The Falafel Republic – 2!

Despite the advice that President Jacques Chirac seems to have gotten from his Egyptian counterparts and Saudi counterparts, statements made by the French President during his recent address laying out French foreign policy for the year ahead reflect a certain unwillingness to compromise with the Syrian regime at this stage. President Chirac affirmed that the time for dabbling in Lebanese affairs and attempting to destabilize it is over, he then called on the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with the UN commission and asserted that Syria’s “return to the heart of the community of nations is contingent on a change in behavior.”  Continue reading

Word to the Mother!

Well, things are moving at a pretty rapid pace at this stage. The UN investigative committee did not waste any time and has just upped the ante way up than anyone would have expected a mere few days ago. Gone is all the foolish talk about a deal between the US and the regime, or… are the French (and the Saudis) forcing the hands of the Bush Administration on this? Let’s not forget here folks, the Syria regime’s real antagonists have always been the French.  Continue reading

Keeling over, with Some Dignity!

Keeling over is indeed the more accurate way for reading Bashar’s recent decision to cooperate with the UN probe into the Hariri assassination. The attempts by the regime’s henchmen, and some increasingly foolish observers, at trying to give this matter some positive spin are simply ludicrous. Far from being a success for Syrian diplomacy and brinksmanship, the decision reflects the helplessness of the Syrian regime and the increasing desperation of its leaders.  Continue reading

New openings for Arab democracy

By Nicholas Blanford and Gretchen Peters, The Christian Science Monitor

In a surprise announcement Saturday, Egypt’s long-ruling president, Hosni Mubarak, ordered constitutional changes that would open the door for the first-ever multiparty presidential elections in the world’s most populous Arab country. The move is the latest indication of a cautious democratic shift under way in the Arab world. Continue reading

Syria: A Culture of Fear and Stalemate

A brief excursion in cultural archaeology

Even a casual glimpse of the current developments between Israelis and Palestinians can easily lead to the detection of the ongoing “mobilization” efforts of the two peoples, with each set of leaders hoping to achieve greater popular support for its policies in the unfolding bloody confrontation. But when such “popular” mobilization efforts take place in the neighboring country of Syria, for instance, one is bound to wonder as to the reason and the cause.

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