Monday, 8 August 2005

All Fall apart

An excellent post by Michael Young on

In Iraq, we're witnessing the consequences of this daily. In Syria, Alawites can no longer purport to be as one with Sunnis under the great Baathist tent, since the levers of power are not only in Alawite hands, but actually in the hands of the Assad family. In Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Shiites remain second-class citizens, despite halting efforts to give them some rights. In fact, in many parts of the Arab world the nation-state format offers few convincing solutions to the myriad social and political cleavages.

Lebanon alone, while suffering from the same problems as elsewhere, acknowledged this reality by creating a sectarian system. Though much maligned by Arab nationalists and their cheerleaders, it may be a way for the future.

As Tony funnily but rightfully said on Accross the Bay:

One could add the recent clashes in Syria between Alawis and Ismailis. No wonder Buthaina Shaaban's been screaming Arab nationalism like there's no tomorrow.

Now that's a model Aflak did not think of!

Arab society is divided by nature, along tribal or sectarian lines. It has been that way since always, even before Muhammad's times. The only way to take the path of development is to acknowledge that fact and go for some kind of federal system. Panarabists fail to see that simple evidence. A whole generation was build an this absurdity and they simply cannot see that the facts oppose their utopia.

Tuesday, 2 August 2005

Moral superiority?

A lot of people are debating about the handling of the SLA (see here and here). I am definitely for an amnesty law. It’s mandatory for a genuine inter-Lebanese reconciliation.

Anyway this amnesty should only apply to common SLA soldiers. Those who were involved in Khiam tortures and in serious human rights violations should be excluded. Amnesty is for fighters, not war criminals.

My point of view is that what happened in the North wasn’t better than what happened in the South. I am not saying that the Israeli behaviour is excusable but since people who collaborated with Syria are free, so should be the people who collaborated with Israel. I posted the following point of view on many blog.

Israel invaded and occupied Lebanon? Syria did the same and for much longer. Israel did a blockade on west Beirut in 83? Syria did a blockade on the bigger Aoun-controlled regions for a longer time. Israel bombed west-Beirut? Syria bombed east-Beirut even more. Israel abducted Lebanese citizens? Syria abducted more from all sects (have you ever read Solida or Amnesty reports? Horrible). You could continue this list forever.

I was (predictably) replied that it wasn’t the same thing because pan-Arab ideology was morally superior to which I (predictably) replied the following

Let us talk about the morally superior Baathist ideology. Beside the fact that this ideology justifies dictatorship, it advocates the use of force to unite the 'Arab nation'. Michel Aflak wrote that if some Arabs (= Maronites which I am not to answer your next question) deny their Arabism, they must be brought back to the motherland through all meanings, including brutal force (well that's hot news).

Anyway who are we kidding? Do you think that Jumblat was a socialist interested by the people's welfare? The guy was so secular socialist that even the Christian members of the PSP were not spared during the 83 Shouf cleansing. It was the Baath who dismantled the United Arab Republic in 1961 – which was a total failure BTW. It was Hafez el Assad the 'secular' pan-Arabist who isolated Syria from the Arab world, banned all travels to the only other country controlled by the Baath and built an Alawite-controlled security apparatus in order to control Syria's Sunnis. How secular and pan-Arab of him. Guess how much different his Iraqi carbon copy was?

They fought for a better ideology? Who are you joking?

The amnesty should apply on everybody or the same crime should be punished in the same way. This remind me of some communists who pretend that their killings are more excusable than the Nazi genocide because the underlying ideology is more acceptable (or so they say). Pan-Arab ideology may be a positive ideology for you but I only see a form of pseudo-nationalistic fascism. Let’s not even talk about the superior Islamic ideology of Hezbollah who never had any moral problem in blowing hundreds of foreign peacekeepers to resist against… democracy. Your moral superiority is a highly subjective point of view.

To conclude, let us quote the great founder of the Baath who brought so much happiness to the world:

"In this struggle we retain our love for all. When we are cruel to others, we know that our cruelty is in order to bring them back to their true selves, of which they are ignorant. Their potential will, which has not been clarified yet, is with us, even when their swords are drawn against us."

[Each Arab] "is forced to return to himself, to sink into his depths, to discover himself anew after experience and pain. At that point the true unity will be realized, and this is a new kind of unity different from political unity; it creates the unity of spirit among the individuals of the nation."
Michel Aflaq

Wednesday, 27 July 2005

American strikes against Syria?

Will the USA retaliate against Syria after the UN commision headed by Mehlis releases its conclusions?

In May 2005, Iraqi guerrilla leaders held a meeting in the city of Hasaka (Syrian Kurdistan), see article below. But these were no ordinary leaders. These were the top-3 baath leaders and a representative of Zarqawi. The aim of the meeting was to reorganize the guerrilla and to coordinate the anti-American actions. Needless to say that this did not improve the relation between Syria and the USA. According to a testimony on Joshua Landis’ blog, there is a consensus in the pentagon that something must be done about Syria. The generals are pushing for military actions, probably air/missile strikes since we are not talking about regime change righ now.

Won't he get the message?

The final decision belongs to the White-House, not to the generals. But the current administration is increasingly irritated by the continuous flow of Syrian provocations. First there is Lebanon: the country is facing a Syrian blockade and it is widely believed that Damascus is behind the terror campaign in Beirut (or most of it). Moreover, Damascus is continuing its support to terror organization such as Hezbollah or Hamas. But the main problem for Washington is that Syria is harbouring Iraqi rebels who are doing a lot of harm to Iraq’s stability and killing American soldiers.

The United States have been careful with Syria because of one simple reason: nobody knows what will come up if the regime was to fall. The standard opinion in Washington is that there's enough work in Iraq right now. On the other hand, Washington cannot remain passive while Syria is destabilizing the region. Bachar assumes that he cannot be removed because it would create too much instability in his country. However, the same was true for Saddam’s Iraq and this did not prevent the US from ousting him. An air strike would be a perfect compromise between these two conflicting objectives (stopping Sryia without destabilizing it). It will send to Bachar the following message “you are expandable”, “stop your games”. Moreover, Bachar controls the security apparatus now. It is rumoured that the remaining old guard representatives (Chareh and Kanaan) will be leaving very soon. Rifaat, Khaddam, Tlass and Bahjat Suleiman are out of the game. He cannot hide behind the 'old guard' excuse anymore.

And the winner is...

The ideal timeline would be to attack after the UN inquiry commission on Harris’s murder headed by Detlev Mehlis turns in its report around September 15th. If the UN formally accuses Syria of the assassination, it would give a perfect pretext to strike against Damascus. Few would contest a strike against a state which killed the prime minister of another country. If the United Nations were to incriminate Syria, no Arab country would stand behind Bachar.

Intelligence Online June 3, 2005
Kurdish officials say the insurgency found renewed strength in northern Iraq in May, after the Baath Party held a meeting in the Syrian town of Hasaka.The party reorganized itself, expelling more than half the membership, or anyone who had dealings with the United States, the Iraqi government or even humanitarian aid groups. The new Baath leaders are Mohammad Younis al-Ahmad and Ibrahim Sabawi, Hussein's half-brother and the former head of Iraq's general security directorate.

In addition, American intelligence discovered that followers of the Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Mussa Al Zarqawi -- including the "hero" of the battle of Fallujah, Omar Hadid -- held a meeting in the Syrian city of Hasaka in mid-May to coordinate operations with three leaders of the Ba'ath insurgency. The trio were highest on the Americans' wanted list in Iraq: Ezzat Ibrahim al Duri, who issued an "appeal to the Ba'athist and Islamic resistance" for the first time on May 26; Mohamed Younes al Ahmed, a former Ba'ath party leader; and Ahmed Hassan al Obeidi, ex chief of the General Intelligence Service in the Kurkuk region. In response to the meeting, the American military issued a warning to Syrian officers at a gathering on May 17 at the border post of Al Walid which was attended by the American military attaché in Damascus and his three deputies. The Americans came away empty-handed from the meeting. Still, the Syrians have since assigned some of their troops returning from Lebanon to patrol duty along the Iraqi frontier. The U.S. has bolstered its positions at Al Qaim, Tel Affar and Husaybah.

Monday, 25 July 2005

Apology to Fachar

Apology to Fachar
Next time maybe?

The Syrian state-controlled press has launched heavy attacks on Saad Hariri and is reclaiming an apology for Lebanon's hostility to Syria. In order to diminish the brotherly tensions between our two brotherly countries, I would like to apologize in the name of all Lebanese.

“We apologize for being occupied by Syria, we promise it won’t happen again”. Vox Populi

I can’t stress the second part of the sentence enough.

Syria's Media Demands Beirut Apology for Anti-Assad 'Insults' before Seniora Goes to Damascus
Syria's state-run media has demanded a public apology from Beirut for alleged insults unleashed against the Assad regime in the aftermath of Rafik Hariri's assassination, saying even this apology may virtually not be enough to normalize relations and call off Syria's ongoing trade war against Lebanon.
The tirade by the editor-in-chief of the Baath Party's Al Baath newspaper, Elias Mourad, preempted a planned trip by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora to Damascus for talks with the Assad administration to lift its land blockade against Lebanon, which is savagely squeezing the Lebanese economy.
Seniora has declared that he would go to Damascus right after the Lebanese parliament gives his newly formed government a vote of confidence. A Ministerial committee on Sunday finalized the policy statement upon which Seniora would seek and get the confidence vote over the weekend.

"The feelings of the Syrian citizens call for the refusal to deal or receive any Lebanese who incited against Syria or insulted its people and its leadership," wrote Mourad. "Those politicians are not acceptable for us."
He denounced what he called "the ongoing anti-Syria abusive agitation by the media and political figures" in Beirut and said "none of those who have insulted Syria or offended its leaders will be welcome in Damascus until they apologize to the Syrian people." Whether the Assad government would add Mourad's apology stance to its official demand for compensations to the families of 37 Syrian workers allegedly killed after Hariri's death remains to be seen. But the article in the ruling party's official newspaper is a chilling warning on its own.

Saturday, 23 July 2005

My first post : what is the aim of this blog?

My first post : what is the aim of this blog?

We the People

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"

The American declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776

This blog is dedicated to the establishment of a Lebanese Federation that will allow Lebanese Christians and other religious minorities to control their own fate. The disappointing experience of the last decades showed that non-Muslims are despised and barely tolerated in this part of the world, despite the facts that they are living on these lands since pre-Islamic times. By virtue of our right to self-determination, recognized by the UN and the international law, we want a referendum that will allow us to redefine our relations with the Lebanese state.

My first blog was in the French language but most people in Lebanon and the Middle East are increasingly using English. So I decided to use English, even if I don't master this language and I am pretty sure I will make a few spelling mistakes from time to time. But I hope that the substance will be more important than the form.

I find this text of the Declaration of Independence beautiful. I can’t imitate this elegant style, but I will do my best to spread these ideas.