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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

جبهة الخلاص الوطني مع ولايات متحدة

Today the Wall Street Journal printed an article by Jay Solomon, covering the Syrian opposition, which was full of inaccuracies. The piece began:

"On a humid afternoon in late May, about 100 supporters of Syria's largest exile opposition group, the National Salvation Front, gathered outside Damascus's embassy here to protest Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule. The participants shouted anti-Assad slogans and raised banners proclaiming: Change the Regime Now."
As I recall, there was also a banner that said "Bashar, 99.9% of the Syrian people reject your candidacy." You've got to give the NSF the credit for having the guts to turn out less than 100 people and claim that they represent more than 18 million.

Solomon continued:
"In the 1960s, the Baath party and the Assad family seized power, ushering in a violent chapter in Syrian history."
Actually, Hafez Assad was Defense Minister in the late 60s and didn't seize power until 1970. And that was a bloodless coup - the violence didn't surface until almost a decade later.

There was also mention of Ammar Abdhulhamid:
"During 2006, Syrian exile and democracy activist Ammar Abdulhamid emerged as one of the NSF's main liaisons with senior White House officials. In the weeks surrounding the Lebanon war, which began in July, Messrs. Abdulhamid and Ghadbian and other Syrian-Americans met with Mr. Abrams's deputies in the Old Executive Office building next to the White House. Through these intermediaries, the White House exhorted the NSF to build a wide coalition of opposition groups and to run it in a transparent and democratic manner, participants say. The two sides began discussing ways to highlight the problems of Syria's parliamentary and presidential elections, approaching in 2007. The Baathists allowed no candidates from other parties to run in the May 27 presidential poll."
The only trouble is that Ammar made it pretty clear that he was leaving the NSF back in June. And the elections were held back in May, as mentioned. I find this whole piece out of date, in fact. But some PR agency rang up the right people at the WSJ to get an obsolete puff-piece printed. For example, see this rosy portrayal of Khaddam as a do-gooder.

"By 2003, Mr. Khaddam says he believed one-party rule was fueling corruption and wrecking Syria's economy. Mr. Khaddam, then Syria's vice president, secretly contacted Mr. Bayanouni to discuss a rapprochement. Through a third party, Mr. Khaddam says he conveyed his belief that Syria could progress only if the Muslim Brotherhood was brought inside the political system. In 2005, Mr. Khaddam resigned and fled to Paris.

Messrs. Khaddam and Bayanouni formed the NSF in February 2006. The marriage of the Muslim Brothers and breakaway Baathists shocked many in the Arab world. The pair also reached out to the Bush administration, hoping a partnership with the U.S. could increase pressure on President Assad. Instead of requesting military aid or financing, the group is seeking Washington's help in focusing on Syria's human-rights record."

The subtitle of the piece also mentioned women's rights. Does anyone honestly believe that if the Brotherhood took over Syria, women would enjoy more rights than they currently do?

1 comment:

Wassim said...

Some had told me that the Muslim Brotherhood lost a lot of credibility in siding with Khaddam. Many considered this a bad move on the part of the MB and I imagine some within the movement already think so.