movement to begin with. when there’s nothing to resist, as far as the majority of the Palestinian people are concerned, they’d end up being just another islamic party competing with equally appealing (or probably more appealing to some) secular and leftist parties.

    Oh yes, a prerequisite to all the above is that Fateh should reform too. And the first move to reform Fateh would be to terminate Dahlan’s services and somehow get Al Barguthi out of prison. Fateh needs fresh, patriotic, and ‘clean’ faces. Abbas’s image expired long time before his term did…

    Posted by offended | January 21, 2009, 4:57 pm
  33. Offended,

    I completely agree with you. I was just wondering what was happening with the people in the West Bank (more so than with Fatah itself) – why have we not seen overwhelming support for their brothers and sisters in Gaza? In fact, why have they not taken this opportunity to demand an immediate “reunification” between Fatah and Hamas? And I do agree that with all likelihood, Hamas only got stronger, not weaker.

    Funny that you mentioned Bargouti. I’ve been pushing hard to get certain people to consider the potential for Bargouti to become the next “Arafat”. And, thankfully, I did manage to convince a number of people of this. There are some high-level officials and politicians, also ex-Likud ones (believe it or not), that are seriously considering advocating his release, with the hope of achieving precisely that. Yes, the “rug” needs to be taken from under their feet. But until that happens, we should recognize them, as full partners to our conflict, and hence to its possible solution.

    I could never understand those who think we should only talk to “nice enemies”… Or ones that “don’t have blood on their hands…” I guess they’re the “sterile enemies”, the ones you could use to wipe your baby’s bottom with, but not much beyond that. But it goes both ways. And Hamas can’t always get an Uri Avneri to negotiate with. They too will have to sit with someone closer to Netanyahu’s views, than to Avneri’s.

    Posted by Shai | January 21, 2009, 5:28 pm
  34. Offended,
    It is actions that speak loud, not words. Your only actions are against Israel. You go to vigils, complain and post only when an Arab right is violated by Israel.

    It is a fact that you are doing nothing to replace or change the Asad regime. Look at your answer to the issue of a memorial to the Hama massacre. You accept this fact and explain it away by saying that it is inconvenient for the current regime. What if Israel tried to hide a crime because it was inconvenient for Israel? Would you just accept that as something inevitable or would you get angry and rile against it? You do not seem angry at all at Asad for this vile conduct.

    My simple question to you is why you hold yourself and your country to such a low standard relative to Israel? If you are a liberal, then be a true liberal, who first and foremost look at themselves and their own countries and try to make them better. You give Syria a pass on all issues and take issue with anything Israel does. You are the exact opposite of Shai who takes umbrage only of what Israel does and not of what Syria does. At least one of you is completely mistaken in his approach but most likely both of you are.

    Lead by example, fix your own home first and then complain about Israel. If I see the you are happy with Asad in the sense that you do nothing to change thigs, why should I believe that you are truly a liberal and care about human rights?

    Posted by AIG | January 21, 2009, 5:50 pm
  35. AIG, WTF is wrong with you? You asked a question and I answered. If you’re predetermined not to believe then what can I do for you?

    Just do off will you?

    Posted by offended | January 22, 2009, 2:13 am
  36. ^^^
    Meant to say ‘sod off’

    that what happenes when you self-censor your nasty words.

    Posted by offended | January 22, 2009, 2:14 am
  37. Shai,
    You’re right. They should talk to Hamas too. But is it America’s responsibility to reconcile Fateh and Hamas as well? Ideally, it should not be difficult for Obama to pressure Abbas to sit with Hamas and agree on some sort of unity or concerted action. But in reality, it was already ‘hard’ for America to manage with the Palestinians when they had one address. Now I don’t really know what’s going to happen or how long it will proceed before the process gets to a complete halt again and everybody starts blaming everybody…

    Posted by offended | January 22, 2009, 2:34 am
  38. Offended,
    As usual, something is wrong with me. Maybe something is wrong with you? Maybe you do not like being challenged by good argumentation? Maybe it is difficult for you to be honest with yourself?

    Look, I represent the views of the majority in Israel. If you want a chance at peace you better be able to answer these questions. It is much easier for the stronger side to tell the weaker side to sod off. But it is YOU who wants an agreement based on discussion and not based on the strength of the parties on the ground. Do you think you are achieving that when you tell me to “sod off”?

    Here is a “sod off” argument for you. The Golan will remain forever in Israeli hands because Syria is too weak to reclaim it.

    Posted by AIG | January 22, 2009, 5:40 pm
  39. Wow…what a jerk.

    AIG,

    WTF is wrong with your puny brain? Did I not answer your questions? It’s you who doesn’t answer questions dude, so let me remind you of them:

    1- What’s your vision for lasting pace in the region?
    2- What do you think of the photo I’ve posted? (how do you explain it?)

    That Syria is not strong enough to get the Golan through fighting is a temporary variable. Things might change in the future. Syria might become strong enough, who knows? And then more arab and muslim states might join hands….

    I’d advise that then you don’t come to me asking for peace because you missed your chance now.

    But I do understand your desire to continue fighting; I mean full-time soldiers, defense contractors, propagandists and religious demagogues need the paycheck and good reasons to exist, don’t they?

    And let me make it clear to you again what I think about peace between Syria and Israel: if the Palestinian issues is not resolved once and for all (through a viable state, return or compensation of refugees, release of all detainees, dismantling of settlements ..etc..) then you might stick your peace where it fits. There is no point in having a pseudo peace when you’re still oppressing the Palestinians.

    I hope I made myself clear.

    Now you can sod off, thank you kindly…; )

    Posted by offended | January 26, 2009, 1:53 am
  40. Offended,

    If you can’t understand how hypocrtical and how unrelated to reality your answers are, nothing can help you. Continue living in your fantasy world. Meanwhile, we will enjoy the Golan until you stop speaking about being a liberal and actually start acting like one.

    Posted by AIG | January 27, 2009, 1:19 am
  41. You’re wrong AIG, you will continue to ‘enjoy’ the Golan until the majority of Israelis come to understand their own reality as it is, not as their corrupt politicians try to tell them it is. Or until Syria becomes strong enough to convince the israeli public that they couldn’t afford to keep Golan without paying back with things as simple as their peace of mind and the peaceful future of the generations to come.

    Posted by offended | January 30, 2009, 8:50 am

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