by Col. W. Patrick Lang (Ret.)

Hey folks, here we go. This guy is nobody in Syria but the Neocon, Jacobin crowd are pushing him as a neo-Lincolnesque figure.

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Middle East Policy
Council Journal, Vol. XI
Summer 2004, No. 2

To quote the ending from one of my favorite childhood films, “The Thing From Another World,” “Watch the Stars. Keep Watching the Stars…”

Or, watch this space.

Pat Lang

(Yes. It’s true. This is from MEMRI. Have a ball with this.)


“Leader of the Opposition Reform Party of Syria: “The Syrian Regime Is Nurturing Terrorism”; “We in Syria Need Peace More than the Israelis”

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit MEMRI .

In an interview with the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, Farid Al-Ghadri, leader of the opposition Reform Party of Syria (, harshly criticized the Syrian regime, saying that “its crimes are more brutal than Saddam Hussein’s.” He accused the Syrian regime of nurturing terrorism, and expressed his support for a peace treaty with Israel.

The following are excerpts:(1)

The Crimes of the Syrian Ba’ath Regime Will Soon Be Exposed

Q:”Have you documented the Ba’ath regime’s human rights violations, such as the [1982] massacre at Hamat where over 20,000 people lost their lives?”

Al-Ghadri: “We have begun to gather materials, and we will continue directly with those who were harmed. There are very many Syrians who are postponing [giving material] for fear of oppression [by the regime]. We have received their materials, and when the opportunity arrives, we will submit them to the international tribunals. We have accumulated a vast amount of material incriminating the regime in crimes against humanity, along with material documented by some of the organizations and others that were harmed…

“Very soon, the crimes of the Syrian Ba’ath regime will be revealed to the world; [these crimes] are much more despicable and horrendous than [Saddam Hussein’s] wars in the Iraqi part of the Ba’ath regime. The crimes of the Ba’ath [Party] took the form of occupying peaceful countries, such as Kuwait and Lebanon, of destroying unarmed citizens with weapons of mass destruction in Halabja [in Iraq], and [of] mass graves, such as at Al-Anfal, Palmyra, and Hamat [in Syria]. We will use all the media and all platforms to call upon all our people who have been harmed to provide us with evidence of the crimes, and to name the perpetrators. We will continue to operate in this direction, and we are confident that the criminals will receive a just trial in Syria, just like Saddam Hussein, and will get the punishment they deserve…”

Support for Strengthening Ties with the New Iraq

Q: “You recently visited Iraq. Can you shed light upon the goals of that visit, and does it herald the recurrence of the Iraqi scenario in Syria, and the toppling of the regime by force?”

Al-Ghadri: “The role that the U.S. played in Iraq is a positive one. It liberated Iraqis and their neighbors from the Ba’ath regime, and began to spread democracy… In the future, Iraq will play a tremendous role in accelerating the democratic changes in neighboring countries, and particularly in Syria, and it will have a pioneering role that will surpass that of the U.S.

Continued BELOW:

“We in the Reform Party of Syria believe that strengthening ties with influential people and politicians in the new Iraq, who believe in a pioneering role for Iraq in the Arab region, will benefit not only Iraq, but also the 300 million Arab citizens who are awaiting democracy. Everyone, not only the Syrians, is interested in containing the evil of the Syrian Ba’ath regime. The Syrian regime is nurturing and marketing terrorism , and by so doing it is undermining the stability of the entire region…

“As for toppling the regime by force, we are a non-violent democratic movement, and we do not aim to act violently, even for the highest goals. We act transparently and clearly. The school of thought that calls to respond to the regime with violence and to oust it with violence has not yet arrived, [but] this does not prevent its developing in the future, if the regime lasts for a long time. Nobody can predict whether the option of violence will be imposed upon us or not…”

The Syrian Regime Does Not Shy Away from Removing Any Rival, by Any Means

Question: “The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri caused a political earthquake in Lebanon and the region. Who stands to gain from this crime? And on what grounds did you accuse the Syrian intelligence of complicity?

Al-Ghadri: “There is a long list of cases in which the Syrian regime killed its opponents in Syria and outside it. It is currently involved in its preferred hobby: undermining Iraq’s security and stability. After all, it has no interest in there being a democracy in Iraq and Lebanon, [countries that] border on Syria… The Syrian prisons have received tens of thousands of Syrians and non-Syrians, who have not gotten out [of there]. Very many people have died in Lebanon. Politicians such as [Druze leader Kamal] Jumblatt, [former president Amin] Jumail, and others, who were known for their opposition to Syrian hegemony in Lebanon, have been murdered. The Syrian regime does not shy away from eliminating any rival by any means. The Ba’ath regime’s dispute with Al-Hariri turned into rivalry when he opposed the extension of [President] Lahoud’s term in office. Later, Al-Hariri was forced by General Rustum Ghazale [commander of the Syrian security apparatuses in Lebanon] to retract his opposition to an extension of Lahoud’s presidency. The dispute between Al-Hariri and the Ba’ath regime [was aggravated] by his stance against blatant Syrian intervention in his country, and regarding Resolution 1559.

“The Al-Assad family is still thinking in terms of the Cold War… Its aim is to intimidate the Lebanese and to numb them for an additional period…”

Rif’at Al-Assad Must Stand Trial

Question: “What is the truth in the surprising information that Rif’at Al-Assad is returning [to Syria], and do you believe there is any deal within the Alawi ethnic group?”

Al-Ghadri: “Rif’at Al-Assad’s recent acrobatics are another attempt to save the ruling Al-Assad family and to strengthen its regime at the expense of the Syrian people, in order to spread its control again… We in the Reform Party of Syria believe that bringing Rif’at Al-Assad to trial is a national obligation, as well as a legal and humane need…

“This man is known as somebody whose hands are bloodstained. He will increase the regime’s predicament, and speed up its disappearance. In our opinion, this is a desperate attempt by the Al-Assad family to transfer rule from generation to generation and to plunder the Syrians. He cannot market himself as an innocent lamb. This man is an outcast from Syrian society. We consider him burned, and the U.S., Europe, and the Arab countries oppose him. [Rif’at Al-Assad], who has massacred Syrians, is marketing himself as an angel, and as a lover of freedom and democracy a democracy which he toppled in Syria. The symbol of horror and fear in Syria considers cohesion and unity to be a necessity for the Syrians, and believes that rejecting all the partial disputes and minor, formal [problems] will be good for the Syrians…

“The fawning opposition, which welcomed the possibility of Rif’at Al-Assad’s return, is losing its credibility and is revealing its true colors and its position regarding what the Syrians went through in the days of Hafez [Al-Assad]’s regime, and what they are going through in the days of his successor, Bashar…”

“What the Ba’ath Party Didn’t Respond to with War, We Will Respond to with Peace”

Question: “What do you think about the Syrian-Israeli negotiations, and are the Shaba’ Farms Syrian or Lebanese? In this context, do you accept American pressure on Hizbullah?

Al-Ghadri: “The Syrian-Israeli conflict has clear characteristics of a dispute over Syrian soil the Golan Heights and the Shaba’ Farms, according to the U.N. documents. We are not claiming that the solution to our problem must be dependent upon a solution to the disputes of the Khmer Rouge and the Tamil. We support a separation between the disputes, and a peaceful solution, out of an assumption that resolving any dispute through wars will not lead to results. The Syrian army, which has become a tool in the service of the home and estates of the Syrian officers, and which is equipped with rusty Soviet weapons that have always been directed towards the Syrians [themselves], must act sensibly and rationally. We in Syria need peace more than the Israelis do…

“We, the Syrians, are worthy of freedom, and we aspire to a Middle East ruled by democracy in which all peoples and religions coexist. We believe that the worst peace is better than the best war. What the Ba’ath Party did not restore through war we will restore through peace at the negotiating table, in an atmosphere of good neighborly relations with all the countries around us…”

(1) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), July 17, 2005.”

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