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December 14, 2006



On behalf of the people of the United States, I would like to apologize for the actions of this idiot grandstander, Bill Nelson. Not being a resident of the state of Florida, there is very little I can do about his actions however, I will send a letter to his office and to the offices of my two elected senators. I should have capitalized the word "senator" but, I really don't feel like doing it right now...


The fact that there were no visits to Syria by US officials for many years. And the stubborn no talks position of the US administration. Add to that all the criticism, warnings and veiled threats to the Syrian regime, did not help the plight of Human Rights status one bit. It also did not seem to alter the thinking or practices of the Syrian regime.
Hopefully the new contacts will give the Syrian regime an incentive to try to improve its image.
The current US policy has certainly not worked.


OK, this is the email I just sent off to sen. Nelson...

I want to tell you how much I disagree with your recent trip to Syria. I follow political sites all over the Middle East and, those that are working for a free Middle East are disgusted with your "grand standing". Yeah, sure, you were on a "fact finding" mission (tell me another one). No, you wished to get your name out there as part of the "Anything Bush says must be wrong crowd". That is why you went to Syria, for the press coverage and name recognition.
Meanwhile, we have our sons and daughters fighting for their lives in Iraq. Do you really care or, is it all one political football to you?
Your silly posturing with Syria got no where a few years ago and will do more harm than good this time.
Shame on you. I wish I was able to vote AGAINST YOU. I would do so as part of my civic responsibility.
You want to put your finger on the pulse of a free Syria? Contact this guy (right there in D.C., don't need to take a plane trip at taxpayer's expense to do it)
You stupid man.


Hopefully the new contacts will give the Syrian regime an incentive to try to improve its image.

Anon 3:29: You are a dreamer.


Anonymous 3:29, if the Senators planning trips to Syria neglected to address the issues of human rights abuses by the Syrian regime, than I doubt their engagement will produce any of the desired results. I don’t believe engaging the Assads will work, but, if people want to try it, then the issues highlighted above should be among those that need to be addressed, both privately and publicly, in every visit, at every opportunity. Everything else should be conditional on them, not the other way around. Neglecting these issues on the pretext that they fall within the realm of a country’s internal affairs have been tried for decades by Americans and Europeans alike, and as a result, the Americans and Europeans have always been perceived by the peoples of the Middle East as partners in crime with their ruling regimes. Reinforcing this perception by failing to hold regimes responsible for their continuous abuse of the basic rights of their citizens will make things much harder for the US and the EU in the going war on terror.


Perhaps we need to remind our leaders of the quote:

"Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good." Martin Luther King Jr.


I think deferring to George W Bush as a spokesperson for human rights really undermines your cause. Why not the Syrian Human Rights Commission?


good point, but I can understand the attempt to look like a supporter in order to be heard. Tony Blair is doing it long time now :)


The point here Yaman is to ask the Democrats whether they can afford to appear soft on human rights issues? By the way, the campaign has already produced some interesting contacts 


hammam: I used to think that it was okay, at times, to disingenuously invoke certain cliches or spokespersons to garner support for an ultimate goal, but now I realize that this is inappropriate, dilutes the essential message, and is not all that productive. We should be working to construct a new, more honest narrative, not force our message into existing ones.

Ammar: Human rights language is nothing more than a public relations decoration. You know that American policy does not operate on human rights, otherwise you would not be working hard to convince foreign policy officials that this is the course that should be taken. You also know that American foreign policy, like the foreign policy of other governments, is based on self-interest, not on moral principles. Otherwise, the argument in support of support for democracy in the Middle East would not always be concluded with "...because this is the best for long-term stability and American interests in the region." I have noticed that this has become the crux of the Democracy-in-the-Middle-East movement as led by expatriates, both in your posts here, and in talks by folks like Khairi Abaza, who I saw in Berkeley last month.

The truth is, it really is not in America's immediate interests to support an honestly democratic transformation throughout the Arab world. It is in the interest of the people that live there, though, and that is why it should be advocated. From what I have seen of American support for democracy, I'm not really impressed. Why is America sending arms and funding to Fatah and March 14th? This is not democracy, these are just good old-fashioned American interference abroad styled to sound democratic.


It defies reason and common sense to seek to reward such a failed and fragile regime as the current Syrian regime in the name of advocating real politics. The whole crux of this real politics advocacy is to legitimize the illegitimate regime of Mr. Assad. The regime’s modus operandi is clear to everyone who can see: Continue to create trouble spots in neighboring states hoping to gain attention from the US with the aim of striking some kind of deal.
Assad seems to overlook the very basic fact that chaos in the region will eventually engulf the same country which is creating and supporting the chaos – his own. Being in such a dilemma, Assad will eventually become the victim of his own mis-designs. On the other hand chaos may in the end produce the democratic Middle East once the present order collapses, thus proving the accuracy of the vision of the current US administration. It is a matter of survival to the despots of the region (Assad/Ahmedinejad) to abandon their current strategy of destabilization. So why should they be rewarded for anything they do to ensure their survival? Why should anyone even contemplate talking to such failed duo of despots? They probably believe time is on their side! They’re wrong.

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