Friday, November 07, 2008

The US and Syria: Belligerence and National Security

Amidst the celebration of Obama's election as President of the United States the world seems to have forgotten the recent helicopter incursion by US forces into Syria to allegedly terminate some individual that apparently constituted a danger to US national security.

Last month a raid was carried out a few kilometres inside the Syrian border with Iraq.

I have not seen much reaction in the US media about it nor much outcry in international places maybe because the Americans are a bit embarrassed and do not know what to think about this 'incident' and maybe because the Europeans are totally flabbergasted as it does not fit in with the direction the current Syrian -EU-US relations was going into?

You can check what happened on you can read in these BBC articles. I also recommending reading Joshua Landis has compilation of reports and commentaries.

Additionally, Syrian blogger Ayman raises some disturbing questions , namely who was really the targeted "Jihadist smuggler" allegedlly living in Syria in that specific village?
He concludes " Badran Turki Hishan or Khalid Suleiman? Damascus, Zabadani, Boukamal or Mosul? Killed in 2005 or 2008 or still alive? I am not expecting the people who shamelessly lied about Iraqi WMDs to provide answers or evidence. I am hoping the media would bother to investigate the truth before simply labeling the men murdered in Boukamal as bodyguards of a mysterious terrorist.".

Very mysterious stuff indeed, we don't really know if this wanted guy was taken down but as usual with American firepower there is "collateral damage" of innocents including women and children.

Like Ayman I don't think the US government cares about anyone or anything. This behaviour has been clear throughout the decades- don't get me wrong, I am not talking here about the general American populace which in my opinion are quite naive and busy with other things. Coincidentally watching the movie "body of lies" that day and it struck me how everything is a lie in the politics and foreign policy of the United States.

The plot of the movie/book is nicely laid out here, but it basically centers on a "plan to lure a terrorist leader named Al-Saleem out of hiding by making it appear that a rival yet fake organization has become as scary, deadly and effectual as Al-Saleem's own group.".
To do this everything is allowed from framing an innocent Arab man to sacrificing a CIA operative or even allies of the US in Iraq and other countries once they are milked out of information or they become useless and ask for assylum to America when their life becomes in danger. This demonstrates the usual US stances that will "stop at nothing to protect the highest goal, national security".

I have nothing to say to that but it does to me put in context the recent raid in Syria. If the US deems there is danger it won't stop at anything including violations of international laws.

The US says it is waging 'war on terrorism' and that this is a just war. The US considers that 9/11, an embassy attack, a hostage situation, the taking down of a plane, the presence of an unauthorised military power in its country or an attack on its properties for example as declaration of war and worthy of a retaliatory attack.

Could not the recent border raid be considered as a belligerent attitude and a casus belli for Syria? is that not a declaration of war by the United States. Does it not demonstrate total disregard for borders and others besides its own navel?

I am wondering what would the US government have done if Syria (or Venezuela :P) had flown helicopters into the US to take out someone that Syrians or Venezuelans think is a threat to them. Or what if Syria carried out a similar act over the Israeli border?

I am confident that in both cases America would have carpet bombed Syria/Venezuela and stated loudly that the Syrian or Venezuelan action was a clear declaration of war even before starting to claim that international treaties and conventions and laws etc were violated. Israel would have also declared war on Syria and cried wolf at the UNSC.

Bloggers and pundits would be having a field day beating the drums of war against Syria or Venezuela if we take my example. But if America aggresses another country I think it is the rare American who would attempt to justify this taking it as granted that Americas action are always justified and beyond reproach.

Questions come to my mind about what was the Bush administration thinking last week when they authorised this incursion into the Syrian border and what evil lies behind it? Although Syria's retaliation would have been justified in the name of national interest and in self defense, I think that its coolness of head and taking the matter to the UN is better is wiser. Firstly because Syria does not have the military/economic power to fight the US Goliath and secondly because this frustrates whatever evil plans the US has to drag one more Arab country into its net of destruction.

There is always time to seek revenge.

The outstanding point now is to seek compensations for innocent victims of this raid along the same line as the Lockerbie and Berlin Disco cases.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Ramadan and back to blogging

I feel like blogging again, but first Ramadan Kareem we in3ad 3alekum.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Exit – Reentry visa for Iraqis in Syria

My sister has a problem , four times a year her husband hauls her and their children to Iraq. The trip to the Rabiaa border crossing ( different from the Tanef border ) is harrowing and expensive so why do they go through with it ?

Map courtesy of the Telegraph news.

Because after 3 months their visa expires and it is easier to go to the border get their passport stamped and re-enter Syria then apply for residence status if you do not have a job contract.

Syria has probably the best immigration laws for visitors so it is not mistreating the Iraqis – all Arabs enter without a visa in Syria,they only need to make their stay legal after 3 months.

Since the US invasion in 2003, Syria has absorbed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees. Their presence has affected the Syrian economy in that real estate prices have risen extensively and this has negatively affected the buying capacity of the Syrian citizen, even though many industries have grown to cater to the large Iraqi community we have here.
Syrian hospitality is legendary and you would expect the Iraqi military ( or whatever you can call them now – no offense meant ) to be hepful to their own people at the border crossings by stamping routinely the passport of Iraqis . Nope it does not happen this way, the new recruits are mostly people who have not made enough money from kickbacks yet and they also have to follow the orders of the American military who are the real boss there on that border. According to the 'boss' the Iraqi has to stay 24hrs in Iraq before stamping his passport and letting him leave Iraq. The trip is so expensive and when you have a whole family with wife and kids where in no man’s land can you stay ? It’s even worse if your wife is Syrian because now apparently she needs a visa to enter Iraq ( was not needed before ), while the Iraqis still do not need a visa. So my sister stays on the Syrian border while her husband and children stand on the other side of the border with their dad waiting either for an Iraqi soldier to have the guts to make a decision in his own country and stand up to the occupation or for the occupation boss to feel sorry for the kids amassing and crying to around their dads and needing to be changed into clean diapers or fed or whatever. I’m telling this adds so much to the peaceful image. These people stay at the border because they cannot afford to travel to Baghdad which is about 5 hours more and very very dangerous . It is enough that they had to go trough the grueling journey of the Syrian desert where the bus does not do bathroom stops or any stops because of ‘highwaymen’. Another alternative to shorten the journey is to take a plane to Kamishli and then drive to Rabiaa border point from there.
Thank you America for making not only Iraqis’ lives harder but also Syrian wives lives. I appreciate that you are thinking of your own security and trying to prevent terrorists and wannabe jihadis but you should have done that 3 years ago not now when those people know how to dodge you.

Update : now I hear that all his family want to come to Syria because the security situation is simply unbearable in Iraq.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Cartoon Controversy

A lot of water has passed under the bridge following the tasteless stereotypical and shocking ‘Danish cartoons’ and the not less shockingly violent response in the Islamic world. I haven’t really broached this topic as I was waiting for things to cool down and also too much ink ( or for that matter megabytes) has already been devoted to it.

This is not an Islamic-Christian conflict because Christianity in the West is just as badly handled as Islam ( in terms of caricaturing etc…). Even in so called ‘democratic’ countries, freedom of expression is not absolute but is governed by laws. Claiming the right to publish Islamophobic caricatures in the name of democracy is the best and shortest way to discredit this very democracy in the eyes of millions of Muslims and to pit peoples against each other.
Neither society nor civilization can live without freedom but at the same time they cannot live without interdictions . Hence, the West is currently living in a crisis - a spiritual crisis; while the Muslim countries -characterized for years by failure and impotence would still be deserving of respect despite the reactions. Maybe we would like to make the West ponder about its own society?

However, does that mean that one of the two camps should concede, abandon freedom of expression or accept to be insulted in the wave of such a ‘freedom’? A freedom which if not properly guided can hide the greatest intolerance of all. We have to think deeply of the significance of this crisis. If the cartoons have hurt it is a demonstration of an ignorance of the multiple complex reality of the Middle East.
If the calls for censorship have shocked , they show ignorance of the history and values of the West.

So the clash is that of ignorance on both sides and NOT of civilizations. The solution is not in mutual renunciation of our identity, but lies in discovering each other in hearing each other in understanding what brings us together but also what distinguishes us from each other. Knowing each other is UNDERSTANDING, understanding means ACCEPTING each other.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Aleppo , the centre of Islamic culture

"Aleppo has been chosen as the capital of Islamic culture considering its status as a bridge between the western and eastern cultures".

click to read more.
Syrian chemist discovers Pharaoh's secret

According to alarabonline , a Syrian chemist succeeds in decoding the composition of the mummifying techniques used by the Pharaohs. I can't find a link in English yet on Azam Zahrawi's discovery even though it seems to have been quoted originally by Reuters.
Maybe this guy is simply of Syrian origin?I'll update if I find more.
Well many people have searched for the elixir of eternity

If you want to read all about mummies check this cool website: Mummy tomb.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Islamists in Syria

Well thanks to the changed balance in the ME, we have now increased prospective terrorists and terror. Yes Islamism is on the rise in Syria.