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Bashar Assad and the mysterious west


Sometimes it is the West, and not the East, that is inscrutable. The revolts against tyrannical regimes that took place in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain are at least understandable. It would also be understandable if the revolts were subverted by Islamists, or if Western powers were to quash the revolts out of fear of Islamism, or protect their favorite rulers.

But the outcome of the revolts, which is mostly determined outside the Middle East, does not seem to conform to any logic. In Egypt and Tunisia Western allied rulers were forced to flee. Yemen and Bahrain also appear to be headed for a change of government. Only two brutal dictatorships have put down their revolts and escaped virtually all criticism: Iran and Syria, Iran has been quietly and methodically killing dissidents for a long time, nobody knows or cares it seems. In Syria, Bashar Assad's regime has murdered about a thousand people. In Syria, the "new Middle East" looks depressingly like the old one for those Western journalists who bother to look, but nobody is looking. The media hardly write about Syria, the U.N. has made no resolutions against Syrian rights violations. In Iran likewise, repression continues unhindered. On the other hand, in Egypt, the one ruler who had any affinity to the US was forced to leave office. Moubarak was no democrat, but he compared favorably with Bashar Assad. The message for tyrants is clear - don't choose the U.S. as an ally.

Can anyone explain the impunity of Bashar Assad and the Iranian Mullahs? Does it serve anyone's interest? Is there any reason why Hosni Moubarak should have been deposed, but Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are not? Is there a reason why nobody is interested in the massacres that take place every day in Syria??

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000789.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 09:42 PM CST [Link]


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Replies: 7 comments

Is there a reason that Israel was not held accountable for doing in Gaza and Lebanon basically the same thing as Mummar Gadhafi is doing in Lybia? Gadhafi has now been charged with crimes against humanity at the ICC. Is this the reason that the the Goldstone report, -which suggested that Israel targeted civilians, had to go away? The West can't allow even the appearance of a double standard, especially when there really is one.

Posted by Kiev500 @ 05/19/2011 01:30 AM CST

President Obama and his administration are terrified of the leadership of Syria and Iran. He made it quite clear his explanation of U.S. interention in Libya and the policy that drove it. We will pick on the little guys. The big boys can keep bullying. The President is trying to tell the world we are acting out of principle. In truth, the only principle that seems to apply is shove the little guy around to show the Middle East we mean business while we use Syria and Iran to hold those pseky Jews at bay.

Posted by Phil Dillon @ 05/20/2011 04:53 AM CST

I listened to the White House press conference today. Netanyahu insisted that the 1967 borders are quote "indefensible". That's odd. History shows that Israel (attacking first) began a military incursion at that border and advanced and took land. So not only was the 1967 border defensible, it apparently provided sufficient advantage that Israel advanced forward and took territory. Therefore the border is fine and Bibi's argument is indefensible. -Unless of course Bibi really meant that he could not defend any plan to return to the 1967 borders from members of his Likud party, Yisrael Beiteinu, and UTJ. I also heard Bibi say recently that Israeli forces did not drive out the Palestinian refugees. If this is so, then who does he think drove out the British mandate authority? Again, history shows that Zionist militias like Irgun, Hagana, and the Stern Gang drove out the British with violence and terror attacks like the bombing of the King David Hotel. It follows that the same groups acted to drive out the non-Jewish residents of the area. There was also one uncomfortable moment when Bibi struggled to avoid saying the tired and over-used phrase "facts on the ground". He was arguing that the border must reflect the "conditions" on the ground. His implication was of course the Settlements must be accomodated. That's odd too, since Israel always insisted that the Settlements were only a temporary security buffer and that they "would not prejudice the outcome of future negotiations" for final status of the occupied territories. Netanyahu is incapable of telling the truth. If his mouth is moving, he's lying. The citizens of Israel deserve better, and they should have gotten it by writ of their vote in the 2009 elections, when Kadima got more votes than any other party, but was pushed aside and Likud (a political opposite of Kadima) was chosen to lead the government instead.

Posted by Kiev500 @ 05/21/2011 06:58 AM CST

With the possibility of fresh negotiations in France, this is the Hamas press release that I would *LIKE* to see. It would remove the Israeli argument that it cannot negotiate with a combined Fatah-Hamas government. (Comon Hamas, it's time to step forward as diplomatic leaders if you want to be part of the solution.)

Gilad Shalit is a prisoner of war. We have repeatedly offered to free Shalit in a prisoner exchange with Israel, which is holding hundreds of our own men. We remain at war because neither side has reached a peace agreement that ends this conflict. We are willing to pursue negotiations for a peace agreement for final status, and are willing to make a credible offer that includes concessions on some positions in the interest of peace.

--We will end our legitimate resistance and recognize Israel upon signing a peace agreement that (1) creates permanent borders and (2) ends Israel's occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. This will end all future claims by all sides. We will renounce violence when Israel stops using violence, assassinations, military force, and racist civil regulations against our own people. We propose to accept and honor all previous peace agreements if Israel honors it's commitment from the Road Map agreement to stop all settlement construction. If we must negotiate with an Israeli government that includes factions like Likud, UTJ, and Yisrael Beiteinu, -that refuse the concept of two states for two peoples, then surely Israel can negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

We encourage Israel to stop illegal Settlement construction and put a credible peace offer on paper with a map showing it's desired borders. Vague inferences to peace with stipulations and conditions are not a peace offer. With a credible Israeli offer on paper, the PLO and PA representatives will proceed to negotiations with Israel that are moderated by the Quartet and open for public review. There will be no more private negotiations and secret offers. The options for a peace agreement have been evaluated for decades. All we have to do is pick the parts we can agree on and request Quartet bridging proposals for what remains. The Settlements issue can be resolved on a case by case basis with mutually agreed swaps of similar land. Both sides should desire a border that is as short and straight as possible as these characteristics improve defensibility. The Palestinian right of return can be resolved with just compensation and repatriation to the Palestinian state.

Israel's claim that the Jordan valley is critical to it's security is complete hogwash considering it's current ability to cover the airspace by plane and surveil the ground by spy satellite. Technology has ensured that no army can sneak up on Israel. It appears that Israel wishes to encircle and control the perimeter of the West Bank as they have done in Gaza in order to create cantons or reservations for our people. This is not acceptable. In the interest of security, our representatives would accept a third party security force like NATO in the Jordan valley, with periodic evaluation for effectiveness and necessity. Israel’s most dangerous enemy is the one within, -the pro-Settlement Zionists who would prefer civil war to any peace agreement that creates two states for two peoples. We wish you success managing these difficult issues, but we must remind you time is precious and September approaches.

Posted by Kiev500 @ 06/08/2011 09:04 PM CST

Why has the admin allowed so much spam on this site? Have you guys abandoned any effort to moderate and encourage debate and relevant commentary? It's a damn shame what has happened here.

Posted by Kiev500 @ 07/06/2011 07:53 AM CST

Dear Kiev500,
The spamming is a shame and a curse indeed, and I erased it now.
Sadly, the moderator of MidEast Web has passed away in late June.
I have closed all older posts to comments now, including this one, as 99% of comments there is spam.

Posted by Wouter @ 07/11/2011 05:11 AM CST

Forgot to mention Bahrain. Altho they are definately not among the so called "Terrorist States" (Syria and Iran), they are part of the old dying system that is still clinging on to power unhindered by international and regional pressures. Key factor? OIL. Like Frank Herbert said, "The spice must flow". Bahrain has always been a cooperative member with the west especially in oil deals, therefore the west does not see it as a target. It was never about he "morality" of these governments, it was always very simple: If you're rich, and support the west, you're fine. If you're poor and support the west, you're fair game. If you do not support the west, the west will crush you. Everything about human rights or liberties is complete BS. It's all about the money and oil.

Posted by Khanz @ 07/12/2011 10:12 AM CST

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