Iraq's Vibrant Democracy

First of all, I understand that Iraq is at the beginning of the democracy path, as defined by the norms and practices of western democracy. Actually, the title of this article came from what I saw of the Iraqi political, legal and civil scene in terms of the pending U.S.-Iraqi pact at the Iraqi constitutional institutions.

This scene in Iraq was really touching in terms of its vibrancy, and most importantly, its diversity. This Iraqi scene is unique in the Arab world, with an exception for Lebanon as a special case. It is really a very rare situation in the Arab world that no one can predict if a treaty or a political or sovereign decision would be adopted or not by an Arab country. In fact, in Arab countries, every thing is previously settled according to the ruling regime or dictator's will. However, this time, Iraq has made an exception or, as I hope, a precedent.

Furthermore, this Arab unique democratic state in Iraq continued even after the Iraqi government's approval of the pact with the United States after the U.S. approval of the changes of the pact proposed by the Iraqi government. Then, the uniqueness of this Iraqi situation in the Arab world is getting more significant as the government of Iraq cannot conclude this question waiting for the decisive act by the elected representatives of the Iraqi people in the Iraqi parliament.

Although Iraq has yet to develop its democratic system and experience, it has shown that it has the basic foundation of democracy, which is diversity. This Iraqi diversity was more than obvious in the Iraqi parliament. Many opinions have been shown by the Iraqi MPs divided between who is in favor of the treaty, and against, and who want some amendments to vote for it in a real democratic scene. However, some demagogic non-democratic MPs ― I mean violent Sadrists representing Iran's interests ― should not be upsetting, as they are just few, and growing democracy is capable of isolating non-democratic elements over time.

Finally, President Bush should be proud of this Iraqi scene that in spite of all challenges, difficulties and mistakes in Iraq, he fulfilled the basic promise of the Operation Iraqi Freedom; and now it is up to Iraqis to independently determine their future.

Written on 21/8/2008


Fabricating Terror and Targeting Lebanon

Seemingly, Baath regime starts to take advantage of the new phase with the new elected democratic president in the United States.

As expected by everybody knows the last Baath located in Syria, its security apparatus was a very bad director to a fiasco play or drama. Baath security geniuses claimed that they discovered the network responsible for the latest explosion in Damascus. Recently, the Baath TV broadcasted their confessions after a long and wide publicity and advertisement of these confessions.

As exactly expected, they indirectly accused Lebanon after a previous and very early political statement claiming north Lebanon a terror base threatening Syria. But the funniest thing about the extremely bad and funny direction of this drama was choosing Fatah-al Islam as responsible for Damascus attack while the entire world and every concerned intelligence department in the world clearly knows who invented and supported this group and for what reason.

Apart from this futile and worthless Baath drama and publicity, there are some key questions about the criminal investigation and the crime scene Baath had better answer them. Fist of all, where did the exploded car disappear minutes after it had been exploded, and who took it and why? By the way, there is no court in the world would take this investigation in this case. How was the road where the explosion took place repaired and opened to the public minutes after the explosion, and who authorized that? Then, what is Baath geniuses' conception of 'crime scene'? In these circumstances, how and where was the investigation done?

The most important question is how this big network gathered, worked, planned, smuggled hundreds of kilograms of explosives to Syria, and get to Syria in the first place without notice of 17 security apparatuses have more than 238 branches (17x 14 provinces) and tens of thousand agents while, for example, every single bit passes Syria is monitored and registered via internet proxies, not to mention telephone calls.

The final key question is why Baath regime did not comment on the reports claiming that a security officer is a key suspect in Hariri killing was killed in Damascus explosion. Let them keep the answer to the international tribunal.

Baath group in Syria is stupidly continuing its scheme directed at Lebanon and its independence, sovereignty and democracy after the results of the U.S. elections as their Democrats friends have won.

Finally, I urge Baath group to send those tapes (confession tapes) to America's Funniest Home Videos program (AFV) with the annotation of winning Democrats there, and I am sure it would win the prize.

Written on 11/8/2008

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Syria: A Country without Politics

Every governing system in any country is attached to a state of politics. The politics here is an entire system-like state with integrated parts and components. The entire state of politics affects the governing system and gets affected by it. Then, there is a dialectical relation between them in addition to an essential integration.

In any given country, there should be a state of politics as there is a governing system whatever is it. This is also true with non-democratic governing systems, which produce a shape of politics compatible with it with special specifications and narrowed scope and structure in comparison with the wide and vigor politics in the democratic governing systems. Then, every governing system has its associated shape of politics whatever this system is.

There is a really unique case concerning Syria that is no politics there! There is a governing system imitated from the Soviet school run by a persistent Baathist regime inherited from more than 40 years ago. Nevertheless, there is no politics; actually, it is banned and inflicts the potential activist very bad and serious consequences. In addition, even the politics within the governing system is not found, and the politics inside the regime is also hidden and ignored.

In Syria, you find everything set, but no one knows how, why or even who set it. Everything is surprising and does not have pre-existence leads and prerequisites. Decision-making is the big mystery; no one can know anything about it. So, even moving the public transport center in a Syrian city is a surprising sudden mystery, in which no citizen can have a say.

Therefore, it is difficult in Syria to feel as a citizen. The Syrian native lost his own identification before his country. Actually, with this mysterious unique governance, citizens became just a horde. This change, apparently, ended the relation of citizenship and its structure, which took with it the politics in this country.

With the losing of citizenship and the absence of politics, only political stagnation prevails. Hence, the stagnation becomes the only reality, and the significance gets entirely lost in complete absence.

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U.S. Syria Strike: Changing Strategic Rules in the Middle East

The U.S. strike in Syria was really surprising and came in timing difficult to understand or analyze. So, 'why now,' is an open question waiting for more information and some further leaks from U.S. officials.

The questions is why the U.S. waited for more than five years to make this movement, although it had some detailed information about activities orchestrating violence in Iraq out of Syria. Many relevant details were provided to Syrian regime by the U.S. in this regard.

For now, I will focus on the significance of this strike, which is clear and has many ramifications and aspects.

First of all, this U.S. action is directed at humiliating Syrian Baath regime. This approach was adopted by the American administration since the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, which intended to by as humiliating as possible to the Baath regime, and so it was.

Moreover, this action constitutes a clear message to the French administration, which unilaterally violated the western isolation of the Syrian Baath regime. It also somehow conveys some degradation to the French role in the region. It clearly shows who has the upper hand in the region, and that the U.S. still can act in its own way in the Middle East making new realities there.

This action, also, conveys a strong message to Iran in a very difficult time for Iran as oil price going down along with Iran's financial strength. It is indicating further means and options available to the U.S. and posing new threats Iran should seriously consider.

As regards Syrian Baath regime and Iraq security, this regime now would think seriously before continuing previous activities toward Iraq security or overlooking these activities. This may contribute to improving Iraq security, which can be seen in the next few months.

The U.S. strike in Syria is not tactical, rather it is strategic, and strategically affects the region. It was leaked that the orders of this strike came from Washington not the U.S. Command in Iraq; and this serves as an evidence of the strategic nature of this action.

This strike changes some essential rules in the region's geopolitics, and opens the door to a new stage of more open game in the Middle East as it puts an end to some conventional norms effective since the change in Iraq. Finally, it makes a new reality in counter-terrorism efforts as it indicates that state sovereignty through territorial integrity is no more a barrier to tackling international terrorism activities in the Middle East.

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Fallacy or Scheme: Northern Lebanon Terror

Are there some terrorists in some places in Lebanon? The answer is yes. But do they have a Lebanese infrastructure or Lebanese origin in systematic way? The answer is no.

First of all, during the Syrian intervention, the Islamic presence, especially in political terms, in northern Lebanon, particularly in Tripoli is a state created and nourished by the Syrian security apparatus as a tactic while trying to rule all Lebanon during the civil war there, and employed for this goal.

The absolute evidence of this fact can be easily extracted from the stage of Syrian administration of Lebanon after the civil war when the Syrian authority maintained the Islamic phenomenon in Tripoli, while it was hysterically exterminating it in Syria.

This was in the first place, then there were some evidences and indicators that the policy of 'keeping' turned into engagement and takeover of some factions and groups to employ them in the future in the Lebanese equation and to have them as pretexts for future possible actions.

On the terror side, it is well established that the major terrorist group appeared in northern Lebanon is Fatah al-Islam, if any other. It is until now the only organized terrorist group there.

This group's leader and founder is Shaker al-Abbsi who was in some Syrian prison. And this is an internationally known fact as he was wanted by Jordan for trial and the Syrian regime refused to turn him in until he disappeared from his prison and appeared in a Palestinian refugee camp Naher al-Bared in northern Lebanon.

It is not magic. Actually, it is about the open borders to persons, explosives and weapons between Syria and Lebanon (refer to the United Nations Security Council documents on this question).

Then, Abbsi found his group, took over the camp from pro-Syrian Palestinian forces without any bullet, and stocked new and good weapons and huge quantities of ammunitions and food supplies while the Lebanese state had no control over the camp.

Furthermore, the recruiting activity of this group was surprising with a wide-open way to extremist Islamists from the region to be smuggled to the camp while got arrested in Syria in the return way, just for those who found this group as an intelligence instrument more than a jihadist group. Some of those are still arrested in Syria until now as reports indicate. This is really a surprising one-way terror.

Finally, it is quite obvious where northern Lebanon terrorists came from, and the side armed and supported them, and for what reason or goals. Northern Lebanon is not a source of terror. And if there are any exported terrorists there deducted from Iraq's quota, the Lebanese would destroy them shortly as they did with exported Fatah al-Islam group.

What is really urged and needed now, as an international priority, is to search for the base by which terrorists are exported to Iraq and Lebanon.

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Hariri Endless Investigation and Pending Justice

The eleventh and final report of the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC), established by the United Nations to investigate Hariri assassination and other related political assassinations and terrorist attacks in Lebanon, has been introduced to the Security Council.

As usual in this three-year investigation, the report is talking about some progress has been achieved in the investigation through the latest months. However, this report unveiled that there is new information reached by the Commission can lead to identify more individuals in the terrorist network responsible for the Hariri assassination. This is actually not a breakthrough or a precedent in this investigation as there was a series of identifying new individuals connected with this crime, but this is a progress for sure.

This late or, in fact, very late progress in this international investigation poses some serious questions about the slow process of investigation and achieving information by the Commission to reach conclusions. It is like an investigation in slow motion given the huge unprecedented international resources provided to this Commission in addition to also unprecedented international legal framework provided to this Commission by the Security Council binding resolutions under the seventh chapter of the charter of the United Nations.

Another serious question is posed about this series of discovered suspects that why they are not arrested or detained yet? Why, in this regard, there was not any application of the related provisions of the Security Council binding resolution 1636?

In addition, although this report is the final one of the IIIC, it neither concludes the investigation nor setting a timeline for this conclusion. Then, this leads, in principle, to an endless investigation. Also in this regard, it was remarkable, the commissioner's indication in this final report that the indictments or the charges sheets would not be ready soon after the Special Tribunal for Lebanon starts functioning in March 2009.

Hence, there are obviously many elements in the United Nations' approach in general, and in the Commission's approach in particular, are not understandable or conclusive posing some significant questions in this regard. Therefore, we still wait for justice, which needs to be assured by some required relevant actions.

Finally, we do not care about the various parties' various considerations, especially political considerations. We only care about justice and achieving this justice in accordance with international law and Security Council resolutions, that denying this justice would have for sure serious consequences.