There is no God but Liberty; our conscience its messenger
Wednesday, March 17, 2004


posted at 11:59 PM by Oubai

Let's Be Friends with Baathist Thugs

In the interest of promoting free speech, we offer a different analysis of Syrian politics from Hussein Ibish, an Arab-American activist, who writes that "it is observed that Syria is a dictatorship, and certainly the Syrian people suffer from a notable lack of democracy in a one-party state. Real reforms are clearly in order, as in almost all Arab states, but cannot come at the point of a gun."

Mr. Ibish, if reforms cannot come at the point of a gun, would you be willing to go on television and denounce the fact that Syrian security forces are using guns to massacre Kurds?

posted at 11:52 PM by Jonathan

Baathist Brutality May Expand, The Civilized World Must Be Firm with Baathist Terror and Support Freedom

The possibility remains that Baathist forces will expand their repression of the Kurdish uprising....... Developments in Syria are being closely watched by Kurdish emigre communities in Australia, Europe, and North America..... Time for pressure to be put on the European Union to issue a firm statement denouncing Baathist repression...... Sources also indicate growing numbers of Lebanese in United States are in favor of Syrian Accountabiity Act which will sanction the Baathists for their support for terrorism and its occupation of Lebanon..... Should the terrorists running the Baath regime feel threatened, the possibility remains that they shall use proxy Palestinian terrorist-murderist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad to commit terrorist attacks against innocents Arabs and Jews in Israel as a means of rallying pan-Arabists against Israel

posted at 11:07 PM by Jonathan

We didn't start the fire

posted at 11:05 PM by Jonathan

Assad Waging War on Kurds?

This from REUTERS:

Kurd leader says Syria waging war on Kurds


By Lin Noueihed

BEIRUT, March 17 (Reuters) - A Syrian Kurdish leader on Wednesday branded days of bloody clashes between police and restive Kurds as a war on his people and demanded more rights.
"Kurds in Syria now are under a lot of pressure. What is happening now in Syria you can really consider a war on the Kurds," said Abdel Baqi Yousef, secretary-general of Yikiti, one of Syria's most active Kurdish parties.

Tensions in some mainly Kurdish areas ran high for a sixth day on Wednesday as Syrian Kurds buried five people shot and killed by police while commemorating chemical attacks on Kurds in the Iraqi town of Halabja in 1988.

posted at 10:59 PM by Jonathan


With Syrian cities now centers of violent clashes between Arabs and Kurds, all Syrians must begin to make a choice: do they want to live under the last Baathist dictatorship? Wouldn't it be better for them to join with all peoples of good will and say "NO" to the Assad dictatorship? The Syrian Baathists are scared of George W Bush - as well they should be, for he has, with the help of Tony Blair and J-M Aznar, and others, removed the Baathist regime that was Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Syria's Kurds, seeing what their brethren next door have accomplished, are no long willing to be treated as third-class citizens by Damascus. Syria's brutal suppression of Kurdish rights is, sadly, nothing new. Syria has long been a brutal dictatorship that, in the 1980s, tortured Syrian Jews and banned them from emigrating. Syria is the country responsible for the murder of Lebanese Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt in 1976. Baathist Syria's crimes are many. Below you will see some photos of the Kurdish uprising in Qamishli. All people of good will should demand that Damascus end its stage of emergency, release political prisoners, end its occupation of Lebanon, and allow its Kurds and all Syrian citizens to live in dignity.

posted at 9:53 PM by Jonathan

Terror in Algeria

With the Algerian presidential election coming up in early April, we will sadly be witnessing more and more Islamist terror attacks in Algeria. Just last week, the police in Algiers were on the look-out for Islamists who may be preparing an attack to disrupt the election.

posted at 9:34 PM by Jonathan

The Baath Legacy of Racism, Anti-Semitism, Violence, Repression, War Crimes, Terrorism

Aside from impoverishing the Syrian people in a totalitarian prison, what else has Baathist Syria done? Plenty. Plenty of crimes.

(1) brutal torture of political dissidents
(2) racism against Syrian Jews and Syrian Kurds
(3) the murder in 1976 of Lebanese Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt (who was of Circassian and Kurdish origin)
(4) occupation of Lebanon and the shelling of Lebanese villages
(5) promoting anti-Semitism and educating Syrian children to hate Jews
(6) aiding Saddam Hussein in his last days in power
(7) harboring terrorist groups that have targeted Israeli children
(8) having a de facto military alliance with North Korea
(9) making a mockery of the United Nations when Syria chaired the Security Council
(10) suppressing the right of Kurds to speak their own language

posted at 9:26 PM by Jonathan

Assad's plan to stay in power requires Kurdish massacre

There is a very real possibility that Assad and his Ba'athst cronies are going to manipulate the current unrest to flame hatred and animosity against the Kurds. Sectarian conflict will prove to be a much needed mandate for the Baath who will in turn promise security. The Baath want people to vent their dissatisfaction with the social and economic failings of society onto the Kurds, this is a tried technique that has worked in the past for various totalitarian regimes. The Kurds are to the Baath what the Jews were to the Nazis--a convenient scapegoat.

posted at 7:39 PM by Oubai

Who has the real power to overthrow the Ba'athists ?

1. US Airforce
2. Foxnews
3. CNN
4. Popular uprising (be it Kurd or otherwise)

Popular unrest is a necessary component for democratic reform and the overthrow of the Baath-terror regime, but it is by no means suffecient for the desired change. It is not that difficult to slip into northern Syria from either Iraq or Turkey, so why in God's name are none of the cable news networks sending a camera crew or at least a reporter with a satellite video phone into the hotbed of unrest that is brewing in Syria right now?

posted at 7:29 PM by Oubai

Silence in America

Where, I ask, are the human rights activists and peace activists? Why aren't they speaking out against Baathism? And what of Islamist p.r. groups here at home who are so quick to condemn anything the Bush Administration does? Does their alleged love for civil liberties not apply to the Kurds of Syria?

posted at 6:24 PM by Jonathan

Fascism Alive and Well in Damascus

Once again, Syrian Baathists fire on Kurds:

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey, March 16 (Reuters) - Syrian forces opened fire on Kurdish protesters in northern Syria close to the border with Turkey on Tuesday, killing seven people in fresh Arab-Kurdish violence, Anatolian news agency said.

In a statement issued by its embassy in Paris, Syria strongly denied any suggestion of inter-ethnic tension and blamed the violence on politically motivated "troublemakers"

posted at 5:43 PM by Jonathan

"The Syrian military, Mukhabarat and Baath Party cadres have launched a premeditated terror campaign to punish the Kurdish minority en masse"

....from the Washington Kurdish Institute

posted at 1:10 PM by Oubai

The Coming North African Jihad?

Unfortunately, I think that the Madrid jihad attack was but the beginning of a new wave of Islamist terrorism that will sweep North Africa. We forget so easily the bombing of the Djerba synagogue in 2002 that killed German tourists and was an attempt to drive a wedge between Muslims and Jews in Tunisia. Countries that have been out of the news - like Mali and Mauritania - may become the next staging areas for terror attacks.

posted at 10:46 AM by Jonathan

Italian Jihad

ROME, March 17 (Reuters) - Cells of Muslim militants willing to carry out suicide bombings exist in several areas of Italy, a leading newspaper reported on Wednesday, quoting a secret report by anti-terrorist investigators.

Excerpts of a recent secret report by the ROS, the crack special section of the Carabinieri para-military police, were published by Rome newspaper La Repubblica on Wednesday

posted at 10:37 AM by Jonathan

"The murderers of Madrid and the murderers of Qamishly are the same. They belong to the same culture of barbarism, despotism and hatred of freedom, diversity, equality and tolerance"

From the banned Yekiti party of Syria

posted at 1:40 AM by Oubai

Claim of Pellet Bomb Used in Syria

This from the Turkish online newspaper, Zaman Daily News:

A businessman, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his commercial interests in Syria, said: There are hundreds of dead in Kamisli. Helicopters drop ellter bombs on Kurds. We hardly survived. Streets are bloody. But these incidents are not reported acurately by the Syrian media. Additional commando reinforcement was brought from Damascus. Ayn Al Arab, particularly, has turned into hell. It took one and a half hours to leave downtown. The same businessman stated that he witnessed pellet bomb usage in the skirmishes in Esrefiye and Ayn Al Arab. Syrian citizens who entered Turkey through Oncupinar made no comment.

posted at 1:12 AM by Jonathan

Baathists Arresting Young Men

From Agence France Presse, reprinted here in the Daily Star (Beirut)

Amnesty International also released an alert Tuesday saying 25 Kurds have been killed since violence erupted from a football match on Friday. It also said hundreds of men and boys as young as 14 were arrested in their homes and named 12 Kurdish students from the University of Damascus who were arrested.

posted at 12:50 AM by Jonathan

Baathist Syria's Love Affair with a Nazi War Criminal

Just a reminder of how Baathist Syria treated its Jewish population:

Syria's attitude toward Jews was reflected in its sheltering of Alois Brunner, one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals. Brunner, a chief aide to Adolf Eichmann, served as an adviser to the Assad regime

In 1987-88, the Syrian secret police seized 10 Jews on suspicion of violating travel and emigration laws, planning to escape and having taken unauthorized trips abroad. Several who were released reported being tortured while in custody.


For years, the Jews in Syria lived in extreme fear. The Jewish Quarter in Damascus was under the constant surveillance of the secret police, who were present at synagogue services, weddings, bar-mitzvahs and other Jewish gatherings. Contact with foreigners was closely monitored. Travel abroad was permitted in exceptional cases, but only if a bond of $300-$1,000 was left behind, along with family members who served as hostages.

posted at 12:36 AM by Jonathan

"Democratization of the Middle East is freedom for the Kurds and the people of the Middle East. "

A primer on Kurds in Syria

posted at 12:29 AM by Oubai

The Jews of Qamilshi?

Yes, Jews once had a thriving community in Qamilshi, the city in which Kurds are now fighting back against Baathism. Qamilshi is a multi-ethnic city and has also had a significant Assyrian Christian community. There are, thanks to the bruality of Baathism, next to no Jews left in this city. This from the Canadian Jewish News in June 2000, reflecting on the death of Hafez al-Assad.

But it was the plotting against his own people that inscribes the truest detail into the record. Assad's iron-fisted, "rigidly intolerant" rule has led Syria into the dark ages. Syria is an economic backwater. More interested in ensuring his family's rule than his people's progress, he spent the country's resources on the instruments of oppression rather than on the instruments of technology and self-sufficiency. He brutalized his own people: recall the tens of thousands he slaughtered in Hama and the Jews of Damascus, Aleppo and Kamishli whose lives he toyed with because they meant nothing to him.
Hafez Assad died as he lived, a tyrant, his life a testament to the deportment and destiny of all tyrants: paranoid, murderous, pitiless and ultimately, wasted.

posted at 12:27 AM by Jonathan

Kurds rallying in Syria (cont.)

( from outlawed Kurdish Yekiti Party in Syria)

posted at 12:24 AM by Oubai

A Regime Built on Lies

This is but a glimpse into the Stalinist nightmare that is Baathist Syria, filled with lies, deceptions, and Stalinist vocabulary showing how pathetic the regime is and how they use the hollow rhetoric of pan-Arabism to cover up for crimes.......

Syrian TV says rioters "from neighbouring countries", discusses Kurdish issue

Syrian Arab TV, Damascus 15 Mar 04

Text of video report by Syrian TV on 15 March

[Announcer Usamah Shihadah] Normal life has returned to all the
regions that witnessed sabotage acts against the background of the
incidents in the football stadium in Al-Qamishli, incidents that mobs
tried to take advantage of but all sectors of the society in the
cities of Al-Hasakah Governorate contained. People proved their
national cohesion and showed that the security and stability of the
citizens and the homeland is an integral part of their national and
pan-Arab composition

Popular, social and official quarters in Al-Qamishli denounced the
riots that targeted some public and private property and

Observers say there is no such thing as a Kurdish problem in Syria,
and that Kurds are Syrian citizens constituting an integral part of
Syria's social fabric. They have nothing to do with the riots that
took place in the city of Al-Qamishli. Those who were involved in the
riots came from neighbouring countries under extraordinary
circumstances. They are moved by foreign hands, not being grateful to
the country that offered them hospitality and good reception when they
experienced hardship to ease the ordeal and great suffering that
forced them to emigrate and come to Syria, the country that warmly
embraced them in a noble humanitarian position in which it took into
consideration the bonds of history and geography.

>From Al-Qamishli our correspondent sent this report:

[Correspondent Qusay Iyadah - recording] Normal life has returned to
all the regions that witnessed sabotage acts against the background of
the incidents in the football stadium in Al-Qamishli, incidents that
mobs tried to take advantage of but all sectors of the society in the
cities of Al-Hasakah Governorate contained. People proved their
national cohesion and showed that the security and stability of the
citizens and the homeland is an integral part of their national and
pan-Arab composition.

We now offer you some footage of the mobs' actions, which were
strongly denounced by all national forces from all persuasions.

[Unidentified speaker] This governorate, in all its sectors, factions,
and inhabitants, is an indivisible whole. We have never felt that this
person is a Kurd, Arab, Christian, Armenian, or anything like that. We
feel that we are Syrian citizens in this country, defending Syria's
land, leadership, and soil with everything in our power.

[Second speaker] As a Kurdish citizen, I am [treated] like anyone
else. On the contrary, I have more than others have. If there are
problems we discuss them through dialogue. We hear the opinion and the
other opinion. We discuss how to solve our problems. We solve them
calmly; there is no reason for trouble at all. This is a subversive
action. There are hidden hands involved. We hope that everyone will
shoulder his responsibility to resolve these things. I hope and appeal
to all honourable people to shoulder their responsibilities. It is
inconceivable that football matches develop into riots like these.

[Third speaker] What happed in Al-Qamishli was against the background
of a football match. It is known that incidents take place in all
football stadiums worldwide. Although these incidents took another
course, we in Syria, since the 70s, have been living he era of the
Corrective Movement, the era of national unity. We do not accept that
anyone temper with national unity. We see these incidents as a summer
cloud that will disappear. Our people grew on national unity and the
thought of immortal leader [former President] Hafiz al-Asad. Once
again I say it is a summer cloud that will disappear and we will
return to national unity and to the renewed thought of leader Bashar
Al-Asad. [crowd applauding and chanting: "With our souls and blood we
redeem you Bashar."]

[Iyadah] The descriptions given to the acts of sabotage and terrorism
against citizens in some cities in Al-Hasakah Governorate might
differ. What is clear, however, is the national reaction that stood
against and contained this absurdity in yet a new demonstration of the
sound patriotic sense that the sons of the governorate enjoy.

This is Qusay Iyadah, news correspondent, from the city of
Al-Qamishli. [Video shows open shops, people walking in the streets,
damaged buildings and vehicles, people commenting]

posted at 12:16 AM by Jonathan

Where are you, human rights activists and lawyers? If anyone needs to be reminded about the banality of bruality that was the other Baath regime of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, take a look at these documents from the Iraqi Mukhabarat captured after the 1991 war. They detail not only the paranoia of the regime, but the degree to which its fascist ideology viewed the small, defenseless Assyrian population as enemies. One waits, hopefully not too long, for the Syrian Mukhabarat archives to be opened so the world can learn about the years of torture and abuse that bastard regime heaped upon Syrians, Lebanese, and Israeli alike!

posted at 12:10 AM by Jonathan

In Fall of last year, I had written a piece for the online edition of the National Interest entitled "Syria's Opposition to American Interests in the Middle East" which I think is especially true these days when Syria is using its fascist methods to suppress Kurdish desires for linguistic freedom:

Given numerous actions that are directly opposed to American national interests in the Middle East, it is no longer plausible to believe that Syria remains a potential ally in the war on terror and that secular Baathism is inherently opposed to Islamic fundamentalism. Given Syrian support for Palestinian terrorist organizations, weapons ties with North Korea, facilitation of foreign fighters into Iraq and possible espionage against the United States, no one should seriously continue to view Damascus as a troublesome, but errant, ally.

Sanctions might make Syria reconsider its behavior. They might actually persuade Damascus that it has far too much to lose by its continual anti-American activities and by its perpetuation of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Indeed, given the miserable state of the Syrian economy and the fact that Syria, apart from Iran, really has no friends in the region, the United States has a great deal to gain from flexing its diplomatic muscle against Damascus and in persuading fellow NATO member states that they should reconsider their own relations with Syria.

posted at 12:03 AM by Jonathan

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