Lebanon, Syria

Thinking About a Post-Conflict Syria

Photo used courtesy of CreativeSyria.com

Photo used courtesy of CreativeSyria.com

I recently caught up with a friend of mine, Camille Otrakji, who is the founder of Creative SyriaMideast Image, and was a longtime blogger for Syria Comment before some… artistic differences emerged, right around the spring of 2011. Camille has been working on something called “The Syrian Dialogue Project” and I thought some readers might be interested in checking it out.

One of Camille’s strengths is bringing Syrians with different backgrounds and political views together to discuss difficult subjects. He has been doing this for years, since before the outbreak of the Arab uprisings. Have a look at some of the previous efforts below, and read on for a brief interview with Camille.


QN: Describe the overall concept of the Syrian Dialogue Project.

OtrakjiWe started working on Phase 1 of the project in summer 2012. At the time we had a simple but significant objective: To better understand Syrian public opinion beyond the two dominant narratives (revolution’s and government’s) that were highly misleading in the manner the two sides tried to project them on the entire population. We recognized the highly complex makeup of the population and therefore felt the need to explore the various ways through which different Syrians aspired to move toward a better future.

syriandialogue-englishWe invited ten figures from the opposition and ten others from the supporters of the government. We welcomed anyone who did not support (at least not actively) foreign intervention in Syria. Their task was simple: tell us what, in their opinion, did the Syrian people want to change, and what they wanted to preserve. Participants provided us with 73 answers which we summarized in 20 (many were repetitive or very similar). So our end product in phase 1 was a list of “top 20 things the Syrian people have on their mind today”. (Arabic PDF here, English PDF here)

Our methodology did not exactly provide the reliability of conducting a scientific poll inside Syria and among Syrians in exile, but we still got a much more realistic, balanced and comprehensive list of answers, compared to the highly simplistic assumptions promoted by the politicians with agendas.

QN: Sounds like OneMideast.org, but focused on Syrian internal reform rather than Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations. What happened after Phase 1? 

Otrakji: In 2013 we started working on Phase 2. By that time Syria was deep into the conflict’s cycle of violence and destruction and all the Syria conferences and workshops were being held in various world capitals but they all left a lot to be desired. Many were sponsored by outside powers mostly interested in ensuring they will have the lion’s share of influence in post-conflict Syria: Qatar+Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, the US, and Iran. The conference in Iran was open to both opposition and government supporters. All other conferences wee strictly for opposition supporters.

Inside Syria the government called on the opposition to engage in dialogue but because of the general lack of trust in the intentions of the Syrian leadership and because they (opposition) had unrealistically high expectations regarding the near-certainty of an imminent toppling of the Syrian regime, no one accepted to talk to the government.

Conferences that were held usually ended in serious disagreements. At best they managed to issue at the end a generic half page communique that was a carbon copy of similar declarations from previous conferences stating participants’ commitment to a democratic Syria that respected minority rights and wanted peace and prosperity.

syriandialogue-graphicIn phase 2 of our project we felt the need to move away from worn out slogans and from narrow interests of other groups. Syria needed solutions and not propaganda or utopian declarations. We invited Syrians who specialized in each of the 20 subjects/areas we identified in phase 1 (“Top 20 things on the mind of the Syrian people”). Our participants’ assignment was to write proposals for solutions in their area of interest. Solutions needed to be feasible and not very difficult to implement given the limitations of Syria’s challenging situation today. We recognized that at best we can hope to come up with ideas and proposals that might create a finite, positive momentum in various fields such as political reforms, educational reforms, fighting sectarianism, redefining Syria’s foreign policy objectives, humanitarian assistance, national reconciliation, and making Syria more secure.

QN: Who are some of the participants, and what have they written about? 

Otrakji: Here’s a list of some of the contributors:

  • Talal Atrache (a former AFP and RFI correspondent in Syria) has written about fighting sectarianism
  • Omar Hallaj (former CEO of the Syria Trust, Asma Assad’s group of NGOs), on dialogue and conflict resolution.
  • Barah Mikhail (senior research fellow, FRIDE), on regional and international strategic choices in Syria
  • Munif Atassi (former senior program manager at Northrop Grumman; currently at Cognosante), on the role of education in Syria
  • Nabil Mouchi is a Swedish economist of Syrian origin. He writes about political reform
  • Khaldoun Khashanah is a US-based head of a financial engineering department and risk analysis specialist. He has written a complex essay on how to proceed gradually and safely toward democracy in Syria.
  • And finally an article by myself about failures in communication by all political actors in Syria (including the two Assads)

All of these articles are in the process of being translated to English and will be available soon on the project website.

QN: How can these types of dialogue projects move beyond just talking to actually doing? And how can others get involved?

Otrakji: Everyone says they are ready for meaningful dialogue. But that has not happened yet. We have contacts among decision makers from both sides, inside and outside Syria. They now have access to analysis and proposals by highly qualified Syrians (doctors, lawyers, political and defense analysts, top academics, social scientists, engineers, journalists, authors and former political prisoners) who volunteered their time and energy without any financial backing from any party. Our group is made of talented and true patriots who knew there will be no personal reward for their hard work.

We invite anyone who is working on conflict resolution in Syria to take a look at the 25 detailed proposals we published so far. We expect more to be published in the future as many contacted us wanting to participate. We are open to proposals by those who expertise in one of the areas we listed on the site. We also welcome everyone’s participation by voting on the various topics and proposals for solutions. Provide us with comments and feedback that can help fine-tune each proposal where needed.


51 thoughts on “Thinking About a Post-Conflict Syria

  1. There can only be dialog in Syria after Assad and his entourage are gone. At the moment the barrel bomb dialog takes precedence.

    Kid not yourselves. Dialog with mass murderer(s)?

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 9:16 am
  2. Is this a joke? The conference in Iran was open to “opposition”? like Bashar’s fascist SSNP thugs and his “communist” businessmen?

    Posted by Rami | August 6, 2014, 9:39 am
  3. No. This is a QNION.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 9:59 am
  4. Many thanks Elias for your constant support of all dialogue projects over the years.

    At a time everyone in the Levant is worried if ISIS will attack their city next, many would think that engaging in dialogue initiatives is for those who are detached from reality. More specifically to the Syrian conflict’s case, the two sides react similarly 1) Are you serious? dialogue with the child murderer in Damascus? … and 2) Dialogue with who? … those on Saudi and Qatari payroll and Al-Qaeda supporters?

    This is the case in all conflicts. At first, all think they can win it (militarily, and in more recent conflicts: through soft power … media and social networks pressure campaigns) and therefore they don’t need to talk about reaching a compromise. As the killing and destruction continues, confidence of total and imminent victory diminishes … and at some point, the two (or various) sides are ready to stop and take a new (more realistic) look at the chances of achieving full victory by force alone. That’s when they stop ridiculing dialogue and conflict resolution efforts.

    We started in 2012 to work on Dialogue knowing the two sides were not yet ready. Our work is based on a no-winner and no-loser outcome.

    Syria experts and decision makers are reading our recommendations … that is no QNION dear Mustap. I suggest you read the articles we posted first.

    Posted by Camille Otrakji | August 6, 2014, 10:13 am
  5. This is excellent since talk is “underrated”. It will really work if you just add some tweets and a creative hash tag.

    These initiatives always remind me of the following joke:
    A man with a gun enters a couples’ bedroom, draws a circle on the floor and tells the husband to get in it and not move out. He then proceeds to rape the wife. When he is done he leaves. The wife turns to the husband and asks bitterly: Why didn’t you do anything? He answers: What do you mean? I jumped out of the circle 3 times!

    If the problems in Syria could have been solved by talking, the time to do it was when Assad was firmly in power. Now, talking is useless. Syrians have to work for one thing and one thing only, a ceasefire. All the rest is useless. Only when there is a ceasefire can there be any progress.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2014, 10:14 am
  6. AIG

    I agree that there are many steps necessary before any theoretical and optimistic discussions can begin to have an impact. A ceasefire is itself optimistic, given that the anti-regime side is totally fragmented between ISIS, Nusra, the remnants of the FSA, local coordination committees, etc.

    Most ordinary Syrians, though, cannot “work for [that] one thing and one thing online, a ceasefire”. It is very difficult to make people stop fighting unless you are providing them with weapons and funding in the first place, or have something credible to threaten or entice them with.

    In the meantime, dialogue between opinion makers and well-connected individuals can make a small difference, I think.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 6, 2014, 10:34 am
  7. QN,

    “In the meantime, dialogue between opinion makers and well-connected individuals can make a small difference, I think.”

    No it can’t even make a small difference because it does not help stop the fighting. You got it right in the previous sentence:
    “It is very difficult to make people stop fighting unless you are providing them with weapons and funding in the first place, or have something credible to threaten or entice them with.”

    Unpack that sentence, figure out how to pressure or entice each side, target your activism and lobbying towards that, and maybe you can make a difference. Instead of wasting your time discussing how to bring democratic reform to Syria over decades discuss how to bring about a ceasefire. Focusing on anything else is just escapism and self-delusion, it is just “jumping out of the circle”.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2014, 10:50 am
  8. The Syrians have begun manufacturing their own anti aircraft missiles. You’ll be surprised to learn how easy it turned out to be. An unknown tech from the defunct SAA unveiled the secrets. First aircraft was shot down with Syrian-made anti-aircraft missile few days ago over Qalamoun.

    Obama and the weapons cartels can shove their weapons in a very dark place. At least, they will have no say over what Syrians want. Their stooges can also enjoy their stays in 5-star hotel rooms until hell freezes. The point of no return has come and gone and there’s no turning back.

    So tell me, please, what can Assad do when his aircrafts are neutralized? I see Qardaha becoming the cesspool every Syrian wants to turn it into.

    There’s only one outcome: The Syrians will win the war against HA after they already won it against Assad.

    So, you want Democracy for few so-called minorities ONLY when it suits you and them and you feel threatened by some uncompromising zealots? You should have foreseen it 3 years ago before Assad fired the first shots and did something about it then like participating in the demonstrations instead of waiting for whoever gets married to my mom becomes my uncle. You know what I mean? This game will not work anymore.

    Long live the Wise King.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 11:01 am
  9. Mustap, I suggest you read opinions similar to yours from the 726 comments following my interview here on QifaNabki in May 2011 … you will hopefullybe a bit less confident about your ability to predict the future with full certainty


    Posted by Camille Otrakji | August 6, 2014, 11:10 am
  10. AIG: figure out how to pressure or entice each side, target your activism and lobbying towards that, and maybe you can make a difference. Instead of wasting your time discussing how to bring democratic reform to Syria over decades discuss how to bring about a ceasefire. Focusing on anything else is just escapism and self-delusion, it is just “jumping out of the circle”.

    Who do you think these folks should lobby, exactly? The Saudi government? The Assad regime? The IRGC? 🙂

    Maybe dialogue projects are escapist, but the idea that ordinary civilians can “lobby” totalitarian governments to end their proxy war is no less self-delusional. Let’s be serious.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 6, 2014, 11:13 am
  11. Haven’t you figured it out already? Talking is NOT happening. It’s cheap. So what would I do with 726 comments? And you don’t see any future yet? Well, I see zealots taking all over.

    Believe me, it’s the deluge. So, you need to duck.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 11:24 am
  12. QN,

    “Who do you think these folks should lobby, exactly? The Saudi government? The Assad regime? The IRGC?”

    Why not? How about BDS against the Saudis? How about sit ins in front of their embassies? I can give you a huge list of things you haven’t tried. How about demonstrations in front of the Russian and Iranian embassies to stop them from supporting Assad? How about academic boycott of Iranian and Russian universities? Maybe it won’t work, but have you even TRIED anything like it?

    There is not even a united front of Syrians for a ceasefire. How about working on that? That is a goal that you could get international support behind.

    And if you don’t believe that you can have any influence on the fighting, just say so and let’s not waste our time discussing it.

    If you can’t solve the problem peacefully, then war is the only option. If you are not willing to fight a war to solve the problem, then just admit it that you are nor willing to do anything and stop the hypocritical hand wringing.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2014, 11:26 am
  13. When was the last time a sit-in or a demonstration had an effect on a democratic government’s foreign policy, let alone an authoritarian regime that could give two hoots about what liberal expats think of its military strategies? Hundreds of thousands of Americans marching in downtown New York City and Chicago could not stop the Iraq War. So a hundred people chanting “ceasfire now!” outside the Russian Embassy in Washington is going to make a difference?

    Part of the reason that there is no united front for a ceasefire is because no one has been able to articulate a mutually acceptable vision for what comes after the ceasefire. That’s the point of the dialogue, as far as I understand it.

    In order to build a large movement of Syrians who are willing to march, to boycott, to write letters, to donate money and time, and to try to make a difference to the future of their country, there needs to be a platform that people can get behind. I think Camille and his colleagues are trying to do that.

    You have to remember that Syria does not have a unified liberal civil society, thanks to the regime’s policies. The kinds of projects that Camille has been involved with over the years have served to create a kind of virtual civil society. Yes, it is slow, but you have to start somewhere.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 6, 2014, 11:37 am
  14. This is binary vision

    real life (in Syria) is not stopping … it is just not very pleasant.

    option 1: We can’t do anything about it … let’s just sit and watch the fighting
    option 2: We can, through dialogue, end the conflict
    option3: We can think of baby steps that would help make things better here and there.

    We went for option 3.

    Incidentally, there are efforts taking place to bring together moderate opposition with government side. You can learn more about them here:

    Posted by Camille Otrakji | August 6, 2014, 11:38 am
  15. Camille,

    One thing that I think would be a positive step is a kind of online guide to the opposition’s main figures, organizations, etc. I have trouble keeping up with who the opposition leader du jour is, and I pay close attention to the region. Most American/European politicians, foundation execs, etc. would have trouble finding Syria on a map, let alone telling you who Moaz al-Khatib and Haytham Manna` are and what they represent.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 6, 2014, 11:47 am
  16. Elias, The Swiss are quite advanced in conflict resolution initiatives. They know Syrian opposition well. Maybe I can ask them to publish such guides. They have everyone’s contacts and bio

    Posted by Camille Otrakji | August 6, 2014, 11:50 am
  17. QN,

    “In order to build a large movement of Syrians who are willing to march, to boycott, to write letters, to donate money and time, and to try to make a difference to the future of their country, there needs to be a platform that people can get behind. I think Camille and his colleagues are trying to do that.”

    Seriously? Every week more people die than in the whole Gaza operation and this is what you are advocating? That Syrians figure out a platform that they can get behind, something that is impossible because the two sides do not trust each other at all. If you want to help there is only ONE goal that should be addressed, an unconditional ceasefire that will allow room for dialog. At least it makes sure things do not get worse. Anything else is just the same as accepting more deaths. Now, if Syrians want to keep fighting, that is something else.

    There is no room for nuance here. What you are doing is ignoring the heart attack the patient in front of you is having because you cannot agree where he is going to take the next vacation. Feel free to discuss the vacation instead of how to stop the heart attack. But stop deluding yourself that you are doing anything productive. If most Syrians cannot get behind the simple goal of stopping the fighting whatever their political leanings, then let’s accept the fact that there is no hope.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2014, 11:56 am
  18. The heart doctors will have to work on stopping the heart attack. We are hoping the patient will survive it and are working on making his/her recovery faster.

    Posted by Camille Otrakji | August 6, 2014, 11:58 am
  19. You can say whatever makes you feel better.

    Still talking is cheap.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 12:00 pm
  20. QN,

    Do I really have to spell it out? Achieving anything in Syria is very, very hard and it will only be achieved with determined focus. If you start discussing many issues, nothing will get done. Getting to a ceasefire is a clear goal, easily articulated that people on all sides can get behind as well as the international community. Without focus, you will achieve nothing. With focus, you may have a small chance.

    Without a ceasefire, all the discussion is completely idle. Nobody knows what the Syrian people want Syria to look like in the future. I think most Syrians are themselves confused and just want the fighting to stop and the refugees to go home.

    So enough with the escapism. It is a CRITICAL Lebanese interest that the fate of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon will not be the same as the Palestinian ones. Lebanon will not survive this. In ten years or so, as the children grow up in Lebanon and start making demands of the state, you will have a civil war.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2014, 12:20 pm
  21. AIG

    I appreciate the point you are making about focus. We do not disagree that stopping the war is the most critical step. The problem is that ordinary civilians have very limited ways to achieve this. As I said: hundreds of thousand of Americans marching in American cities to prevent a democratically-elected American president to send American troops to fight in Iraq was unsuccessful, despite the fact that there were powerful American interests (including American legislators, military officials, etc., to say nothing of the American media) that shared the same views as the protesters.

    So if this tactic did not work in America, how is it going to work in Syria?

    Yes please, spell it out. I am curious to hear what you think will work.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 6, 2014, 12:36 pm
  22. QN,

    If most Americans were against the war in Iraq, it would likely not have happened. Both democrats and republicans in the US congress were for it and it reflected public opinion. If most Syrians are for continued fighting, then, as I wrote above, there is no hope and this discussion is a waste of time.

    But if that is not the case, then there is an opening. I would begin with community organizing among the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey perhaps under the meme: Stop the fighting, let us go home. If you can get Syrians of all stripes to stand behind this, it could get the ball rolling in the right direction. If this works, you will get the Lebanese and Jordanian street to support this movement also as it is a clear interest of both countries. And you can build momentum from there.

    Are the chances of success big? No. But they are larger that what you are currently contemplating.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2014, 1:05 pm
  23. Let’s be clear that the Americans (and the Brits) were lied to and duped about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction and links to Osama Bin Laden (no thanks in part to Israeli Intel providing “the proof” of yellow cake bullshit).

    There was almost unanimous consent by the international community and the UN that a war in Iraq was not justified on the grounds and evidence provided and the Bush/Blair admin went ahead with their “illegal” war anyway. Why? Cause both the Saudis and Israelis were freaking out when the guy that fought a war against the Shiites/Iran on behalf of the US and Sunni Gulf Arabs (that caused over a million lives and depleted the Iraqi economy) invaded Kuwait. Money was tight back then. Check the oil prices du jour.

    Osama Bin Laden, who was a CIA asset fighting the Russians in Afghanistan was dumped following the collapse of the Soviet Union too and went rogue.

    Why not also open up the Iran-Contra affair while we are at it.

    Israel, the schizophrenic Middle East expert, has been lecturing the US for decades on what they should and should not do in the region and with whom and with whom not to.

    Assad was ready for “dialogue” with Israel post the fiasco of Hariri’s assassination via Turkey and what did Israel do? They ransacked a Turkish humanitarian relief vessel bound for Gaza and bombed the shit out of Lebanon and Gaza.

    Obviously, you are in line with the Netanyahu doctrine.

    Posted by Ray | August 6, 2014, 2:51 pm
  24. I think most Syrians are for a cease-fire. But it’s not “most Syrians” who are doing the fighting. It’s the army plus Hizbullah and some Iraqi Shiite militias on one side, and a few tens of thousands of rebels on the other. Even if every civilian in Syria wanted a cease-fire, it would likely not make much of a difference to those who want to keep fighting.

    I think you’re right about the Lebanese perspective on this. If only for self-preservation, there should be enough interest to start looking for solutions to the refugee crisis. But, again, a “Stop the Fighting” campaign among refugee populations in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon would likely only be effective to the extent that it raises the consciousness of Western and Arab governments to actually push for a solution. How does that happen? Partly through the wishy-washy tactics that you like to criticize: Twitter campaigns, hash tags, dialogue between different groups, writing op-eds, etc.

    At the moment, though, I fear that there is no space for any of this. The conflict has entered a nihilistic zero-sum phase. ISIS is now posing a territorial threat to three different states. Cease-fire is not really an option in the minds of many Arabs living in the Fertile Crescent until ISIS is squashed. That sounds like Syrian regime talk, but this is the reality today.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 6, 2014, 2:51 pm
  25. ” A “Stop the Fighting” campaign among refugee populations in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon”” will ONLY serve to spread the fire to the two countries, Jordan and Lebanon. It will not lead to a ceasefire in Syria, instead it will initiate firing in Lebanon and Jordan. Jordan can fend for itself. Lebanon can’t.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 3:06 pm
  26. Cease-fire is obviously not on the minds of Muslims from Brooklyn to Afghanistan.

    Islam has been confined to the final authority of Royals and Despots.

    Posted by Ray | August 6, 2014, 3:16 pm
  27. Saddam did not fight Iran on behalf of the Gulf Sunni Arabs. He fought because, from the outset, Khomeini made his intentions clear that he wants to export his brand of Shiite revolution beginning with Iraq. Iranian instigated terror bombings were daily occurrences in Baghdad following Khomeini’s revolution. Shiite/Sunni conflict as we witness it now was started by Khomeini’s revolution and NOT by Sunnis.

    We owe a tribute to Saddam for succeeding in ruling Iraq as he did and at the same time defeating Khomeini in 1988 even as it is well known, Iraq’s population is multi-sectarian with huge numbers of Shiite followers, and when you realize Iran’s population is three times that of Iraq, well the only thing one could say, bravo Saddam and well done.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 3:21 pm
  28. It was Saddam’s (and the British/US’s) paranoia following the overthrow of the British/US installed Puppet Shah in Iran that was fully exploited and supported by the ample supply of ammunition and weapons by the US to Iraq that instigated him to pre-eminantly start the war against Iran.

    Posted by Ray | August 6, 2014, 3:40 pm
  29. You may still find the “Made in the USA” bombs that Saddam used during that war against Iran prior to Twitter.

    Posted by Ray | August 6, 2014, 3:42 pm
  30. Again, you may say whatever makes you feel better.

    But facts are facts. Assertions are mere cheap talk.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 3:45 pm
  31. By that assertion we can deduce that you are obviously an angry Sunni 🙂

    Posted by Ray | August 6, 2014, 3:54 pm
  32. And if so, by that I mean that Sunnis the world over have all the rights to be angry.

    Posted by Ray | August 6, 2014, 3:58 pm
  33. Your conclusions are as superficial as your assertions.

    Angry? You kidding?

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 3:59 pm
  34. Shit’ites have a lot to be angry about, equally.

    So do the Jews of Europe and the former Eastern Russian block that thought Palestine would be a good place to set up shop again after being persecuted everywhere else for 2000 years.

    That is a another superficial assertion, off course.

    I’m all in with the Asians of the Far East. So forgive me for my assumptions.

    Posted by Ray | August 6, 2014, 4:22 pm
  35. There is no such thing as egalitarian anger. It’s all been overused as a political mean to justify the ideology of victimhood.

    Once you understand that, then Hussein will have no hold on you and so will all the other so-called martyrs.

    Having said that, we realize Hassouna would like to continue to enjoy his joyful days of announcing the ushering of ‘martyrs’ to blissful lands. So, we wish him everlasting never ending joyous days of his own preferences.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 4:37 pm
  36. …and the echo gets louder! Surround system lol!

    Posted by danny | August 6, 2014, 7:45 pm
  37. Stepping up pressure for Assad to step down would have been the first action if any party was serious. He and his clique have completely mismanaged -and that is a euphemism- the affairs of the country. Even in his own words, he stated that he has not got control over his own government, or perhaps it was a convenient lie to dodge the responsibility of the countless massacres on defenceless civilians at the hands of the ‘Shabiha’ – which lets not forget, were chopping off heads and mutilating bodies before the ISIS phenomena.
    No opposition figure across the spectrum would even imagine sitting down with Assad for any settlement when the whole reason d’etre is to remove Assad.
    The killing can be stopped when Assad steps down and allows for a more multi-representative government to take shape. They can then unite to fend off the ISIS rats.

    Posted by Maverick | August 6, 2014, 9:50 pm
  38. Speaking of chopping heads, you may choose the slow solution:


    Or the well known quicker ISIS solution.

    At your own risk in either case.

    Posted by Mustap | August 6, 2014, 10:42 pm
  39. You Should call Ari Shavit for pointers on Syria dialogue

    Posted by Vulcan | August 7, 2014, 10:45 am
  40. QN,

    “Cease-fire is not really an option in the minds of many Arabs living in the Fertile Crescent until ISIS is squashed.”
    Who is going to quash ISIS? The Sunni states will not lift a finger because they calculate that ISIS is a much bigger problem for Assad, Hezbollah and Iran as well as the Kurds. The Americans also understand this and will as usual try to manage for a draw, but their influence is very small and their foreign policy completely out of touch with the region.

    So unless Iran commits to sending hundreds of thousands of troops into Iraq and Syria, ISIS is here to stay. I estimate that their economy and army are not up to the task but I would be happy to see them try. Bottom line, ISIS is going to be around for a very long time.

    Posted by AIG | August 7, 2014, 10:45 am
  41. AIG why the pessimism man, we can always hope for natural disasters

    Posted by Vulcan | August 7, 2014, 11:06 am
  42. We need MUAD’DIB

    Posted by Vulcan | August 7, 2014, 11:13 am
  43. ISIS is fighting three and a half armies simultaneously and winning:

    1) Peshmerga were routed in the north east recently and today in several towns.
    2) Bashar’s army was routed in Raqqa today.
    3) Maliki’s army is suffering daily losses in the centre of Iraq. They (ISIS) are now 20 KM from Baghdad while Maliki is still fighting for his political career. Actually, West Baghdad is very much within their reach.
    4) We don’t know exactly what happened with the Lebanese army (the half army) in Arsal. But ISIS definitely didn’t lose and they may come back even stronger. Hariri as I always say is an idiot. A billion dollar is neither going to buy him an army nor popularity. This guy must disappear. He doesn’t have what it takes to be a politician, not a Lebanese politician for sure.

    Iran’s strategy is to fight wars with everyone as foot soldiers but Iranians. It is also willing to pay on a mercenary basis (if any mercenary Zionists are interested), but be warned compensations may go up and down (mostly down) as the conditions dictate.

    Bottom line, yes ISIS is here to stay and to expand as they continue to assert. According to Snowdon Baghdadi is a Mossad agent. So why are Zionists so disingenuous and pretend they’re against ISIS?

    Also, bottom line, Bashar’s squashing along with his henchmen is more important for the Fertile Crescent than squashing ISIS at the moment unless you subscribe to the belief that Nazism was actually good for humanity (see photos recently presented to Congress in comment on August 6, 2014, 10:42 pm), in which case we need to eliminate Israel which arose as a consequence of the ‘evil’ Nazis.

    What is Mossad’s end game behind creating agents like Baghdadi? It’s simple. Divide and conquer by stoking the fires to create as much social disintegration and hatred in the Fertile Crescent as possible.

    Posted by Mustap | August 7, 2014, 11:34 am
  44. With the majority sectarian racists like you and the likes of Baghdadi, the Mossad hardly have to bother with recruiting. You are a willing fool. Funny enough, you and the Iranians equally believe and proclaim the same Mossad culpability. Enjoy ISIS ya flea infested little creep.

    Posted by Vulcan | August 7, 2014, 12:02 pm
  45. Mustap said: “According to Snowden, Baghdad is a Mossad agent.”

    Actually, it was according to the Iranian official news agency, not Edward Snowden. Obviously stupid propaganda.


    Not that anyone in the region needs another reason to hate ISIS.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 7, 2014, 12:12 pm
  46. You need to STFU Vulcan bonehead.


    Posted by mustap | August 7, 2014, 12:18 pm
  47. Amazing what sectarianism and narcissism can do … the Middle East will fall deeper into bloody chaos while everyone is still waiting for his/her sect/tribe/group to win.

    Posted by Camille Otrakji | August 7, 2014, 12:29 pm
  48. Whatcha gonna do little man? Issue a fatwa?

    Posted by Vulcan | August 7, 2014, 12:46 pm
  49. QN said,

    “Not that anyone in the region needs another reason to hate ISIS.”

    Well, hating in this case is relative Dr. Elias. Let’s compare:

    Assad killed over 200,000 so far and counting. Baghdadi killed few thousands so far and also counting. On this scale Assad attracts WAY MORE hatred.

    Assad tortured hundreds of thousands in Nazi-like camps. Torture is not in Baghdadi’s vocabulary. He prefers killing in a signature way. Assad again wins by default on this scale.

    Assad displaced millions of people. Baghdadi displaced couple hundred thousand so far. Again Assad wins on this scale.

    So, it appears to the naked that eye Assad wins with distinction on all counts. Baghdadi has way way to go.

    What kind of dialogue you and your buddy want to conduct in order to sanitize a far worse criminal at the expense of a far lesser junior criminal? WHEN DO YOU WANT TO SQUASH ASSAD? That’s the only relevant issue for the Fertile Crescent at the moment until Baghdadi graduates to Assad’s level.

    Your whole point is moot, QN. Whether it was a conspiracy theory or a real theory is not the issue.

    Posted by Mustap | August 7, 2014, 1:25 pm
  50. I’m going to issue a fatwa. Only the people can elect a leader, and the leader is in office only 4 years. Oh, and there must be freedom of speech according to my fatwa.

    Greetings from Key West, Fl.

    PS –

    Alex, r u still supporting Dr. Assad and his lovely wife?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 7, 2014, 5:15 pm

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