Is Assad in full control?
Posted on 9/12/2006
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

THE Syrian regime resembles a street vendor who is trying to sell goods looted from Lebanon. But still Damascus is trying to convince the world that it is capable of performing an important role in the region and worthy of signing treaties with the international community. It appears Syrian President Dr Bashar Al-Assad is not in full control of the situation or in a position to take decisions.

Ever since Israel’s aggression against Lebanon came to an end, several world leaders have tried to give Al-Assad respect worthy of his presidential position and deal with him as a decision maker. However, these leaders were surprised when they came to know Al-Assad lacks integrity and is incapable of taking decisions because he doesn’t have the authority to do so.

This was clear during Al-Assad’s meeting with the Spanish Foreign Minister when both the leaders discussed the situation in Lebanon. After the meeting, the Spanish minister claimed Al-Assad had pledged to use his influence with Hezbollah to ensure the return of the two Israeli soldiers to help end the war. But the next day the Syrian regime denied the Spanish minister’s statement saying “Al-Assad didn’t make any such promise.”

Subsequently, after several phone calls to Al-Assad, the Italian Prime Minister told the world that the Syrian President had agreed to allow international forces to patrol the border between Syria and Lebanon. When the Syrian regime denied his statement, the Italian Prime Minister was forced to threaten Damascus that he would air his recorded conversation with Al-Assad to the whole world.

Yesterday, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said his previous discussions with Al-Assad had come across several difficulties. “Syria has no right to claim it loves Lebanon more than the Lebanese themselves or Hezbollah more than its own members.” This confusing situation raises disturbing questions such as whether Al-Assad is capable of providing leadership, and who is really leading Syria? The statements of several international leaders, who tried to approach Al-Assad to ease the pressure on Syria, have been denied. This proves Al-Assad is not in control of Syria and has no power to stick to his decisions.

Some members of the Syrian regime have had to visit leaders of several countries to apologize or explain their leader’s statements. After being threatened by Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi we believe from now on Al-Assad won’t discuss any issue with any leader on the phone. We also believe no other leader has reached such a level of confusion or insults other leaders. Al-Assad has isolated himself from leaders of the Arab world, especially after failing to give any valid excuse for calling them half-men and decorative leaders.

America 'alone'won't be enough
Posted on 9/11/2006
Ahmed Al-Jarallah

FIVE years have passed by since the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York in one of the worst terrorist attacks in the world. Although the United States has been able to prevent the spread of terrorism since that fateful day, it has yet to succeed in its mission of rooting out terrorism once and for all. This is because in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorists have proved their ability to improvise their methods, which has enabled them to continue their operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fighting terrorism should not be the concern of only the United States. We need an international alliance to combat this phenomenon because terrorism is not targeting any one country. Terrorists are active all over the world Ń including the Arab and Islamic countries, and Western Europe where Spain and Britain were the recent victims.

Five years after the destruction of the twin-towers in New York, terrorism has proved its ability to attack not only the US but any other country at any moment. President Bush thinks America's internal security and military operations abroad must be improved to confront this enemy and prevent terrorism from establishing an empire based on ideologies of hatred.

In view of these facts, the whole world will pass through a tough time until terrorism is ended. President Bush recently said "America won't be alone in this tough time. The United States is determined and dedicated to win this war against terrorism."
The problem is that terrorism has different sources. If these sources coordinate to open several fronts at the same time, the situation will become dangerous. Terrorists, who are active in Afghanistan and Iraq, have attacked Egypt and Saudi Arabia besides creating turmoil in India and Pakistan. We need international cooperation at the highest level to fight terrorism and end controversies over differentiating between terrorism and resistance.

The United States can't achieve this mission alone. The international community must support America in its efforts to root out this danger, which wants to spread hatred, destruction and killings all over the world.