A Meeting with the President of the United States

On Tuesday, December 4, 2007, my colleagues former deputy and political prisoner Mamoun al-Homsi, and Kurdish activist Djengizkhan Hasso of the Executive Council of the National Assembly of Kurdistan, and I met with President Bush at the Oval Office. The hour-long meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Steven Hadley, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams, National Security Advisor to the Vice President John Hannah, and a number of White House and NSC officials.

The meeting took place upon a special invitation from the White House, and was dedicated to discussing the current state of US-Syria relations.

My colleagues and I went in with a simple message to the President, namely: to bring attention back to the deteriorating situation of human rights in Syria and ask that improvement in this regard be made the main condition for improving bilateral relations.

Our logic in this regard was also simple and straightforward: a regime that cannot establish a normal relation with its people, we argued, should not be allowed to have normal relations with the rest of the world. A regime that continues to abuse, with all the impunity in the world, the basic rights of its people, and that manipulates the electoral processes of the state, violating even its own tailored-to-fit rules and laws in this regard, should not be accepted as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, and should not be trusted to enter in good faith into any negotiations with the outside world, no matter what issue is involved. So long as the Syrian regime continues to intimidate its people, hold prisoners of conscience, send dissidents into exile, strip citizens of their nationality (as is the case with over 350,000 Kurds) and detain people without any reasonable cause or justification, it, in effect, compromises its ability to represent the national interests of the country. The Syrian regime should be made to understand that the road to the Golan and the road to both national and international legitimacy ands recognition passes through Damascus, and Aleppo, and Lattakia and other Syrian cities and provinces, and not through Washington, or Tel Aviv. 

In response to our message, the President, who had all the while listened to our presentation quite patiently and attentively, spoke passionately in defense of human rights in Syria and worldwide and revealed in-depth knowledge of developments inside Syria. He praised our work and that of all human rights and democracy activists, and our ongoing campaign to bring world attention to the worsening human rights situation in the country.   

The President agreed that freeing political prisoners and improving the human rights conditions in Syria were and would always be key parts of American policy toward that country. 

57 thoughts on “A Meeting with the President of the United States

  1. The whole story look write to me now.
    and that when Kaddam blame the Assad regime of all the mistake they did for Syria he was 100% right.
    Mr Assad put him self in a situation that he cant run away from it any more he did every thing wrong for Syria and for the people of Syria.
    I blame him NOW for every things wrong and for all the mistake he is making, especially his alliance with Iran.
    I think that’s what Khaddamn was worried about, ,including the murder of Hariri…that is ALSO why HARIRI was killed.
    I also feel that Khaddam and all the opposition are one hand against the Assad regime long long times ago and no one knows inside Syria who is working with Khaddam.
    I support Khaddam and Ammar and Bayanouni and Kilo and Mamoun and all the Kurds that’s they are fighting for their right to exist.
    Thank you..

  2. Anonym3,
    Why do I put a lot of energy in “following any comment to the last drop”? … because some ideas are dangerous… especially those that sound on the surface like “we are doing this for democracy and human rights” … one can not argue easily against such sweet sounding ideas … If we were sitting face to face, making my controversial point in which I am attacking many opposition figures will take about an hour or two …. back and fourth about 20 times perhaps.
    Here we did about three rounds … I assume we are not children … we have a bit more patience to discuss delicate subjects.
    It is easy to type a few pro democracy and anti-dictatorship slogans then disappear… there are hundreds of people leaving such generic comments without stopping and thinking … what have we achieved for Syria?
    There are many forums for angry commentators spreading stupid rumors .. like the gentlemen here who keep guessing that Alex is employed by Joshua or by Imad Moustapha .. or that Joshua is employed by Imad … I don’t go there.
    For your information, I have never met Imad Moustapha … I have never spoken to him by phone.
    But I spoke to Ammar many times … for hours… always friendly conversations.
    I don’t need any lesson from anyone about respect for democracy and freedom of expressing one’s opinion.
    When Yoav Stern from Haaretz interviewed me becasue he wanted to feature Syria Comment and Creative Syria in this article, I suggested to him the two other blogs which are more critical of the regime … Rime Allaf’s and Ammar’s … He did not know anything about them. I had over 1500 visit from Israeli readers of Haaretz that week… I’m sure this blog got similar coverage.
    I even told Yoav that his Israeli readers will probably like Ammar’s blog the most (and they will dislike Rime Allaf because she is the most hard line on th issue of the Golan) .. So Ammar’s site got a better coverage in the story.
    I don’t think anyone here would have done that to promote those he disagrees with so sharply … For example Ammar did not even link Creative Syria until I brought it to his attention few months ago… the vast majority of his links were neocon financed sites or anti-regime sites.
    It is not by repeating slogans that you defend freedom of speech.

  3. اليكس مو بس غليظ كذاب كمان.
    وبالنسبة لموضوع البلوكات اسمح لي بنصيحة
    فعيب عليكم وضعL
    مواقع صديقة لاشخاص مخابرات اب عن جدج.اتمنى ان تعرف عمن اتكلم.واتمنى عليك بعدم الرد على.لاني مليت منك كثيراا

  4. نصيحة لجميع من عنده بلوكات اسمعوا مني الغوا جميع البلوكات ان كنتم معارضين او موالين لان كل ذلك بلا فائدة فالسياسة مرسومة ولا احد منكم يستطيع تغييرها.
    وكفاكم بهدلة لشخصكم.
    واما نصيحتي للذين يكتبون في البلوكات فانتم تضيعون اوقاتكم وتعتقدون انكم مثقفين وذو اهمية ها ها شو بضحكوا.
    باي باي

  5. Quotes:
    “اليكس مو بس غليظ كذاب كمان.”
    “اقول لك يا اليكس انه بالفعل لا يوجد اغلظ منك”
    “مشان الله حدن يقول من هو اليكس”
    “بنصحك يا جولانية تروحي تناضلي بالجولان”
    “the young generations of Syrians are all with Ammar”
    “اليكس فعلا مثل ام زكي في باب الحارة”

    Well, the intellectual level of Ammar’s proponents is really impressive. Such a sweeping statements like “all young Syrians are with Ammar” makes me think whether the idolized Ammar is on his way to becoming megalomaniac, or whether he’ll manage to retract before it’s too late. I really hope so, we’ve got enough megalomaniacs in the Arab world already.
    It is assumed (by those who wrote the statements above) that if I don’t agree with Ammar’s association with the American administration’s hardliners, then I must be a Syrian regime supporter.
    It couldn’t get more stupid, and more judgmental than this. …
    What should happen to me (as a young Syrian) if I don’t support Ammar views? Somebody may run after me with a stick and smack my back into it? it wouldn’t be strange though, after all, Ammar vouches for the necessity of violence….
    Ammar: did you by any chance talk to Bush about the occupied Syrian territories? (that is called Golan by the way)…

  6. Offended
    اقول باي وارجع لارد على الاجدب الكبير اوفندد
    واقول له بانني لا اعتقد بان عمارتحدث عن موضووع الاحتلال لانه يعلم وانت تعلم الا ذا كنت اجدب والظاهرانك اجدب ان الجولان هو موضوع يساوم عليه النظام فيا اجدب يعني اسرائيل راح ترجع الجولان اذا عمار حكى مع بوش عليها. بالفعل لم ارى اجدب منك .

  7. Alex,
    Qoute: “…the most eloquent writers from “the opposition” to contribute to my blogs and forums…”
    I don’t know what to feel, finding my self listed among “The opposition!” still I want to make one thing clear, the logic behind G. W. Bush statement: “With us or against us” is the same one behind the Syrian regime exactly-the-same statement, i.e.: “pro-regime, or opposition”
    For me, to be on the side of civil society, basic human rights, the rule of law, fighting corruption, achieving development and prosperity; is a noble stand and should not be regarded as “opposition” to Syrian “regime!” on the contrary, it should be regarded as support for the goals the regime had declared through it’s head, President Bashar! Labeling me –or finding me to be- as an opposition means one thing, THE REGIME ITSELF IS ANTI ALL THE GOALS IT DECLARED!! So who is shouting slogans after all!!?
    Another Qoute: “If you see a friend of yours at school hanging around with criminals and drug dealers all the time … wouldn’t you ask him to clarify what is going on? .. wouldn’t you ask him if he is working with them? wouldn’t you worry that they are using him to do bad things?”
    I add to the above, and when you see this friend, beating people to death in the streets, delivering corpses of kidnapped-then-tortured people to their families, suffocating peoples freedoms of speech and extorting the nations wealth, shaking hands with their own declared enemy and having secret deals with it… I can go on for a while and you know I can. And,Yes… I more than agree with you, But wait!!…. all the above applies exactly on the Syrian regime too now, doesn’t it!?
    So tell me Alex, what excuse you have now for the regime?
    I say again, the Syrian regime is not my main problem, you are making it this way and probably the regime is making it’s own enemies too.
    My question to you (and lets throw it to Imad Mustafa too) again: If you were invited to meet the US administration, in it’s current shape, what would you do?
    Another one since I am at it, how come the Syrian regime accepted to attend Annapolis summit, knowing that they won’t be able to put Golan Heights on the agenda?
    The criminals in “Qasr el Sha3b” are not better that the criminals in “The White House”

Comments are closed.