Lobbying for Syrian dictatorship, Israel leaves no doubt about its support for counterrevolution in Arab world

on 58 Comments

Via As’ad, here’s a tweet from CNN’s Ben Wedeman:

Good Egyptian source just back from Washington says israel is syrian regime’s most ardent advocate with congress, Obama administration.

And don’t forget Ted Koppel’s revelation, that Israel wants the US to intervene on behalf of the Saudi dictatorship. (This whole post was taken from Ali Gharib).

58 Responses

  1. Sand
    May 8, 2011, 12:40 pm

    Makes me wonder what Specter was up to with this 20 (now) odd visits that apparently Dept of State knew nothing about.

    — February 24, 2010

    SENATOR SPECTER: “…The question on my mind that I alerted him to this yesterday as to whether the stalemate might be broken between Syria and Israel on negotiations if the President were to invite them to the Oval Office…

    SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Senator, I certainly will look at anything that might break the stalemate. I’m not sure that that would be acceptable or doable to all of the parties involved, but certainly our goal is to help facilitate a resumption of talks between Israel and Syria. We think it’s absolutely necessary for Israel’s security and future to try to move the whole region toward a more peaceful state. So we’ll certainly take any idea you have under consideration because you have been – I don’t know how many times you’ve been to Syria by now, but it’s –

    SENATOR SPECTER: Eighteen.

    SECRETARY CLINTON: Eighteen. It’s more than anybody else that I personally know. So we take what you say – and that’s why Under Secretary Burns called to report to you – we take what you say very seriously and we’ll certainly consider it.

    link to state.gov
    Just wondering — I’d like to know more?

    • Walid
      May 8, 2011, 2:24 pm

      I said a couple of weeks back that Israel wouldn’t be happy to see the fall of the Syrian regime. This is because with the current Syrian iron-fisted regime, Israel hasn’t heard a shot fired on the Golan since 1973. You also have to account for the relationship created by the 2 countries by the annual importing of Golan-grown apples by Syria since 6 years and the twice failed sessions to relinquish or share the Golan. They are closer to each other than what they are both letting on and they share a common aversion to seeing an Islamic Palestine. The fall of the Baathist regime would bring the currently outlawed Islamic fundies to power and to Israel’s borders. Israel already has its hands full with the prospect of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists occupying over half Egypt’s parliament this coming fall.

      • Sand
        May 8, 2011, 5:40 pm

        Yeah! It’s going to be kinda a watch this space…

      • Avi
        May 9, 2011, 12:53 am

        You also have to account for the relationship created by the 2 countries by the annual importing of Golan-grown apples by Syria since 6 years


        The apples are actually a product of Druze villages in the occupied Golan. So, Syria agreed to import the produce so as to allow the Syrian Druze farmers (under Israeli occupation) to continue and maintain their agricultural base. It is not a matter of collaboration between Israel and Syria on the level that you perceive it.

      • Walid
        May 9, 2011, 10:56 am

        Avi, about those apples, I see them on the news every year being transferred in Red Cross trucks with news clips of the cases all bearing Hebrew markings being readied for shipment at the huge Israeli co-op warehouses on the Golan and everyone in the clips is wearing a yarmulkah, not the typical Druze black sherwal. This year the shipment of apples was a 6-year record 12,000 tonnes. Syria claims it’s doing it to help the Golan’s 12,000 Druze keep their jobs. The agricultural base you mentioned is run by the Israeli settler movement, not by the Syrian Druze. It’s nice for Syria to be thinking of jobs for the 12,000, that I think it’s helping Israel more than it’s helping the Druze, but what is it doing for the other 200,000 Syrian Golan refugees that fled or were chased out and had 100 of their villages destroyed by Israel 44 years ago?

        link to demotix.com

    • RoHa
      May 8, 2011, 7:30 pm

      “Makes me wonder what Specter was up to”

      For a minute there I thought you had misspelled SPECTRE, and I put on my monocle and took out my old white Persian cat.

      Then I saw it was someone else you meant.

      Back to retirement, then.

  2. braciole
    May 8, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Isn’t there something wrong here? The Israeli government pressing the US government to support that bunch of really rabid anti-Semites aka the Saudi royal family.

    • Walid
      May 8, 2011, 2:30 pm

      braciole, Syria and Saudia are currently on opposite teams because of events in Bahrain and Lebanon; Israel wants the best of both worlds so like any good politician, it’s backing both.

      • seafoid
        May 8, 2011, 3:44 pm

        Israel can’t afford under any circumstances to have the neighbours as democracies. It is in its own way the diplomatic equivalent of the Alawi minority in Syria.

  3. justicewillprevail
    May 8, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Well, The Guardian is reporting that Iran is assisting Syria in its crackdown on rebels. What a wonderful, and revealing irony, that Israel is joining Iran in desiring to keep a dictatorship in place, and that their interests are best served by hardline governments who repress their people. After all, despite the reams of dissembling and camouflage, it turns out Israel hasn’t any time for genuine democracy, either at home or surrounding it. The only democracy acceptable to it is a manipulated, selective and gerrymandered one at home, and none at all elsewhere. Funnily enough, Iran, like Israel, has elections but there is no genuine choice or enfranchisement of the population, whilst the ruling ideology is kept intact and out of bounds. Anti-democrats appear to have more in common than they have differences.

  4. seafoid
    May 8, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Of course Israel is the baath party’s strongest advocate.
    The system is breaking down and Israel knows this is not good for
    the Jewish Sparta.

  5. Richard Witty
    May 8, 2011, 2:59 pm

    This is the sum total of your commentary on Syria in recent weeks?

    • James North
      May 8, 2011, 3:06 pm

      Richard’s point is well taken. The $3 billion that we Americans give to Syria every year, in both civilian and military aid, and the tremendous power of the Syrian Lobby to prevent Congress and other elected officials from examining abuses there, should not silence us. Why, just the other day a distinguished American playwright was denied an honorary degree from a university in New York City because he had criticized Syria.

      • Richard Witty
        May 8, 2011, 3:13 pm

        That was clever.

        You use humor to illuminate so effectively.

        (I hope I am not accused of lying in this post.)

      • Donald
        May 8, 2011, 4:33 pm

        It was clever and James made the point quite clearly. There’s not a whole lot of support for the Syrian dictatorship in America. At the same time it’s hard to know what is likely to happen there.

        I have to admit I am surprised by this claim that Israel supports the current Syrian government. I would not have expected that (assuming it is true).

      • Sand
        May 8, 2011, 7:14 pm

        Let’s put it this way — I think it’s interesting we’re getting the benign message from our zionist Hills that there’s nothing to be concerned about when it comes to Syria — and that we should “move along, move along”

        Clinton holds out hope Syria’s government will reformJosh Rogin [5/6/11]

        “…The difference between the situations in Syria and Libya is that the Syrian government might still come around and pursue a reform agenda, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday.

        — In an interview with Lucia Annunziata of Italy’s “In Mezz’Ora” in Rome, Clinton was asked whether the United States was applying a double standard when dealing with Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi and other Arab dictators who are killing their citizens, such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

        — Clinton explained that she still held out hope that the Syrian government would institute reforms that could satisfy the demands of protesters and end the government-sponsored violence against civilians. There was no hope for that outcome in Libya, she said.

        link to thecable.foreignpolicy.com

      • Philip Weiss
        May 8, 2011, 8:57 pm

        thank you, helpful

      • Chaos4700
        May 8, 2011, 9:27 pm

        Witty, normally you take five paragraphs of screen space just to tie your shoes in the morning. You haven’t given yourself enough room to repeat any of your stock lies.

      • James
        May 8, 2011, 5:06 pm

        james – yer post puts a smile on my face as i see now where you were going with this! too funny!

      • Max Ajl
        May 8, 2011, 5:35 pm

        James —

        What 3 billion dollars that we “give” to Israel? By my calculations, we give 2.25 billion dollars a year to American arms manufacturers, and give Israel 2.25 billion dollars worth of weapons. Having given Israel the latest goodies, we can sell last year’s models to the Saudis and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Of course, “sell” is a bit of a euphemism: the dollar the Saudis use to buy those weapons comes from the Western oil consumer, in effect a regressive tax on the American working class. Right and the 750 million that is uniquely allowed to stay in Israel? It goes to the Israeli weapons industry. But who owns that industry? Russian, American, and Israeli capital, which is why the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ move in lockstep. None of that takes away from the uniqueness of the Special Relationship, nor the way American Jewish identity is mobilized behind support for Israel. As you correctly point out, that manipulation of identity — most of the Lobby’s work — acts a buffer between the Democratic base and Congress, and also as a way to carry out witch-hunts and prevent criticism of Israel from leading cultural figures. But until all these issues are disaggregated, our discourse on the issue will be missing the target.

      • Elliot
        May 8, 2011, 9:28 pm

        Josh Ruebner is my go-to guy on this stuff.
        All the facts and figures at:
        link to weaponstoisrael.org

      • straightline
        May 9, 2011, 5:44 am

        Here’s a good source.

        link to fas.org

        I won’t bore you with details but the bottom is that Israel will receive $3 billion of “military assistance” in Fiscal 2011, paid in the first month of the year and allowed to accrue interest in Federal interest bearing accounts (unique for Israel) – the interest is used to pay off its debts to the US. Israel can spend up to 26% of the original funding on equipment made in Israel – another exception for Israel . Israel is now considered a fully industrialized nation and no longer receives economic aid – though it has reached that position partly through US aid, loans, free trade agreements, and scientific exchange programs.

      • straightline
        May 9, 2011, 6:20 am

        Another interesting fact, in case you are thinking that “military assistance” is not real money. A significant purchase from its military assistance funding is of 20 F-35s (Joint Strike Fighters) at a cost of $2.75B. As part of the deal, the US agreed to a reciprocal purchase of estimated $4B of parts from Israeli defense industries.

      • Max Ajl
        May 9, 2011, 10:27 am

        So weapons that kill brown people made by manufacturing plants that are owned by American capital even if they are sited in Israel are an offense and stealing good American jobs devoted to military-industrial profiteering, but weapons that kill brown people made by manufacturing plants that are owned by American capital sited in America are not an such offense? Explain to me how that works, and how to organize a movement for regional de-militarization on the basis that bombs that kill brown people should be made by white workers in our white country and not by white/brown workers in the Middle East. The ones who own the plants, who are the same people, love to see us bickering about nationalism instead of the fact that it is American taxpayer money going to feed capitalists, which is the real problem, and the real role of Israel in the world economic system: making the rich richer, while the brown bodies pile up. I am familiar with the numbers you cite above. I wrote, “None of that takes away from the uniqueness of the Special Relationship, nor the way American Jewish identity is mobilized behind support for Israel.” Did you read those lines?

        Furthermore, I just explained it to you: when Israel is given those F-35s, the Saudis can then be sold the F-16s, maintaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge, while selling more useless hardware to the KSA which piles up in warehouses and the dollar piles up in Lockheed Martin which is happy to use nationalism to confuse you but doesn’t care where the dollar that pads its corporate bottom line is coming from. The F-35 wing parts deal is a small part of the total production cost of the planes. The plants that make those wings are I believe owned by IAI. Slated for privatization. Which will happen in due course and it will be snapped up by American investors, who doesn’t much care where the factory is located but are happy that Jewish nationalism contributes to an inflamed Middle East that they can keep profiting off of. The “military assistance” is what it is: you have to track where it ends up, which involves tracking who owns what and which capitalists make money off of what purchases. Why should you do that? Because that’s what they do, and that’s how the system works, and if you want to disrupt a complex machinery of death, you better know where to throw in the monkey-wrench.

  6. James
    May 8, 2011, 3:06 pm

    must be tough being a country that advocates democracy on the one hand, while continuing to support dictators on the other…. at least the usa and israel share this in common!!!

    link to english.aljazeera.net

    • Walid
      May 8, 2011, 4:20 pm

      James, the journalist should of course be released but you have to put this story in context and not enter and exit with a link to her story. Jazeera has been conducting a massive anti-regime campaign on Syria for over 3 weeks with reports and videos of events being filed not by reliable jurnalists but by activists over dozens of expensive Thuraya satellite phones mysteriously provided to them by unknown parties and each report and video aired by Jazeera is preceded with the qualifying “our sources in Syria told us that…” followed by “this report contains amateur video footage which cannot be independently verified…” This is not very serious journalism, especially coming from the the Jazeera we have grown accustomed to.

      The following video transcript was taken from a video page from your link and it shows what Jazeera has been broadcasting:

      “Syria’s ‘Day of Defiance’ ends in bloodshed
      Published 06 May 2011 18:58 3672 Views
      It was billed a ‘day of defiance’, but this Friday has ended in bloodshed. Syrian security forces have reportedly killed up to 30 protesters who were calling for the end of President Bashar al-Assad’s leadership. Scores of people and opposition figures, including Riad Saif, a well-known activist and a member of parliament, were arrested. And, in response to the growing crackdown, the European Union has now agreed to impose sanctions on government officials. Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr’s report contains amateur video footage which cannot be independently verified.”

      There is never any mention on Jazeera of the 30 soldiers killed and the 200 injured by freedom-seeking rooftop snipers.

      There is nothing saintly about the regime in Syria and I’m not arguing that it shouldn’t change to become more democratic, but I’m critical of outside forces working underhand to instigate the overthrow of a regime irrespective of how undemocratic it may be. It’s evident there’s unrest there to have so many willing to demonstrate alongside the instigators. It’s a repeat of what has been going on in Libya with the rebels having been mysteriously armed to the teeth and backed by a massive disinformation media campaign.

      • James
        May 8, 2011, 6:38 pm

        walid – thanks for your extended comments… it seems propaganda is a tool that is being used both ways, but why is it we generally only hear about it when it serves a particular side? now al jaaerra may be pushing for a particular outcome and avoiding some of the ugly truths while doing so, but now where do we see this regularly happening? i think it is good to question the motives behind the information being made available… it is a fun idea to think it just comes with no strings attached but as we have seen in the lead up to the war in iraq and in many instances since, much of the information is being groomed to cultivate a particular outcome… thanks for talking about this in this particular example..

    • pabelmont
      May 8, 2011, 5:58 pm

      It’s actually not hard. The media are far too polite to notice the discrepancy. After all, some things just aren’t said in public, you know. And politicians are used to making deals and snuggling with strange bedfellows. “It is what it is” is a complete description of absolutely everything. It’s not tough at all. (And, recall, advocating is just talk; supporting is often money or arms or something else real.)

      • James
        May 8, 2011, 6:40 pm

        i don’t kow if the media is far too polite as opposed to not having a shred of integrity.. at least that is how i generally think of media outlets like the wapo and some others…

    • Sumud
      May 8, 2011, 6:41 pm

      The Only Democracy In The Middle East …That Supports Dictatorships

  7. Richard Witty
    May 8, 2011, 5:52 pm

    800 dead in the same period as Cast Lead, killed by their own security apparatus. Tanks open firing on civilian demonstrations.

    2 posts in a month.

    And this one is a post condemning the US and Israel for Israel worrying about instability in the region. (As was reported in Haaretz three times in the last two weeks.)

    • James North
      May 8, 2011, 6:00 pm

      Richard is right again. I’m going to insist that my representatives in Congress cut off the billions in aid to Syria, and I will continue to speak out against the unjust treatment of people like Professor Norman Finkelstein, who was hounded from his teaching job by Alan Dershowitz because he dared to speak out against Syria.

      • Elliot
        May 8, 2011, 9:38 pm

        With three Syrian-American Supreme Court justices, and major Syrian players in the entertainment and finance industries, we should be paying close attention to how Syria betrays our values while exercising such influence in U.S. politics.
        And let us not forget the role Syrian money played in financing President Obama’s election campaign.
        (Thanks, James North!)

      • Philip Weiss
        May 8, 2011, 10:24 pm

        this is funny, elliot!

      • James North
        May 8, 2011, 10:42 pm

        Elliot: Let’s not forget the time that lobbyist for ASPAC (American Syrian Political Action Committee) boasted to a journalist that “in a matter of hours,” he could “have the names of 200 Congressmen on this napkin to endorse another pro-Syria measure.”

    • justicewillprevail
      May 8, 2011, 6:00 pm

      I didn’t realise this was a blog about Syria, i thought it was about Palestine.

      • Richard Witty
        May 8, 2011, 8:19 pm

        The stated purpose is “War of Ideas in the Middle East”.

        North doesn’t want light on Syria for some reason.

        Of the 800 dead, how many are civilians?

      • Chaos4700
        May 8, 2011, 9:25 pm

        So now you’re just openly trying to slander other commentators, huh? Well at least we don’t have to wade through screenfuls of wordspam when you’re showing your true colors.

      • James North
        May 8, 2011, 10:48 pm

        Au contraire, Richard. I call for gigantic searchlights to be directed at Syria — and at all the U.N. resolutions denouncing Syria’s human rights violations that the United States, in the grip for decades of the Syria Lobby, has vetoed.

      • Chaos4700
        May 8, 2011, 10:54 pm

        Oh what’s wrong with you, North? Why do you hate Syrian self-determination, anyway? Are you some kind of fascist? Do you want to have the full weight of the Syrian Lobby crashing down on you by corrupting channels of academic integrity and freedom of movement of thought in the media, the way it did to Tony Kushner?

      • Avi
        May 9, 2011, 12:38 am

        James North May 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm

        Au contraire, Richard. I call for gigantic searchlights to be directed at Syria […]

        Careful what you wish for as richard is under the impression that white phosphorus shells are best for illumination (or smokescreen).

      • Chaos4700
        May 9, 2011, 2:32 am

        Especially when you need to “illuminate” UN schools full of displaced Gazan civilians. Or warehouses full of relief supplies.

      • James
        May 9, 2011, 3:52 pm

        you are on a roll! what a way to silence witty~!

      • Richard Witty
        May 9, 2011, 5:15 pm

        Silencing those that differ is way to keep oneself ignorant.

        Get sober. Self-talk harms.

      • Chaos4700
        May 9, 2011, 5:21 pm

        Yeah, I think James was indulging in wishful thinking. I figured you wouldn’t stay quiet. You’ll just change the subject and call us “fascists” and “ignorant” because we don’t share your zealotry.

        “Self-talk harms?” What, does that make you the ultimate masochist then?

      • James
        May 9, 2011, 6:40 pm

        i agree witty… i think this is why all the attempts at silencing of others on the atrocities of israels actions towards palestinians is not going to go away, in spite of all the propaganda efforts on the part of israel, zionism and yourself… keep trying though… you’re with interesting company…

      • James
        May 9, 2011, 6:47 pm

        chaos 4700 – indeed i was…

  8. Keith
    May 8, 2011, 6:41 pm

    Perhaps it would be interesting to see what ex-Mossad Chief Meir Dagan said in the interview highlighted in the post of 5/7/11: “It will be better for Israel if Syrian President Bashar Assad is removed from power because this will stop help to Hizbollah, and weaken Iranian influence, Dagan said in regards to the situation in Syria. It will also strengthen the Sunni camp in Syria and in the Arab world in general, and these things will be good for Israel strategically, he added.”

    Wesley Clark: “in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.…” (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).

    Of course, things didn’t go as planned. Ongoing Iraqi resistance to occupation and Hezbollah’s successful defense of Lebanon threw the imperial war machine off schedule. Off schedule, but perhaps not abandoned. I wouldn’t put too much credence in some of these news stories. A lot of stuff is going on out of sight. How many are familiar with
    Oded Yinon? He was a high ranking Zionist official who wrote in 1982 that the whole Arab world was like a house of cards which Israel should work to collapse. Something to think about.

    • American
      May 8, 2011, 9:15 pm

      Yea… a lot of stuff is bound to be going on out of sight so almost any comment we make is really guessing.
      The US may be up to it’s old tricks in Syria.
      The only thing I will say that isn’t a guess is the Arabs in the ME states involved are wise to our tricks now.

  9. Avi
    May 9, 2011, 12:50 am

    Actually, the information Wedeman got from alleged Egyptian sources “back from Washington” is disinformation.

    Here is why:

    At the moment, Israel and the US are both backing Salafi groups in Syria in order to topple the regime and send the country into chaos. The goal is to bring about the division that broke out in the post-Saddam Iraq. It used to be that Sunnis and Shias would intermarry in Iraq. Now, they kill each other. Divide-and-Conquer, that is the Western strategy in Syria. So, the country could end up being divided between Sunni, Shia, Kurds and Druze.

    The ultimate aim of Israel’s and the United States’ support for opposition groups in Syria — mainly the Salafis — is the dissolution of the Ba’thist party. That is the jelly that is holding the entire state together as state institutions have been founded by, and for, the Ba’thist party. At the moment, sectarian divisions play no role in the domestic political upheaval in Syria. The aim of outside forces is to agitate for sectarian division.

    That alleged Egyptian sources told him so, is no surprise. That’s how disinformation works, it is leaked through a third party, one that appears –on the surface — to be neutral. The disinfo then gains credibility. But, perhaps Wedeman knows that and that is why he included the bit that those sources have just come “back from Washington”, so as to hint at their complicity.

    • Walid
      May 9, 2011, 3:50 am

      More on information or disinformation campaigns and on Ghassan bin Jiddo that resigned from Jazeera a couple of weeks back because he wouldn’t go along with Jazeera’s “new” direction in reporting ( re Libya, Syria and Bahrain). He’s an ardent nationalist with an aversion to news networks spreading disinformation . He said ”In no way can I be a false witness, being the son of the revolution for freedom, reform and undermining corruption,” adding that he is against media when it descends to the level of instigation, incitement and sedition. Bin Jiddo said he would no longer discuss the network because of something he had signed with the network to that effect but that he would be soon opening his own Arab news network as soon as he finds funding from parties willing to not medde in its editorial content.

      Heavily involved in the ongoing campaign on Jazeera Arabic is Cheikh Yussuf al-Qaradawi that has a weekly program on Jazeera. The Egyptian-born Cheikh with weekly audience of about 40 million viewers is originally from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar’s Gulf Times reported about him at the end of March:

      Qaradawi condemns ‘atrocities’ against protesters in Syria
      By Nour Abuzant
      Staff Reporter

      Al-Qaradawi: criticises Moussa’s remarks

      Qatar-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi yesterday slammed the “suppressive regime” in Syria, condemning the “atrocities” against protesters there.

      He said the “train of the Arab revolution” had arrived in Syria, demanding democracy, political and economic reforms, social justice and an end to corruption.

      The Qatar-based cleric, who enjoys wide respect in the Islamic world, said the regime in Syria could not tolerate any criticism against the presidency or the ruling Ba’ath party.

      “President Bashar Assad is an intellectual man but he has inherited a heavy political legacy that has made him a prisoner of his corrupted entourage” and “for those who wondered that Syria was far away from the revolutions, they have the answer (now).”

      Delivering the Friday sermon at the Omar bin al-Khattab mosque in Doha, Qaradawi said the Arab regimes did not seem to be learning from each other’s mistakes. “We still witness the same scenarios of suppressive policies in dealing with their people.”

      But he was sure that the revolutionary youth would emerge victorious everywhere finally.

      Qaradawi said that he had in the past offered to mediate between Syrian authorities and the Muslim Brotherhood “but someone took care that my initiative had failed”.

      He said that there were many political prisoners in Syria and tens of thousands of expatriate Syrians had been prevented from returning to their homeland. “We are also talking about some 15,000 missing people and their destiny should be immediately revealed.”

      The cleric said the army in Syria would play a “decisive role” like in Yemen.

      He said: “In Libya, reports are talking about 9,000 victims, killed by the regime’s mercenaries in the clashes.”

      “The entire Arab world should stand united and reforms should start from the zero point, away from hypocrisy.”

      Qaradawi criticised the remarks of Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa against the West’s approach towards the no-fly zone over Libya.

      “The operation in Libya is to protect the civilians from Gaddafi’s tyranny.”

      link to gulf-times.com

      Omar al-Issawi, producer and journalist at Jazeera followed up on Qaradawi’s story on his blog Man in the Desert:

      “… A week later on April 1 he responded to calls for a lawsuit to be brought against him in Syria on charges of incitement of sectarianism. Qaradawi decried Syria’s constitution that has “no place” for Islam in it and enshrines the Baath party’s role at the vanguard of the state. He also denied that he is a proponent of sectarianism and retorted that a country shaken by his words is “not a country, it is weaker than a spider’s web… This is the era of change. He who does not change gets trampled underfoot. These regimes have enslaved people…”

      It will be interesting to see if Qaradawi tones down his speeches regarding Syria, especially following the visit to Damascus on Saturday of Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani bearing a verbal message from the Emir of Qatar to President Bashar. The Syrian News Agency said the message affirmed “Qatar’s support for Syria in the face of efforts to undermine the country’s security and stability.” The Qatar News Agency described the message in general, non-specific terms.

      Both Qaradawi and Hamas are disciples of the Muslim Brotherhood. To see the outburst from Meshal is unprecedented, especially as both Hamas and Qaradawi have close links to Qatar which has had very warm relations with Bashar al-Assad.

      link to man-in-a-desert.com

  10. NickJOCW
    May 9, 2011, 7:41 am

    Assad has certain similarities with Saddam Hussein and it might be better for everyone including Syrians if, for the time being, he could be persuaded towards benevolence rather than toppled because like the former he does keep the lid on an otherwise highly volatile mix.

    • Walid
      May 9, 2011, 11:27 am

      Nick, the toppling of Assad wouldn’t be good because it would allow the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to resurface and probably take over. There are equally distressing scenarios if he isn’t. 36-year Mideast veteran journalist Robert Fisk of the Independent in an interview with L’Hebdo about a week back said he feared Assad would apply a scorched earth policy to Lebanon by instigating a civil war there to save his neck if he got desperate. He also said that some of his past predictions proved wrong so go figure which opinion you can rely on. Nobody really knows what’s going on and how to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys. It looks like both sides have some good and some bad and Fisk describes how neither the Americans nor the Europeans have any clue about what goes on the Mideast and how to fix things. The L’Hebdo interview in French.

      link to hebdo.ch

      • NickJOCW
        May 10, 2011, 6:04 am

        Walid, too true. I was picking up the point that enemies may readily want, or not want, the same thing; if they were planning a duel to the death neither would want a thunderstorm at dawn. People are relatively easily united in agreeing what they want to abolish or escape but less so when it comes to what they want in its place. This, of course, is because what they have had enough of exists whereas what they want is still in their heads. My concern would be that if Syria fell into chaos the US/Israel alliance might move in for ‘humanitarian’ reasons.

  11. hophmi
    May 9, 2011, 12:47 pm

    Good. So what is this, third-hand sourced news?

    Fun to watch the conspiracy theorists argue with one another.

    • Avi
      May 9, 2011, 5:11 pm

      Anything that is beyond your brain’s capacity to comprehend is a conspiracy theory. It’s a nice defense mechanism, kind of like believing in a non-existent god because the void that he/she fills is otherwise incomprehensible.

    • Chaos4700
      May 9, 2011, 5:22 pm

      Find those nukes in Iraq yet, Mr. “I voted for Bush”?

  12. lysias
    May 9, 2011, 4:21 pm

    Hillary Clinton is up to her old tricks, preaching human rights to other countries: Biden confronts China on human rights:

    Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confronted China Monday over its recent crackdown on dissent at the opening of talks that are also expected to feature frank discussions about the U.S. budget deficit and China’s undervalued currency.

    Speaking at the opening of the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Biden said the United States welcomes a strong China, but “there is one area where we have vigorous disagreement. … We have vigorous disagreement in the area of human rights.”

    . . .

    “I recognize that some see our advocacy of human rights as an intrusion and Lord only knows what else,” he said.

    But Clinton told her Chinese counterparts, “Societies that work toward respecting human rights are going to be more prosperous, stable and successful.”

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