Syria

Bashar al-Assad’s National Address Disappoints

As I expected, Bashar al-Assad’s speech today was completely reactionary and devoid of any bold conciliatory gestures…

Ok, so that’s not exactly what I expected. Let me be the first to admit that I was surprised by Bashar al-Assad’s disappointing (and, in my opinion, dangerously conservative) address to the Syrian people, earlier today. Rather than inaugurating a substantial step in the direction of reform — as many Syrians had been hoping he would do — Bashar offered only a few vague promises sprinkled in a bland stew of boilerplate pronouncements on Syrian unity and foreign conspiracies.

For other reactions to the speech, I suggest you check out the comment section of Joshua Landis’s blog, as well as his latest post. As in the case of QifaNabki‘s readership, the speech seems to have united both former supporters and critics of the regime (in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and beyond) in condemnation of Bashar.

See also this interesting video of a protester attacking Assad’s car following the speech (although I’m sure the Syrian state media will claim that she was throwing herself at his BMW in a gesture of adoration):

What happens next? It all depends, I would imagine, on whether a credible opposition can coalesce and gain momentum in Syria’s urban centers. If the demonstrations remain in far-flung places like Deraa, the regime may gradually suffocate them. But if they find their way to places like Homs, Hama, and Aleppo, then all bets are off.
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Discussion

163 thoughts on “Bashar al-Assad’s National Address Disappoints

  1. What a poor and miserable speech. So if his logic is that it’s an “external conspiracy” on Syria, why did the gov. resign and he presumably started to reform now? Shouldnt they hold strong and beat the external conspiracy without conceding!!

    Aside from the twisted logic, what’s up with cracking jokes and giggling at it like kids, and what’s up with MPs interrupting him on a regular basis to recite poems of admiration?

    Pathetic. The poor Syrian people dont deserve those clowns.

    Posted by Wael | March 30, 2011, 3:36 pm
  2. Let me for a moment get into a serial killer’s (Bashar’s head).
    In analyzing and sorting out what to do I would look at external and internal pressures.
    If I show weakness or reform the current dictatorial system; it would be the beginning of my downfall.
    External considerations: During the weekend Mrs. H. Clinton praised me as a reformist and that I have support from both sides of the House’s isles. Kerry is in love with my wife and visits me always. Pelosi likes the old Damascus Souk. I have been given the green light to act as I wish as Israel & USA feel more comfortable with my tyranny. The KSA & other tyrannical regimes still think they can separate me from Iran. Let’s let them hallucinate more. Therefore no concerns from the outside.

    Internally: So far the foreign media has shied away from reporting on my atrocities…Remember that Clinton thought that it was an overstepping of boundaries by the police…Tsk Tsk… MB will make my choices easier. If no secular or crystallized path and leadership is formed; I will kill their leaders or jail them all!

    Now I am getting pissed off with these protesters and Sunnis in particular and I will make them pay. I have advised my crack unit of bombers to start a series of assassinations or “security incidents” in Lebanon. To be on the safe side; I have decided to kill off a prominent HA operative. Now let’s see them maim and kill each other. I will call my coz Bibi and let him know that we will NOT initiate any disturbances on his frontier.

    Once I kill off most of the leaders and suppress the movement…I will visit Sarkoczy and announce that I have allowed CNN and other media to open offices in Syria and they can witness the calm and collected way my people follow me.

    Now who wants reforms?

    Posted by danny | March 30, 2011, 3:41 pm
  3. “Shouldnt they hold strong and beat the external conspiracy without conceding!!”

    We’ll leave that to the Kingdom’s of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

    Posted by tamer k. | March 30, 2011, 3:43 pm
  4. Assad is a moron and needs to join the “I got hit in the face by a shoe” club.

    The only class act here is that dear old lady.God bless her.

    Posted by Maverick | March 30, 2011, 4:29 pm
  5. im surprised he drives his own car. huh.

    Posted by Joe m. | March 30, 2011, 4:36 pm
  6. Danny,

    I think, sadly, that your depiction is probably not too far off from the truth of what’s going on in Assad’s head.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | March 30, 2011, 5:11 pm
  7. It’s funny to se the reactions here. What were you expecting him to do making concessions? most of you have still not understood what is going on in the arab world.
    The past few days proved without any doubt that Assad is in control of his country. No matter how many eye witness report Al 3briyya brings from Paris and human right activist talk from Washington the protest that were started did not take on period. At every corner Assad supporters dwarfed them. 200 demonstrators i damascus are not going to bring down the regime wake up and smell the roses. Even a few thousand in Latakia and Deraa will not work. Now once you muster a copy of Tahrir square in a major city then you can start talking about the youth and the downfall of the regime until then all you can do is wait.
    As for that Video and the woman. She might be spitting on him as i read on some other blog or whatever but what i see is a president that dared to walk out from the building surrounded by his body guards after a week of unrest and so called revolution. He stood meter away from the crowd waving at them for several minutes. Let me see Mubarak or Ben Ali or even the Prince/King in Bahrain or in the Emirates or the KSA do anything similar then come and talk to me about democracy and freedom of speech.
    This is the difference between Assad and the rest of the tyrants and it’s a fundamental difference.
    Now before some smart guy comes back by saying either that the crowd was carefully picked or that his security was in control of the area remember that lone woman got close enough to him and his car as we can see from the video posted.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 30, 2011, 5:38 pm
  8. QN,
    I believe that Bashar provided an answer to all those that expected him to be more daring and more of a reformer. “That would make the government look like an opportunist” and he is right. Meaningful reform is nothing more than opportunism and so it cannot be expected from him. He has had 11 years to try and reform the decaying system and he has always refused to do it.
    His best option, if he wants to play the role of a reformer, is to drive staright to the airport.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | March 30, 2011, 5:42 pm
  9. 7.elsheikh…Get off that potent stuff you are inhaling dude. How transparently ignorant are you?

    Posted by danny | March 30, 2011, 5:47 pm
  10. Danny

    1- name calling is what you expect from a sporter f Geagea as you seem to be. (by the way here’s a serial killer for you to apply your craft on)

    2- before you call me ignorant in a post without substance tell me what i said is wrong and i might answer you.

    3- all i see from your posts is a rabid hatred to Syria and probably all Syrians but nothing in terms of ideologie or beliefs.

    Ok you hoped that Bachar was toast i understand but it seems that did not work out. Same thing that happened in 2006 you hoped Israel will take care of HA and that also did not work so lick your wounds for now and go pout somewhere. Who knows maybe something will turn out that could Cheer you up.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 30, 2011, 5:55 pm
  11. LOL #9

    “It’s funny to se the reactions here. What were you expecting him to do making concessions? most of you have still not understood what is going on in the arab world.”
    please enlighten us with your repetitive rhetoric, just like Bashars brilliant speech.I think its you who doesnt get it yet, because your too blind to see the truth that Bashar is like any other dictator.
    really, no offense, sometimes I read your posts with intent, but that last post was a desperate plea to defend something that is beyond defending.Whatever it is you are fighting for I commend you, but your latching on to straws, and in no way am I defending Danny, but he couldnt have put it any better.

    Posted by Maverick | March 30, 2011, 6:10 pm
  12. It is always gratifying to find out what a single observer thinks of others on a particular platform:”most of you have still not understood what is going on in the arab world.” 🙂 Please enlighten us then . We are all ears or should I say eyes.

    More seriously elsheikh, I am of the opinion, as I might have stated before, that the Arab Spring is being gripped by a devastating frost that might be cold enough as to kill all buds thanks to Saudi Arabia and its 10 million barrels of oil.
    A world challenged by Peak oil cannot afford to start a fight with the only country that controls the only relative energy safety valve. The Saudis has destroyed Copenhagen, will make sure that no alternative fuel is produced by maintaining the market price below the switch price and will prevent the democratization of the Arab world at any cost since a democratic Arab world spells the end of the Saudi monarchy. It is as simple as that.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | March 30, 2011, 6:17 pm
  13. GK,

    Good observation.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | March 30, 2011, 6:34 pm
  14. BV,
    Were you away for a while? I hope all is well.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | March 30, 2011, 6:48 pm
  15. Maverick

    FYI I like defending the undefensible. My senior project at aub (debate class) I had the sorry job of defending saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. That was in 91 or 92 I wrote my will and acquited myself rather not bad (got an a also)
    You call Assad a tyrant . I might Agree or not but that is not the issue here. The issue is that the coup attempt on his regime was different from the popular revolution that deposed Mubarak or Ben Ali.
    I am not defending him or his regime but neither am I attacking any of them. I can find a lot of things I can post in his defense if I wanted to.
    Bachar is dealing with the attempt by doing all the opposite of the actions of Mubarak . Instead of cutting social media he opened it up. And instead of backing down and promoting one concession after the other he chose to stand his ground.
    He is not doing what everybody is expecting I for one think it’s brilliant

    Posted by Elsheikh | March 30, 2011, 6:53 pm
  16. This is No Conspiracy

    Thank G-d for Youtube.

    I watched a few clips from Bashar’s speech today, and I couldn’t get anything out of it except for the President-for-Life’s unusual hand gestures. But for the life of me, I couldn’t piece together what he was saying. Maybe it was the translation. The adoring audience was also something I wish we could emulate here in the USA.

    I then clicked of a few clips of his lovely wife, Asma. Her english was much better. Perfect. It is clear that from Ms. Assad, that the struggles facing the Arab world today, including Syria is the fault of Israeli aggression, especially the aggression Israel has perpetrated against the innocent Palestinians in Gaza. I hope you Israelis are listening:

    I also applaud the first lady on a wonderful, modern hairdo. I like the high-lights.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 30, 2011, 7:14 pm
  17. Elsheik, in defending Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, did you “draw upon” the arguments of former US President Jimmy Carter?
    I remember him giving a very compelling set of arguments – not for the violent invasion – but for the instigation and aggression by Kuwait against the interests of Iraq, explaining without justifying a level of frustration that led to the invasion.

    On the other hand, your opinion of Pres. Assad’s maneuver is quite interesting. You say “I for one think it’s brilliant.”
    In a way, you might be right. I say this because, depending on the principles Pres. Assad believes in and the options that to him are acceptable, one would have to reconcile with the fact that what to his critics and supporters might seem like a favorable and reasonable course of action to begin implementing true reform and, at last, modernizing Syria and bringing it into the modern age, might seem to him as a path towards a worthless life where, without the kind of power he now wields, there would be nothing to live for. If that indeed is his belief then, sure, “it’s brilliant” to stand your ground and hold on to power at all cost. To hell the people and democracy and modernization. As long as he has his BMer and as long as US Congressmen and Senators are willing to come and pay visits and as long as Sec’y Clinton calls him a reformer an as long as his family is put forth to the world as one to admire for its beauty and education, why change and risk losing it all?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 30, 2011, 7:18 pm
  18. AP what is the date of that interview?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 30, 2011, 7:23 pm
  19. #15

    “He is not doing what everybody is expecting I for one [ and the only one] think it’s brilliant”
    In brackets, my own.

    you are stubborn! good for you man, long live the brilliant Syrian leader. I should revise my opinion of Dubya then.

    Posted by Maverick | March 30, 2011, 7:39 pm
  20. I just did a search. It says “2 years ago”…

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=asma+assad&aq=f

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 30, 2011, 7:49 pm
  21. While you were all watching Syria and Assad, The Resistance were the only ones protecting Lebanon. That is why they are the ones entitled to bear arms in Lebanon’s defense.

    Posted by dontgetit | March 30, 2011, 8:05 pm
  22. “most of you have still not understood what is going on in the arab world.”

    Today Bashar told us what is ‘actually’ going on in he Arab World!!! Believe or not! He ‘accurately’ observed in his speech that the Arab World is witnessing a صرعة these days!!! You know what صرعة means? What makes you think you’re privy to information that your patron in Damascus does not know better than you do or he is not ‘forthcoming’ enough to teach the ‘ignorants’ among us?

    So why do you assume we do not know especially after it has been revealed to us just today straight from the source?

    It looks to me that your debating prowess depends solely on empty rhetoric. We also know that aub after the war has turned into the den for failures. So what exactly are you trying to tell us? You are an ‘A’ failure? Or are you suffering from a brain صرعة?

    Posted by anonymous | March 30, 2011, 8:07 pm
  23. Dontgetit,

    Did you also graduate from the AUB debate class of 91?
    “While you were all watching Syria and Assad, The Resistance were the only ones protecting Lebanon.[From the Lebanese] That is why they are the ones entitled to bear arms in Lebanon’s defence.[against the Lebanese].
    In brackets, my own.

    This is so much fun, keep em coming.

    Posted by Maverick | March 30, 2011, 8:35 pm
  24. Assad’s Alawite army still calls all the shots

    By Robert Baer

    Published: March 30 2011 22:50 | Last updated: March 30 2011 22:50

    As President Bashar al-Assad’s regime tries to cope with growing unrest and protests throughout much of Syria, he will almost inevitably have to rely on his army to take a wider role in attempts to restore order. But we should not make the mistake of thinking that Syria is about to follow the path of Egypt. Unlike Egypt, few Syrians look at the army as a benign institution. Rather, it is as a palace guard, meant to keep the ruling Alawite sect in power.

    The Alawites, an offshoot of Shia Islam, represent about 11 per cent of the population. It is only thanks to their control of the army (and intelligence services) that they keep their grip on Syria. So no matter how bad things become, Syrians would never trust them to oversee any reform, let alone democratisation.

    When I was working in Syria in the 1980s, a Syrian officer offered me an insight into the reality of the country’s army. One night not long after the 1973 war, the officer was up late into the night keeping previous president Hafiz al-Assad company. Around three, he watched Assad as he picked up the phone from the side table and asked his operator to put him through to a frontline post on the Israeli border. A lieutenant came on the phone, sleepy and irritated that he had been woken up.

    Assad asked him his name. Rather than answering, the lieutenant asked who his caller was. When Assad told him, the lieutenant naturally enough lost his composure and could only stammer his name. He became even more confused when Assad started to ask the lieutenant about his family and village, knowing all the names of his brothers. “Assad had no idea who would be on duty that night,” the Syrian officer told me. “But it is the very reason Assad has so tightly held on to power all these years. It was his army.”

    Assad made it a habit to read every officer’s file, committing their personal details to memory. He also personally approved transfers and promotions. But more importantly, Assad instituted an unwritten rule that every large combat unit would be under the command of an Alawite officer. There would still be Sunni commanders, but in name only. They would have no real power over their units and were not permitted to put a single aircraft into the air or drive a tank out of cantonment – without the authority of the ranking Alawite. The Alawite officers were related either by blood or bonds of loyalty that could never be broken.

    Assad’s son, having become his successor, has shown few of his father’s sharp political instincts but he has had the good sense to leave his father’s military system in place. Like every other Alawite, he understood that this is a matter of survival for his sect and his hold on power these last 10 years has depended on it.

    Over the weekend an Alawite with ties to the Assad family messaged me in frustration about how little the west understands about Syria, what is at stake and how far the Alawites will go to hold on to power. He said the police in Dara’a – the town where the first demonstration started – had fired on the crowd in order to protect the lives of Alawites. At the same time he was worried that things might go too far. The hardliners around Mr Assad say that the Alawites cannot afford to make concessions to the street. If they do so they risk being forced from power. Only decisive and unanswerable force will work, as history has shown.

    In February 1982, the Muslim Brotherhood seized Hama, Syria’s fourth largest city. For several days Mr Assad’s father hesitated on how to respond. But when he heard that dozens of Alawites had been massacred, without a second thought, he ordered the army to shell the town. His commanders were told to spare no one in putting down the revolt.

    I visited Hama one year later, seeing for myself how Assad’s artillery had all but removed the town from the earth. The Alawites I talked to were not happy, but they believed that the Sunni rebellion was snuffed out only thanks to the regime’s violent reprisal. Then, just as today, the Alawites recognised it was the Alawite-led army that safeguarded their survival.

    There is no way to predict whether Mr Assad has the stomach for another Hama, or for that matter, whether things will get bad enough for him to consider it. But the one certainty is that if he and the Alawites are forced from power, Syria will not have an army to fill the vacuum. And then the question becomes whether or not the west intervenes to stop a civil war.

    Only a fool would predict what is coming next in the Middle East. But if Hama is any guide, the potential for violence in Syria makes Libya and Yemen look mild. Moreover, chances are good that chaos in Syria risks spilling into neighbouring countries – notably Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and maybe even the Arab side of the Gulf, which is already riven by sectarian divisions. This is a worst-case scenario, but the point is if it comes about, there will be no way the west could just stand by and hope for the best.

    The writer is a former CIA operative in the Middle East

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 30, 2011, 9:25 pm
  25. Maverick

    what is your opinion of W? I would be interested to know. I’ll be upfront by saying i was hoping for him to win both times. The second one was reluctantly but you said i am very stubborn….

    Ghassan i agree with some of what you said however you give too much credit to the Saudi’s they are mere tools and it’s their masters that are pulling the strings and yes they are trying to coopt the revolutions in the Arab world (starting from Egypt).
    The military commanders are trying to maintain a level of political continuity with the old regime. However they are being forced into concessions. Look at the new foreign minister. His recent statements about Iran and the Gaza strip were very different from what you heard from Mubarak.
    There are two sides in this conflict one who is siding with the US and Israel and another siding against it, Like Jumblat in Lebanon Egypt (the people) moved from one side to the other, now they are trying to play the wasattiey game that Walid played between 2008-2011.. Until he was forced to take sides. It’s the same thing on a bigger stage.

    HP really `what are talking about Modernization and democracy and so on?? you really claim that you are telling us what Assad is thinking? or what are his intentions? It looks to me that you want to hold him to a higher degree of accountability than anybody else. Where is the leader that does not have blood on his hand/ Give me a country were corruption is not rampant, where is that Utopia that several of you are talking about?

    Syria has been under economic sanctions directly and indirectly for decades now. However Syria has no international debt, education is free, they have a universal health care system, Fuel is subsidized and basic necessities are available. Syria is the world leader in accepting refugees (with minimal help from the international community).It’s a secular country where all minorities are living together, It’s still one of the few places in the middle east with a Jewish presence. Christians and Moslems practice openly and without fear.
    what is it that Syria must do in order to gain the approval of everybody?

    Posted by elsheikh | March 30, 2011, 9:28 pm
  26. Wet Noodles on the Potomac

    But if Hama is any guide, the potential for violence in Syria makes Libya and Yemen look mild.

    QN,

    Interesting article. Luckily for us Americans, we have President Obama to rely on. q:o)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 30, 2011, 9:50 pm
  27. Somebody Pinch Me

    It’s still one of the few places in the middle east with a Jewish presence

    elsheikh,

    You call 25 elderly Jews in Syria a “Jewish Presence”?

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

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 30, 2011, 9:53 pm
  28. In light of Baer’s article in #24, my comment in #18 (second part, the one about Pres. Assad) was right on!

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 30, 2011, 10:12 pm
  29. Make that #17

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 30, 2011, 10:13 pm
  30. Elsheikh, @25, yes, I do hold Pres. Assad to a higher standard than, say, Qadhdhafi, or the King of Saudi Arabia. Not to a higher standard than the King of Jordan. Assad and King Abdullah II are highly educated and experienced in Western democracies. Along with their post a responsibility is expected to expend all they can, even sacrifice their life to the true betterment of their country and countrymen.
    Here I go again, waxing romantically…
    Democracy with no corruption (and when it’s there, accountability and prosecution and conviction) you ask? U.S.A. anyone? France anyone? The U.K. anyone?
    The question is NOT where is perfection. The question is where is the best (or least bad) system possible.
    You almost seem like you want to justify corruption because “everyone does it” ????
    Say you’re not. I prefer not to think that about you.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 30, 2011, 10:19 pm
  31. I just finished reading the main post and the comment section of Syriacomment as Qifa recommended. I was completely shocked by the type of comments that are being exchanged in that forum. I assume most of the particpants are Syrians. Comparing our (Lebanese) sectarianism to what they have simmering under the surface in Syria, we are ‘angels’. Or it could be that we may have learned few lessons and adapted to its reality. For some reason we seem to have become accustomed to talk about it as objectively as it can be talked about.

    The CIA operative seems to present a very accurate perspective of the social and political landscape of Syria. He also proves that the current regime is inherently incapable of producing any meaningful reforms.

    Posted by anonymous | March 30, 2011, 10:21 pm
  32. “what is it that Syria must do in order to gain the approval of everybody?”

    Where does one start?!?

    But what would impress me is, if , just for a start, just so I can say maybe ,maybe there is going to be change in Stagnant Syria is, if, that moron takes down oversized billboards of his portraits down from every hotel/building/town square across Syria.
    All the other big word mechanisms like nepotism,meritocracy,crony capitalism,iron-fist rule, can stand in line…as you said, there is no utopia, but at least change his attitude in slightly giving a f#@k about the Syrian people and not only his own clan.

    Posted by Maverick | March 30, 2011, 11:05 pm
  33. lol. umm kind of the complete opposite of what you said you anticipated. Anyhow, now you know why Rime refused to give any predictions.

    Posted by Zenobia | March 30, 2011, 11:45 pm
  34. That CIA operative article above kinda confirmed exactly the points I made in yesterday’s threads. Unlike Egypt or Tunisia, the military is, for all intents and purposes, a direct extension of Assad.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | March 31, 2011, 12:23 am
  35. Baer is right and wrong at the same time. Yes, the commanders that count are Alawites, but since they are only 11% of the population, the Syrian army average conscript is the poor Sunni from the countryside or small town who can’t bribe himself out of the army. There are a few important units Bashar can count on to shoot other Syrians. But I think it is a stretch to extend that to the whole Syrian army. Baer is right though that the Syrian army cannot be an alternative to the regime like the Egyptian army nor do Syrians consider it a clean and impartial entity.

    Posted by AIG | March 31, 2011, 12:55 am
  36. ‘…. And then the question becomes whether or not the west intervenes to stop a civil war….”

    The West has neither the will nor the means to actively engage in internal strife in a country like Syria. Iraq proved the limit of the West and the US endurance and will to sustain inevitable casualties when it comes to ground battles. Their tolerance level is unrealistically absolute zero casualties. Air power is of no use in street battles.
    The Libyan farce is another proof of the West’s inability and disarray.

    In a civil war scenario, neighbouring countries will find themselves drawn into it. The Saudis may buy loyalties here and there and recruit groups to fight on their behalf, but aside from their GCC concerns they will not be willing to commit any of their own troops.

    Turkey will not hesitate to show resolve if and when things deteriorate into a civil war scenario. It has too much at stake considering the situation in Iraq. It is very likely the West will eventually appoint Turkey as the administrative regional power which would also serve to counter the Iranian encroachments. The current Syrian regime is obliged by nature to always seek ‘legitimacy’ for its rule outside its borders, overlooking the needs of its citizens in return for its own survival, and that is the only reason for its alignment with Iran, which was elevated to strategic alignment by Assad Sr. and is faithfully adhered to by the Jr.

    Could it so happen that on the eve of the centennial of its departure from the area, Turkey will re-emerge to fill up the vacuum that was created by its departure? Ironically, if it happens, it will happen with the blessings of the West which sought its disintegration in the first place.

    Posted by anonymous | March 31, 2011, 1:29 am
  37. “The hardliners around Mr Assad say that the Alawites cannot afford to make concessions to the street. If they do so they risk being forced from power.”

    Does this mean Bashar has an absolute power?

    Posted by Badr | March 31, 2011, 4:29 am
  38. The Myth of Sunni Power…

    Despite the noisy rhetoric…I’m afraid that the US and Israel have been betting on the other side, ever since the 1979 Revolution…, hence the soft attitude towards the Assad Assassins in Syria, and the configuration of the infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant… Now, given ALL what’s happening in MENA and beyond…they will be both tempted to ally themselves with the MBs in certain countries…. Typical attitude, and double talk as usual…coupled with some pressure here or there to meet certain immediate Western Goals.

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-myth-sunni-power-5076

    http://newhk.blogspot.com/2009/03/cia-had-long-maintained-association.html

    http://echkelon.blogspot.com/2009/04/other-four-larijani-brothers.html

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 4:56 am
  39. I predicted before that a devastating strike against HA in the planning. Here’s an “augur”:

    From the Washington Post:

    Israel releases army map showing nearly 1,000 purported Hezbollah underground military sites

    By Associated Press, Thursday, March 31, 4:33 AM JERUSALEM —

    The Israeli military on Thursday released a map detailing what it says are nearly 1,000 underground bunkers, weapons storage facilities and monitoring sites built by the militant Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
    Many of the sites on the map are located south of the Litani River in Lebanon, the zone where Hezbollah is banned from keeping weapons under the U.N.-sponsored truce that ended Israel’s summer 2006 war with the guerrilla group.
    The military says Hezbollah has set up some 550 bunkers, 300 monitoring sites and 100 weapons storage facilities. Military officials would offer no other comment.

    The militant group, which controls the strongest armed force in Lebanon, accused Israel of employing scare tactics.
    “They are trying to tell us that they will destroy Lebanon. Let them do it if they can and I tell them they cannot,” said Khodr Noureddine, a member of Hezbollah’s political bureau.
    He speculated that Israel might have released the map because Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, told the group last month to be prepared to invade northern Israel if a new war between the two sides breaks out.
    Israel has for years accused Hezbollah of rearming with the help of Iran and Syria, setting up “rocket villages” in southern Lebanon.
    The militant group sent nearly 4,000 rockets crashing into northern Israel during the 2006 war, using up much of its estimated stockpile. But Israel says Hezbollah has since replenished its arms stores with even more powerful weapons.
    The Israel-Lebanon border has been tense but largely quiet since the war, which killed around 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis, according to official counts from each side.
    ____
    Bassem Mroue contributed to this report from Beirut.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 31, 2011, 5:05 am
  40. HP, it’s hogwash and part and parcel of usual empty rhetoric, disinformation and PsyOps.
    There won’t be any War in Lebanon…except some probable moves by the Infamous White House Murder INC,…long in planning…

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 5:09 am
  41. I hope you’re right-hand HK.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 31, 2011, 5:14 am
  42. A war on social justice and democracy became “US foreign policy” since 1996 and the advent of the PNAC killers…and it seems to be still ongoing in stealth with Obama… a pure product of CIA machinations…

    As the Washington historian William Blum has documented, since 1945, the US has destroyed or subverted more than 50 governments, many of them democracies, and used the Infamous White House Murder INC, together with mass murderers like Assad, Suharto, Mobutu and Pinochet to dominate by proxy… In the Middle East, every dictatorship and pseudo-monarchy has been sustained by America. In “Operation Cyclone”, the CIA and MI6 secretly fostered and bank-rolled Islamic extremism. The object was to smash or deter nationalism and democracy… The victims of this western state terrorism have been mostly Muslims… The courageous people gunned down last week in Bahrain, Syria and Libya, the latter a “priority UK market”, according to Britain’s official arms “procurers”, join those children blown to bits in Lebanon in 2006, and Gaza in 2008 by the latest American F-16 aircraft and other despicable weapon systems….

    The revolt in the Arab world is not merely against a resident dictator but a worldwide economic tyranny designed by the US Treasury and imposed by the US Agency for International Development/CIA, the IMF and World Bank, which have ensured that rich countries like Egypt are reduced to vast sweatshops, with half the population earning less than $2 a day. The people’s triumph in Cairo was the first blow against what Benito Mussolini called corporatism, a word that appears in his definition of fascism…

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 5:25 am
  43. 10 things to learn from Japan after the recent natural calamity that country faced and how it dealt with it?

    1. THE CALM
    Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.

    2. THE DIGNITY
    Disciplined queues for water and groceries. No looting and irrational complaining. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.

    3. THE ABILITY
    The incredible architectures, for instance: Tall Buildings swayed but didn’t fall. Earthquake proof building codes are strictly enforced and followed.

    4. THE GRACE
    People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something. No reports of hoarding or inflating the prices

    5. THE ORDER
    No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding and consideration for fellow human being.

    6. THE SACRIFICE
    Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors fully aware that they were risking their lives. How will they ever be repaid?

    7. THE TENDERNESS
    Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.

    8. THE TRAINING
    The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.

    9. THE MEDIA
    They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. No stupid and childish comments. No exploitation of human tragedy for raising TRPs. Only calm reportage.

    10. THE CONSCIENCE
    When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly…

    We are all Japanese.

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 5:44 am
  44. best thing I’ve seen you post HK.
    That was moving….and no mention of white house murder inc.

    I guess Japans culture as weve seen from the earthquake aftermath was the motivation and drive of the miracle economy of the postwar era. It is cooperation and and an altruistic collective ambition that fueled the powerhouse economy. something Arabs can all learn from.

    Posted by maverick | March 31, 2011, 7:04 am
  45. HK,

    You forgot 11.:

    11. THE LACK OF CONSPIRACY

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 31, 2011, 7:11 am
  46. Syria’s people should shake the Horror House That the Assads Built. Nothing could be more salutary than to see that awful, bloodstained dungeon and the infamous Asef Shawkat come tumbling down at last…and by ricochet the odious White House Murder INC, will be utterly destabilized…

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 7:40 am
  47. Assad boy is a puppet of his late dad’s gestapo.
    He only does and says what pleases them.
    Just cut the strings moving this puppet and witness the collapse of Damas regime.

    Posted by James Howe | March 31, 2011, 8:22 am
  48. “Whenever I hear the words “conspiracy theory” it usually means someone is getting too close to the truth.”….

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 9:08 am
  49. HK,

    Yes, like 9-11. Everything bad that happens to us is due to some mysterious clandestine force, despite the evidence against it.

    There are three main areas that enhance the conditions in which conspiracy theories flourish; these are historical, ideological, and state-society drivers. Gray argued that agreement on certain historical narratives can build a support network between the conspiracy theorist and the receiver. “History is important for laying the foundations of a conspiracy theory” and allows for a reappraisal of historical values and impacts and thus is a means of political engagement.

    Ideology is a second main driver for conspiracy theories in Gray’s view. He explained that ideologies such as state-led development, Arab socialism, Arab nationalism, democracy, and Islamism, have failed to capture the imagination of the majority of people and, so, in the absence of a compelling ideology, conspiracy theories are rife.

    The third factor revolves around problems in the state-society relationship in the Arab World. Gray described the Middle East as a place where opaque governing structures operate at the elite level of politics. It is an area where complicated bureaucratic networks and repressive state institutions often thrive. Under these conditions, Gray noted that “societies have trouble understanding how people in power operate” and this fosters the perfect environment for conspiracy theories to emerge.

    http://cirs.georgetown.edu/136330.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 31, 2011, 9:21 am
  50. “Definition—Conspiracy Theory: any conclusion in the context of any topic that 60 Minutes and the MSM don’t want mentioned, discussed, or researched….”

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 9:59 am
  51. conspiracy theory 
    –noun

    1. a theory that explains an event as being the result of a plot by a covert group or organization; a belief that a particular unexplained event was caused by such a group.

    2. the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/conspiracy+theory

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 31, 2011, 10:34 am
  52. On MENA, “comprehensive peace” and Beyond.
    We may very well have the means….
    Unfortunately we don’t have the leadership….
    We have a lumbering brain dead bureaucracy under an executive of academics and narcissistic schemers.
    The mess that has developed since 1996 and got worse every year, is appalling and largely attributable to utter lack of Leadership….

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 12:02 pm
  53. Some commenters seem to think that the having the dictator graduate from Harvard or grow up in a Swiss boarding school somehow ‘imprints’ him with Western values and a thirst for true democracy.

    There is no reason for that to happen, hell a significant part of the citizens in well established democratic countries are completly clueless on what the word really means.

    Wanting to be modern and own an ipad doesn’t make you a spectre of human rights.

    Posted by G | March 31, 2011, 12:38 pm
  54. There is no conflict about Assad the assassin, they know very well that he is a repressive thug. For now, at least, the Obama administration is content to give him a free pass…. One has to wonder what he did to deserve it….?
    Answer: The infamous White House Murder INC, starting in January 24th 2002, ending Feb. 12th 2008, for now….and soon enough, there will be further demands put forth to Asef Shawkat the Murderer in Chief.

    Posted by HK | March 31, 2011, 1:01 pm
  55. I have to admit the Assad regime played it pretty smart.

    They held a massive pro-Assad rally the day before the speech … then a smiling, confident and calm Assad chillingly informed his Syrian minions that the “foreign” anti-regime protestors will be held accountable for destabilizing Syria’s security.

    He’s made it “grinningly” clear to Syrians that an uprising will be dealt with brutally. And they better be prepared to sacrifice their lives for this foreign agenda.

    He will not allow the Syrians to grow any bolder than they have … and will eliminate and jail those few hardcore protestors that will dare defy him after Friday prayers tomorrow.

    Posted by R2D2 | March 31, 2011, 1:19 pm
  56. There is no conflict about Assad the assassin, they know very well that he is a repressive thug.

    HK,

    Just to be clear, which Arab “democracy” is more answerable to their OWN POPULATION than the “infamous White House Murder INC”?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 31, 2011, 1:33 pm
  57. Bashar “is” considered a reformer by the majority of the middle and upper class Syrians that sprouted in Syria under his rule in the last 10 years.

    Under his father, Syrians had to humiliatingly travel to Lebanon to buy bananas, toothpaste and toilet paper … instead of having using newspaper to wipe their asses.

    Syria, under Jr. did make a significant leap forwards into the modern world, albeit sanctions on Syria for opposing the state of Israel.

    Posted by R2D2 | March 31, 2011, 2:12 pm
  58. R2D2,

    Here’s how he wants to eliminate protests!
    Sham News Network: Syrian security forces will deploy tomorrow at the gates of the mosques and anyone not carrying an ID will be denied entry. Troops will seize IDs and give them back one hour after the prayers.

    Posted by danny | March 31, 2011, 2:16 pm
  59. I am absolutely and maybe a bit relieved that the Syrian uprising has not become a Sunni vs Allawite sectarian fight, but I do fear it will turn into one soon enough.

    Democracy is definitely the victim whenever sectarian interests are put first.

    Its funny how both sides like to blame the US for all of their problems.

    “This is all within the framework of a US plan to create a vast Shia state loyal to Iran in the Gulf and in Iraq.”

    http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/381841

    “Saudi Arabia knows better than any other country that playing with fire in the sensitive Middle East region will not be in their interests,” said the commission in a Thursday statement regarding the ongoing developments in the region.

    “Instead of pursuing US policies in the region, Saudi Arabia had better think about its own interests and the Muslim world and take steps to pull out its forces from Bahrain in order to establish peace and security in the region and refrain from adding to complications,” it added.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172427.html

    Posted by tamer k. | March 31, 2011, 2:33 pm
  60. The absence of a modern, secular, democratic government will have Lebanese scrambling to whatever sect they believe will ensure their safety and security.

    Be it Saudis, Iranians, Israelis or Syrians.

    Posted by R2D2 | March 31, 2011, 3:15 pm
  61. The Assads used the stupid Lebanese to wage their wars against Israel for over 3 decades and the Syrians are thankful for it.

    Posted by R2D2 | March 31, 2011, 3:51 pm
  62. R2D2 60:

    Isn’t that what’s already happened for 50 years?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | March 31, 2011, 5:07 pm
  63. The Assads are really missing the Lebanese cash cow right now.

    Any talk of economic reform is nonsense.What long term strategy whether state controlled or market rational can survive along side chronic corruption and arbitrary decision making. Coffee drinking chain smoking middle managers who slap employees whenever they feel like it.
    Face it Hillary, Obama et al.You’re lying to the people when you expect Assad to reform.
    Any talk of economic reform should be preceded by political reform and thats not going to happen when the regime still throws youngsters in jail with no trial for anti-regime graffiti.
    Blad l Sham, what a sham indeed.

    Posted by Maverick | April 1, 2011, 12:00 am
  64. The Real Murder Inc.

    HK,

    This article is for you. No conspiracy theories, just another evil person who was willing to murder his own fiance and his unborn child…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12039513

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 1, 2011, 6:43 am
  65. There are conflicting reports that a prominent member of the Assad clan (Maher?) was apparently shot dead, point blank, by a member of his own security force.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 1, 2011, 3:04 pm
  66. Sheet … no takers on April’s fools day on this blog.

    I guess QN’s choice of Bashar’s passport photo on this post didn’t help much 🙂

    Posted by R2D2 | April 1, 2011, 4:15 pm
  67. 65;
    let him rot in hell

    Posted by HK | April 1, 2011, 4:22 pm
  68. Posted by anonymous | April 1, 2011, 9:04 pm
  69. More people were killed today in Syria. At least 10 demostrators fell at the hands of the ‘great reformer’ of Syria according to some news agencies (AFP and others). The demonstrations were not limited to Der’a as the regime propagandists are trying to spin, implying a localized uprissing in a border town. There were demonstrations in Damascus, Hama, Deyr Ezzor, Homs, Latakia, Der’a of course and many other towns. Here’s one clip from the Homs demonstration,

    Posted by anonymous | April 1, 2011, 11:03 pm
  70. Who is Nasrallah going to quote next…as it seems Goldstone has repudiated his own report…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-report-on-israel-and-war-crimes/2011/04/01/AFg111JC_story.html

    Posted by danny | April 3, 2011, 9:22 am
  71. Good article:

    “Goldstone the useful idiot”:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4051189,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 3, 2011, 11:42 am
  72. Champress revealed the detailed plan of the ‘conspiracy’ which ‘has been in the works since 2008’,

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/why-did-website-linked-to-syria-regime-publish-u-s-saudi-plan-to-oust-assad-1.352809

    And for those mischievous doubters ‘clearly’ described in ‘the revealed plot’, the ‘reforms’ have started already and the pace is gathering speed: Internet and cellphones are now down in Syria.

    Posted by anonymous | April 3, 2011, 11:55 am
  73. People do love their conspiracy theories.
    Would it be so hard, just once, for people to accept that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck?
    Why are Arabs (more than others) so hellbent on denying the truth when it stares them in the face, opting instead to concoct bizarre theories that are often self-contradictory?
    Oftentimes, things are just what they seem to be. I’d say that is the case 9 times out of 10.
    But no, in the Arab world, if it rains, it’s not the natural progression of the seasons, it is instead some weather-changing satellites, deployed by the CIA to mess up the crops. If the sun shines, it is because the Israelis are making it do so, in order to bring drought, etc.

    Drives me nuts.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 3, 2011, 2:27 pm
  74. Zionist pressure on Goldstone must have been unbearable and he was forced to “walk away” from some of the conclusions in his report the U.S. and “israel” didn’t like . If he wants to be safe from this sort of bullying, he knows The Resistance is probably the only place he can turn for honest protection. They have kept Lebanon safe from the Zionists and protected her honour, and they can do the same for Goldstone. (Notice that yet another day has gone by with Lebanon safe under the protection of the Hizbollah’s arms.)

    Posted by dontgetit | April 3, 2011, 2:52 pm
  75. dontgetit,

    What “unbearable” pressure are you talking about? Chinese water torture? Electric shocks? Please provide a link.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 3, 2011, 3:27 pm
  76. Yes. Lebanon is safe…*eyeroll*

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 3, 2011, 4:24 pm
  77. I think dontgetit is just a mischievous jokester. He says all this while wallowing in uncontrolled laughter. Anyone has any other explanation?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | April 3, 2011, 4:29 pm
  78. Another day passes where we should thank dontgetit and Hezballah for keeping Bashar in place to stuff his family and friend’s pockets with money while the a million Syrians have to slaver for 20,000 LL a day … if they are lucky! … to help us out in our daily endeavors in Lebanon.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 3, 2011, 4:35 pm
  79. dontgetit,

    Those Syrians that work for 20,000 LL a day would rather work for free and a half decent meal for their families … than carry a gun for $3,000 a month, which is the average going rate of a Hizbi militia goon.

    Go suck on a lemon, you p***k!

    Sorry for the foul language on this blog.

    Enough is enough!

    Posted by R2D2 | April 3, 2011, 4:56 pm
  80. For $3000 a month the guy must be more than real.

    On the other hand, Mrs. Clinton, the State department and the CIA can save a lot of money and efforts by simply keeping a link to Champress on their desktops. I would even further go on to say the link would be more useful than having a US embassy in Damascus. The media, useless as a source of reliable news, reveals exactly what goes on in the minds of the Syrian dictator and his team of ‘mukhabarat’. The story of Champress appeared, while Bashar was in hiding, two days before he made his speech and was a ‘necessary’ rehearsal leading up to his reapperance and ‘dazzle’ the ‘people’s assembly’. Had Mrs. Clinton read that story, she probably would have doubted the judgement of those US law makers who have been busy flying back and forth to Damas hoping to convert the dead.
    The Brits, on the other hand, seem to have concluded that after all Bashar IS the hardliner HIMSELF, and the story sold to Westerners was no more than a ploy,

    http://www.14march.org/news-details.php?nid=Mjg2NDk3

    Posted by anonymous | April 3, 2011, 5:30 pm
  81. HP gets it 🙂
    I will now return to my originally scheduled personality.

    Posted by dontgetit | April 3, 2011, 6:34 pm
  82. What does HP get? I dontgetit: D

    Posted by danny | April 3, 2011, 6:36 pm
  83. What does HP get? I dontgetit:D

    Posted by danny | April 3, 2011, 6:37 pm
  84. HP,

    So how do you like Obama’s “leadership” against Gad-fly??

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 3, 2011, 7:40 pm
  85. Saudi Arabia has oil. Israel has “antiquity”, and Bedouin trucker Hassan Saida just won “the Lotto”…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372741/Hidden-cave-First-portrait-Jesus-1-70-ancient-books.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 3, 2011, 7:43 pm
  86. Turkey is making its stand clear, unlike the clueless US and the West in general. No one is positioned to benefit most of this ‘Arab spring’ than the Turks and especially the AKP. I am more than convinced that at the right moment Turkey will move and make it a fait accompli. Erdogan can easily call the bluff of Bashar’s claims to popularity within Syria and much of the Arab world if Bashar really has any popular credibility. With its experience, the AKP is positioning itself to provide the guidance for the Arab revolutions,

    http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=1813&ChannelId=42631&ArticleId=373&Author=محمد نور الدين

    When the Arab delegation to the peace conference in Paris discovered first hand the duplicity of the allies in their dealings with the Arabs in order to benefit from their revolt, the head of the Arab delegation prophesied in the conference that such duplicity would last a 100 year or so.

    We may be witnessing the fulfilment of such prophecy.

    Posted by anonymous | April 3, 2011, 8:49 pm
  87. AP, haven’t been following Obama on Gadhdhafi lately (or Gad-fly as you call him [I tried guessing but not sure what the compound name means]). What has he been saying?

    I do know that he’s been criticized both for not acting early enough and decisively enough by some and for going too far and over-committing by others. While not a blind supporter of the President I often find that he follows a wise middle line. David Gergen, whom I respect tremendously, seems to agree.

    Now, maybe there are some recent pronouncements that call for a different opinion. In that case could you point to some of what prompts your comments?

    I have to say that it is a rather sad state of affairs when dictators last so many decades in some Arab countries. Clearly a transformation is taking place throughout the area but, learning from history, these do take time, so that we may not have the satisfaction of seeing any rapid conclusion to any of them.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | April 3, 2011, 10:17 pm
  88. Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujaheddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would….

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

    Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea… It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire…..

    Posted by HK | April 4, 2011, 10:05 am
  89. The US is rapidly turning into a paper tiger

    It was Cicero who said money forms the sinews of war …. and for the U.S. and the EU; except for Germany…the cupboard is dry …. filled only with IOU notes for future debt repayments. Will this impact future U.S. military procurement, budgets, war strategy; diplomacy; and other actions …. hell … it is having an impact right now. The UK RAF is running out of cash; and the Frenchy are running out of spare parts and missiles….

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/we-can-no-longer-rely-on-debt-laden-us/story-e6frg6ux-1226032244104

    Posted by HK | April 4, 2011, 10:46 am
  90. Solidarity in Resistance: Middle East Revolutions Strengthen Hezbollah

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD05Ak01.html

    Sorry; the other link somehow did not work!

    Posted by HK | April 4, 2011, 12:18 pm
  91. HK,

    Do you the reason why Hezbollah won’t integrate with the Lebanese army?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 4, 2011, 1:10 pm
  92. typo: ADD – “know” the reason

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 4, 2011, 1:10 pm
  93. Why are no news channels carrying this?

    This was Douma today.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 4:45 pm
  94. Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 4:46 pm
  95. Interesting editing …

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 5:02 pm
  96. This is going to chill the spines of quite a few Americans, I suppose:

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/egypt-ready-to-open-new-page-in-relations-with-iran-1.354074

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 5:28 pm
  97. 95-97 Dude why are you surprised? I mentioned several times that the Clinton Carte Blanche was the most blatant hypocrisy ever!!!It would be very easy for CNN or BBC to air these clips. However; they might be assisting in the fall of the butcher of Damascus…and that would be AGAINST the interests of Israel & USA and the other dictators of the Arab world especially 10 million barrel headache!

    Posted by danny | April 4, 2011, 5:32 pm
  98. AIG + Co.

    I guess the Haaretz article is as potent a message by Egyptians to Israel as any.

    What’s the mood in Israel these days?

    Israelis still standing by their Prime Minister and the other Hawks they elected into Govt?

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 5:40 pm
  99. danny,

    I sent the videos to all of them.

    CNN, BBC, Jazeera and to all the correspondents covering the events in the region.

    I guess the news channels are spread thin with the multitude of events going on worldwide. It’s crazy!

    Hala Ghorani will be the first to react to them.

    Let’s see tomorrow.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 5:52 pm
  100. R2D2,

    What message exactly? In what way is this going to make a difference? Egypt is an almost bankrupt backward country that can’t fight Israel before this “message” and after this “message”. The people who should be worried in fact are the Egyptians. The murderers of Sadat have been released, the Egyptian government does not care anymore that there are streets named after them in Tehran and Qaradawi is the leading opinion maker in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood will take 30% of the parliament (they are limiting themselves 🙂 ) with other religious parties taking additional seats and will be the major influence in writing the new Egyptian constitution that will be based on Sharia law. Watching Egypt now is like watching a car crash in slow motion. Quite sad but quite predictable.

    Posted by AIG | April 4, 2011, 5:54 pm
  101. Oh … and I sent them to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama too.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 5:55 pm
  102. Well, it’s definitely a message to Saudi Arabia too … don’t you think?

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 6:02 pm
  103. I believe Egypt is eyeing the Turkish secular model, AIG.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 6:04 pm
  104. R2D2,

    Egypt needs Saudi investment badly for its economy. The Egyptian politicians are grandstanding for elections.

    The Turkish constitution is not based on Sharia. The Egyptian one will be. It took decades for the Turkish system to stabilize and its Muslim parties when through several revolutions before being allowed to take power. This is not the route in Egypt.

    Posted by AIG | April 4, 2011, 6:20 pm
  105. AIG,

    To my knowledge, Saudi investment into Egypt is insignificant.

    The biggest investors have been the US Govt with $3 Billion a year in arming and maintaining the Egyptian army and massive investments into the private sector through co-dependent programs benefitting both US and Egyptian manufacturers.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 6:29 pm
  106. The Europeans also have more vested interests in Egypt than the Saudis. Egypt manufactures cars.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 6:31 pm
  107. Strike manufacture … replace with assemble.

    Thank you.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 4, 2011, 6:40 pm
  108. R2D2,
    So Haaretz carries a news analysis showing that Egypt and Iran might experience a thaw in relationships. this bad for the US or for anyone ? Would you rather have Egypt and Iran go to war? Why do you think that this one item of news in the Israeli press is that significant?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | April 4, 2011, 7:47 pm
  109. When pressure on this criminal regime begins to rise enough to create rifts among its thuggish constituent groups and open up the possibilities for independent action, we will find out who the real ruler/dictator of Damascus is: Bashar Assad or Maher or Asef Shawkat+Bushra… The pressure is not strong enough yet!

    Posted by HK | April 4, 2011, 8:39 pm
  110. http://www.arflon.net/2011/03/blog-post_656.html#axzz1IbaWop9R

    And this is a quote and a promise from the mukhtar of Deraa, Mohammad al-Ma7hameed (a member of a huge Haurani tribe, that I happen to know personally many of them)

    مختار درعا::: عار علينا نحن الحوارنة ان تركناك رئيسا يا بشار

    And also the ‘great’ Baathist apologist, Dr. Joshua Landis, seems to have a change of heart at last. For some reason he believes Bashar is no longer immune and could be on his way out:

    “…The day that regime-change will come to Syria seems closer today than it did only a short time ago.”

    Posted by anonymous | April 4, 2011, 9:15 pm
  111. Egypt is following the right path by avoiding the pitfalls of ‘Kemalist’ Turkey. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. That’s the guidance provided by present-day Turkey to the Arab revolutions. Egypt will not be ruled by another ‘Khomeini’ as the people and culture are completely different. It was useless for the army today to assert its authority by saying that it will not allow such outcome because it will never happen. One incident during the protests that seems to have been forgotten is the reaction of the protesters when Khamenei, perhaps for the first in his life, spoke in Arabic to the protesters seeking to hijack their uprising. The reaction of the protesters was that of disgust and loud jeers at the so-called supreme leader. In fact that speech caused speeding up the negotiations that were going on with the army and the government that was in place at the time. On the other hand, Egypt will never become another France where ‘atheism’ may become the undeclared state-sanctioned ‘religion’ of the masses in order to please the secular extremists. The resumption of Egypt’s relations with Iran has no significance. Iran does have relations with all the Arab countries, and sometimes one may wonder if war may or may not break out tomorrow with one or more of those countries.

    Turkey on the other hand is also moving towards correcting the faults of the last 80 years, and it has already reconciled with its history. It may not become another Egypt, but it too definitely will not become another France.

    Posted by anonymous | April 5, 2011, 12:15 am
  112. Theocracy and being ruled by another “Khomeini” are two faces of the same coin.

    Posted by Badr | April 5, 2011, 4:18 am
  113. Egypt can be friends with whomever they want. Israel has a peace treaty with them; Egypt isn’t Syria. If Egypt were to start supporting terrorism or breaking agreements, that is when the line will be crossed.

    I give Egypt the benefit of the doubt..I hope they can build a vibrant democracy even if it includes pro-muslim poliitical parties. Israel and the US both have political parties that are conservative and pro-religious.

    http://www.mfo.org/mission.php

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 5, 2011, 7:24 am
  114. HK,

    Here’s another article to put into your “Murder Inc.” file. Apparently, even “half-Jews” aren’t tolerated so well in Palestine…

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4052070,00.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 5, 2011, 7:29 am
  115. There exists a much larger file on the Zionist/US side of the isle pertaining to the Infamous White house Murder INC; it includes naked aggression; wars; occupation; covert wars; disinformation; extra-judicial assassinations; land theft; deliberately targeting civilian populations; disproportionate use of force; and more…
    It is entirely up to Israel whether it wants to live in peace and harmony or continue its path of self-destruction. Israel and USA know exactly what is needed to live in Peace with thy neighbors…but it seems that they have deliberately chosen a different path up to now!!!

    Posted by HK | April 5, 2011, 9:05 am
  116. Sur “L’exemple” de la Turquie….

    Le sort de Chypre sous la botte militaire turque est exemplaire. Depuis 1974 le tiers de Chypre est occupé par l ‘armée turque, les eglises orthodoxes ont été saccagées, detruites, les chypriotes , grecs-orthodoxes ont du fuir , la Turquie a importé des colons-paysans pour prendre leur place. Ce scandale se deroule depuis 37 ans dans un pays appartenant a l’ Union Européenne, qui bien entendu se tait . Voila la pratique politique violente d’ une democratie musulmane laique ( la Turquie ) ….le simple rapprochement de ces trois mots devient ainsi une parodie , une contrefaçon.

    L’union europeenne se tait parce qu’ elle fait plus de Business avec la Turquie de 70 millions d’ habitants qu’avec la petite ile de Chypre. D’ ou l’ Hypocrisie Européenne et US….

    Toute ressemblance entre le sort fait a Chypre et le sort fait au Liban est purement fortuit…

    Posted by HK | April 5, 2011, 9:12 am
  117. HK Waves his Magic Wand NewZ

    HK,

    Israel and USA know exactly what is needed to live in Peace with thy neighbors…

    HK,

    Thanks you for informing the Qifa Nakba website about “exactly what is needed to live in Peace with thy neighbors”.

    Would you be kind enough to reiterate what that simple formula is?

    Also, if it isn’t too much trouble, could you also link to the various Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Queda and the other numerous “terror” organization websites showing these formulas in “black and white”.

    (P.S. – Do worry about the Arabic; we have Google Translate to see these lovely “peace options”)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 5, 2011, 10:44 am
  118. typo -“DON’T” worry…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 5, 2011, 10:45 am
  119. Hello all

    Just spent a great couple of days with my good friends Yaron Ayalon and Joshua Landis at the Univ of Oklahoma.

    Lots of interesting discussions about Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.

    Post coming soon, maybe tomorrow.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 5, 2011, 10:48 am
  120. Sarcasm Alert

    QN,

    Did you ask Landis when he’ll start the campaign for Assad’s re-election bid?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 5, 2011, 11:07 am
  121. (i>It is only a matter of time before Syrian major cities rise

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=258305

    And in Lebanon, we may now have a President who is willing to act like one,

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=258305

    Posted by anonymous | April 5, 2011, 2:02 pm
  122. Sorry, the last link was incorrect,

    http://www.14march.org/news-details.php?nid=Mjg2OTgy

    Posted by anonymous | April 5, 2011, 2:19 pm
  123. Israeli racism, whose natural “hothouse” is the colonialist project in the territories, has long since spilled over into Israeli society and has been legitimized in the series of laws recently passed in the Knesset. Only people who avoid looking at the broad historical context of such a process are still able to believe it is possible to stop the emergence of an Israeli apartheid state without getting rid of the colonialist-racist grip on the territories….

    “Just leave the west Bank and accept the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state”. In fact more than 60% of Israeli Jews agree to that. I am afraid you did not notice it, but the PM of Israel, head of a hawkish coalition, accepted the principle of a two state solution and his coalition did not disintegrate. What does it mean? It means that most Israelis feel the same, and the radical parties know that if they leave the coalition because of it they will find themselves in the political desert. Now even hawks reluctantly admit that the West Bank is full of people who don’t want Israelis there. So I’d like to say goodbye to them and the sooner the better. A Palestinian de-militarized state is indeed the solution. When Israel leaves the West Bank both sides must make sure that the new situation will be more peaceful, not more dangerous than the present one. Also: because politically no political force in Israel can evacuate 350,000 people from the settlements, the biggest ones will have to stay, and on the basis of a 1:1 the Palestinian state will get territorial compensation in pre-1967 Israel. As far as we know the PA already agreed to this principle. The devil – or the unwillingness to vacate any illegally occupied lands – is in the details….And Zionists wonder why they are disliked? It’s called constant and persistent lying ….

    Posted by HK | April 5, 2011, 4:11 pm
  124. “Just leave the west Bank and accept the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state”.

    HK,

    Is the above quote the “simple formula” you were talking about when you said, “Israel and USA know exactly what is needed to live in Peace with thy neighbors…“?

    You didn’t say which Palestinian organization made this “promise”? The PA, the PLO, Hamas, your friends in Hezbollah, Bashar Assad…who?

    My data shows Israel was at war with more Arab countries BEFORE the occupation. How do you explain that?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 5, 2011, 6:39 pm
  125. GK #110,

    Have you ever visited Iran?

    You should.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 5, 2011, 7:23 pm
  126. Zionists wonder why they are disliked? It’s called constant and persistent lying ….

    Posted by HK | April 5, 2011, 7:31 pm
  127. Liar, Liar

    Zionists wonder why they are disliked?

    HK,

    Really? I had no idea. I mean, if Zionists are so disliked, how do you explain the multitude of Zionists doing business around the world?

    OTOH, how well-liked would you say Islamists are?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 5, 2011, 7:49 pm
  128. Let me begin with some blunt questions, the harshness of which matches the situation in Israel/ Palestine. How have the Jews, immemorially associated with suffering and high moral purpose, become identified with a nation-state loathed around the world for its oppressiveness toward a subjugated indigenous people?

    Why have a substantial majority of Jews chosen to flaunt world opinion in order to rally about a state that essentially has turned its occupied lands into a huge concentration camp and driven its occupied peoples to such gruesome expedients as suicide bombing? Why does the Zionist community, in raging against terrorism, forget that three of its prime ministers within the last forty years— Menahem Begin, Itzhak Shamir and the Butcher Ariel Sharon—are openly recognized to have been world-class terrorists; assassins and mass murderers?

    And why will these words just written—and the words of other Jews critical of Israel—be greeted with hatred and bitter denunciation by Zionists and called “self-hating” and “anti-Semitic”? Why do Zionists not see, or to be more exact, why do they see yet deny, the brutal reality that this state has wrought?

    The use of the notion of denial here suggests a psychological treatment of the Zionist community. But in matters of this sort, psychology is only one aspect of a greater whole that includes obdurate facts like forceful occupation of land claimed by and once inhabited by others… The phenomena of conscience are of course processed subjectively. But they neither originate within the mind nor remain limited to thoughts and feelings. Conscience is objective, too, and linked to notions like justice and law that exist outside of any individual will. It is also collective, and pertains to what is done by the group in whose membership identity is formed…. These group phenomena are, we might say, organized into “moral universes,” in which history, mythology, and individual moral behaviors are brought together and made into a larger whole. Such universes may themselves be universalizing, wherein that whole is inclusive of others, who are seen as parts of a common humanity (or for non-human creatures, nature). Or, as all too often happens, they may be unified only by splitting apart of the moral faculties…

    Now, the situation prevailing in Israel/Palestine is that common humanity is denied, the Other is not recognized, and the double standard prevails. In such conceptions, which have stained history since the beginning and comprise one of the chief impediments to the making of a better world, Talmud law reigns, violence toward the Other is condoned, and violence from the Other is demonized. Like the realms of matter and anti-matter, each such moral universe is paired with that of its adversary. But such mirroring does not imply moral equivalence; that is settled according to the rules of justice. In this instance there should be no doubt that those who have dispossessed others and illegally occupy their national lands have to bear prime culpability…. A meeting in 1921 in Cairo offered to live in Peace and Harmony with the Jewish people in Palestine for the betterment of the area and the World; the Zionist organizations present at that meeting never gave an answer to that collective Arab offer since 1921…

    Posted by HK | April 5, 2011, 7:53 pm
  129. HK’s Islamist Utopia: A Dissenting Opinion

    As a writer-activist who has fought for the rights of Muslim women, I thought I knew my fellow bad girls of Islam. But Wafa Sultan, 47, has given new meaning to the word bad. A psychiatrist in Syria before transplanting to Southern California in 1989 with her family, she gave an interview with al-Jazeera a couple of months ago that made her a household name in the Islamic world. “The clash we are witnessing around the world is … a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century,” she said. “It is a clash between freedom and oppression.”
    The interview raced across the Internet and landed Sultan in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times and on CNN. I connected with her anger and pain. She questioned Islam in 1979, when, she says, she witnessed the murder of a professor by men with alleged ties to the ultraconservative Muslim Brotherhood political group. I challenged Islamic traditions after my friend and former colleague Daniel Pearl was murdered in 2002. Both killings were punctuated with “Allah is great.” We have differences: Sultan blames Islam; I blame Muslims. But we both believe the Muslim world is in the Dark Ages.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1187385,00.html

    HK,

    No articles about Hama or Saddam Hussein today?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 5, 2011, 8:54 pm
  130. For the Zionists there never will be a right time. When one excuse wears thin another one is invented…. Or so the entire international community believes. Precisely why ‘67 borders and East Jerusalem as capital will define the new Palestinian state come September.

    Posted by HK | April 5, 2011, 9:05 pm
  131. QN;

    I sure hope that Joshua Landis didn’t rub on you

    Posted by anonymous #3 | April 6, 2011, 12:38 am
  132. The Zionist-Jihadist Bet of the Century

    Precisely why ‘67 borders and East Jerusalem as capital will define the new Palestinian state come September.

    HK,

    Are you confident enough to make a wager on this? We can have QN hold the funds as a “disinterested” third party!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 6, 2011, 7:02 am
  133. “The whole idea of politics between nation states is the nonviolent resolution of conflict – not harmonious agreement, not even tolerable disagreement, but the dynamic reconciliation of opposing views and conflicting interests.” The illegal occupation of other nations land must end.

    Posted by HK | April 6, 2011, 8:57 am
  134. This was Duma yesterday,

    There is more to come today.

    Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2011, 9:11 am
  135. Does it look like a scene from ‘Muqwama’ textbook?

    Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2011, 9:30 am
  136. we’ll all discover shortly nobody is important, special, or chosen… You either work for balance, and justice, or you work towards your own destruction.
    What is interesting, and even more ironic, is that the Alawite villages around latakia are often noted for how “German”- that is, fair haired, they look. This not really fair haired in the scandinavian sense, but more light brown- much like people in chechneya and turkey. Alawites say that mothers always talked about how they came from a cold place, near the caucausus area.

    When some Jewish and Israeli classmates congregate with Alawites in Athens for example… They are very surprised to find that they didn’t look Aryan at all- but actually had the same mild coloring of some other Syrian Alawite family members.

    Cousins indeed….

    Posted by HK | April 6, 2011, 10:03 am
  137. AP, do you think some filtering is required here so maybe apply a metric of reply-worthiness and cut-off response for anything below a 3dB level above noise? If you get my drift. (If not, ask AIG)

    Posted by Honest Patriot | April 6, 2011, 1:32 pm
  138. Interesting read. Not surprising, but interesting to read first hand experience.

    http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=258643

    Yeah, there’s your beacon of resistance, freedom and democracy. Mister reformer…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 6, 2011, 1:35 pm
  139. UN Human Rights Council to Zionist sell-out Richard Goldstone: the report on Israel’s purposeful targeting of Gaza civilians stands. Goldstone, a South African Zionist apartheid supporter, is just another quisling.

    Posted by HK | April 6, 2011, 1:37 pm
  140. Berri/Amal quit March 8 … says “There no longer is a March 8!”

    http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=258577

    Posted by R2D2 | April 6, 2011, 1:38 pm
  141. I miss dontgetit. Let us all remember, as he so diligently admonished us to do, that yet another day has passed where the Resistance protected Lebanon preventing a Zionist attack, and let us all be grateful and contrite for all the grief we caused in days and years past. Amen.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | April 6, 2011, 2:05 pm
  142. AP, do you think some filtering is required here so maybe apply a metric of reply-worthiness and cut-off response for anything below a 3dB level above noise? If you get my drift. (If not, ask AIG)

    HP,

    OK. We now know you’re a dynamicist/acoustic engineer… Lah??

    “Filtering”? How about an electrified keyboard, or better yet, manditory participation in “Seeds of Peace”?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 6, 2011, 2:13 pm
  143. This made me laugh.

    “A leaked U.S. Embassy cable published exclusively in Al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday revealed that then Prime Minister Fouad Saniora had rejected a transfer of 500 and 300 million dollars to Lebanon aimed at rebuilding the country after the July 2006 war.
    The WikiLeaks cable spoke of a meeting between Saniora and then U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman on August 18, 2006, during which the former explained that he rejected the aid money from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait “because he didn’t want the money to go to Speaker Nabih Berri’s pocket.”

    Score one for Saniora, like him or not.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 6, 2011, 2:26 pm
  144. Re. #142

    Now Lebanon retracted the press release. Very bad reporting I must add.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 6, 2011, 4:57 pm
  145. 146.

    They quoted “media outlets” lol. 😀

    Posted by danny | April 6, 2011, 5:09 pm
  146. The dictatorships in MENA have served the Israelis very well, no middle eastern democracy will be friendly with the Israelis until the Palestinians are satisfied with a final status agreement, and an end to the illegal occupation of Arab lands.

    Posted by HK | April 6, 2011, 5:18 pm
  147. PROTEST against the sectarian regime SUNDAY April 10 from The National MUSEUM to the…PARLIAMENT !!

    Shou Ya Elias? Haleytouha bi Oklahoma ?

    Posted by R2D2 | April 6, 2011, 6:42 pm
  148. For Jews to survive in this region … Israelis need to elect a Prime Minister that is willing to offer educating neighboring Arabs at its Universities at par with its own citizens and offer Arabs the opportunity to work within their research centers in Agriculture, water solutions and alternative energy.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 6, 2011, 7:08 pm
  149. 7alleynaha w nuss

    😉

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 6, 2011, 7:12 pm
  150. Hizbies and Syrian Baathists were busy during and after the Egyptian revolution spinning the events in any way they can in favour of so-called ‘rejectionist’ front. They were especially impressed by the person for the foreign ministry in the new government. They should be utterly disappointed after reading this,

    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/04/06/144489.html

    Which proves what I have been saying all along… Egypt will not be another Iran and its foreign policy will change very little if any at all under the new revolution.

    Joshua Landis has not changed as I assumed in a previous comment. He is an irredeemable Baathist.

    Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2011, 7:26 pm
  151. missing ‘appointed’ somewhere in that comment

    Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2011, 7:28 pm
  152. Anonymous

    I don’t see where you get your conclusion that Joshua is an “irredeemable Baathist” from any of his analysis about the current situation in Syria. He has argued that the regime is basically done for, either in the short or long term.

    I can assure you that he has no love for the Assads.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 6, 2011, 7:28 pm
  153. anon,

    The Baath party is a lost cause. They can offer concessions … but they can’t offer democracy.

    Offering political parties in Syria to compete against them under a democratic umbrella will land them in jail. Their record is abysmal on all fronts.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 6, 2011, 7:35 pm
  154. anonymous 152.

    That’s exactly what I argued as well. The cheerleading section around here who was all “Wait till the tyrants are toppled. Once the people have their say, we’ll be storming Jerusalem in no time” are gonna be SORELY disappointed.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 6, 2011, 7:35 pm
  155. Qifa,

    Oooooh, is that what J.L. said? Honestly, that’s what I thought he said and MEANT at first glance.

    But looking deeper into his premises, he is still spinning the same argument of the regime in every occasion, which is, for those who have not yet caught on: either me (Bashar and Famille) or hell will break loose in Syria. Also, his latest is nothing but a promotion of the purely sectarian argument which the regime is promoting which J.L. believes overrides the politics of the Syrian landscape (in his own words democracy in Syria means Sunnis replacing Alawis, even though much more Alawis showed up in Latakia in demonstrations than Sunnis in Aleppo).

    Agree R2D2 and thanks BV.

    Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2011, 7:50 pm
  156. QN #154

    I’d erase that comment if you care about JL’s family in Switzerland.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 6, 2011, 7:57 pm
  157. Thought this was moving and worth the time… We are all Japanese !!!

    THIS letter, written by Vietnamese immigrant Ha Minh Thanh working in Fukushima as a policeman to a friend in Vietnam, was posted on New America Media on March 19. It is a testimonial to the strength of the Japanese spirit, and an interesting slice of life near the epicenter of Japan’s crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was translated by NAM editor Andrew Lam, author of “East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres.” Shanghai Daily condensed it.

    Brother,

    How are you and your family? These last few days, everything was in chaos. When I close my eyes, I see dead bodies. When I open my eyes, I also see dead bodies.
    Each one of us must work 20 hours a day, yet I wish there were 48 hours in the day, so that we could continue helping and rescuing folks.
    We are without water and electricity, and food rations are near zero. We barely manage to move refugees before there are new orders to move them elsewhere.
    I am currently in Fukushima, about 25 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant. I have so much to tell you that if I could write it all down, it would surely turn into a novel about human relationships and behaviors during times of crisis.
    People here remain calm – their sense of dignity and proper behavior are very good – so things aren’t as bad as they could be. But given another week, I can’t guarantee that things won’t get to a point where we can no longer provide proper protection and order.
    They are humans after all, and when hunger and thirst override dignity, well, they will do whatever they have to do. The government is trying to provide supplies by air, bringing in food and medicine, but it’s like dropping a little salt into the ocean.
    Brother, there was a really moving incident. It involves a little Japanese boy who taught an adult like me a lesson on how to behave like a human being.
    Last night, I was sent to a little grammar school to help a charity organization distribute food to the refugees. It was a long line that snaked this way and that and I saw a little boy around 9 years old. He was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts.
    It was getting very cold and the boy was at the very end of the line. I was worried that by the time his turn came there wouldn’t be any food left. So I spoke to him. He said he was at school when the earthquake happened. His father worked nearby and was driving to the school. The boy was on the third floor balcony when he saw the tsunami sweep his father’s car away.
    I asked him about his mother. He said his house is right by the beach and that his mother and little sister probably didn’t make it. He turned his head and wiped his tears when I asked about his relatives.
    The boy was shivering so I took off my police jacket and put it on him. That’s when my bag of food ration fell out. I picked it up and gave it to him. “When it comes to your turn, they might run out of food. So here’s my portion. I already ate. Why don’t you eat it?”
    The boy took my food and bowed. I thought he would eat it right away, but he didn’t. He took the bag of food, went up to where the line ended and put it where all the food was waiting to be distributed.
    I was shocked. I asked him why he didn’t eat it and instead added it to the food pile. He answered: “Because I see a lot more people hungrier than I am. If I put it there, then they will distribute the food equally.”
    When I heard that I turned away so that people wouldn’t see me cry.
    A society that can produce a 9-year-old who understands the concept of sacrifice for the greater good must be a great society, a great people. Well, a few lines to send you and your family my warm wishes. The hours of my shift have begun again.

    Ha Minh Thanh

    Remember Japan and our own US utterly corrupt Govt – and, Libya, Lebanon; Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and too many others to name… All places where Imperial Storm Troopers seek to spread the Empire while America collapses in utter Bankruptcy and gridlock and the world suffers …

    Posted by HK | April 6, 2011, 8:01 pm
  158. It seems very likely that the Assad Mafia is going to get by Scott free; with continued support from the Siamese Twins CIA/MOSSAD and the Infamous White house Murder INC; because the general consensus in DC/Tel Aviv is boiling down to this:
    There are no friends, only interests.

    Does America really want to see a string of democratic Islamic states in the Middle East, stretching from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to Tunisia? I don’t think so. Just as importantly, neither does Israel.

    To me, this is not in America’s interests because functioning democracies in these areas open up the possibility of reduced corruption, which immediately increases the probability of meaningful economic development – which after all is what motivated the various protest movements, at least in MENA and Africa.

    This is seen as a problem by Washington and Tel Aviv because with economic power comes political power. For the Israelis the danger is obvious – Turkey multiplied by Ten… For Washington, how does AFRICOM engage with a democratic Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, etc.? What happens when the Chinese are invited to open naval bases on the shores of the Mediterranean and elsewhere…?

    Then again, all politics are local. How do images of articulate, educated and courageous young Muslims fighting for their freedom square with the traditional stereotype of Muslims that has been rammed down American/Western throats for ten years? They don’t.

    I think the Obama Administration and Israel have simply calculated that it would be better if democracy did not flourish in the Middle East. Libya will vanish from the TV screens after the next news cycle, just as Bahrain did. The fictional Sir Humphrey Appleby summed this attitude up very well: “Minister, we must give them all the aid it is in our power to give, except actual help…”

    Posted by HK | April 6, 2011, 8:26 pm
  159. You ever get tired of the rambling, HK?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 6, 2011, 8:37 pm
  160. New post, guys.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 6, 2011, 9:13 pm
  161. The special U.S.- Saudi relationship that has been in existence since the end of the Second World war is now rapidly deteriorating. What does this mean to America’s long term strategic interests in the Middle East has yet to be determined, but expect other countries to be solicited (and invited) by the Saudis to replace this relationship.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/04/06/135183927/response-to-arab-uprisings-causes-u-s-saudi-rift

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/nbc-s-brokaw-saudis-so-unhappy-obama-adm

    Posted by HK | April 6, 2011, 9:18 pm

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