Friday, August 12, 2005

Does protest work?

Two ladies, who took things in to their own hands, in their own special ways, have gained some recognition in the last few days by protesting against the same subject: the Iraq war. Which makes you wonder: how effective is public protest? The First lady is the more famous of the two; Cindy Sheehan has been camping outside President Bush’s home for nearly a week. She is the mother of a US soldier killed just five days after arriving in Iraq. Her tenacious stance has won her some serious attention in the US and has made headline news across the country. So much in fact that DoubleYa, while dodging a meeting with her, was forced to comment on the matter by sharing his “grieve” with the woman (insert vomiting picture here). The second lady is Hala Faisal, originally from Syria, she took a stroll in the Washington Square Park fountain in New York naked!!! Ronda Kaysen's article is what inspired this post. BTW Hala seems to be an ex-Syrian actress and her uncle was jailed, anyone knows more about who that?

There is no doubt that it took a lot of guts for these two women to do what they did/doing. But is it anything more than attracting attention to themselves and their lost cause? If millions of people failed in 2003 why the hell would one bitter mother and one naked middle aged lady (nice body for a 45 years old ;) in fountain make a difference? Should people (especially Americans) need to be reminded of decisions that are affecting human lives? Should one not give-up even though hope has long been gone? I am not speaking from moral high-ground here I assure you. Pacifism is a trait I proudly carry on many topics, but these ladies certainly don’t carry it when it comes to circumstances that affect people’s existence, even when these people live half a globe away.

Obviously public protest has worked on some occasions; Ukraine’s Orange and Georgia’s Rose revolutions are great example of protests producing real results. Whether these results where for the better is open to interpretation especially since corruption is still rampant and democracy is nowhere to be seen in the two countries.

But I leave it to the reader(s) of my very lonely blog to judge, and I look forward to hearing some views on the subject.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Iran seeks closer bonds with Syria against 'foes'

A day after devirginizing my blog with the opening post below, Michael Young writes this article in the Daily Star on the same subject. Michael’s analysis is certainly thought provoking but he fails to provide alternative solutions to Syria “foolhardiness” in allying with Iran at this delicate period.

It also makes one wonder if Michael sells-out his friends that quickly in real life? Does he chuck them out the window once they are no longer a significant “asset”? Even though I agree with him that Iran is the stronger partner of this relationship, Tehran is still as isolated and needs any ally it can get its hands on. Not to forget Syria’s stance against Saddam will not be easily forgotten by the “moralists” in Tehran.

I understand this is politics but Syria doesn’t seem to have any other option. Damascus tried bending backwards for Washington but the latter does not want to take notice or play fair. So Syria, and rightly so, has given up (temporarily) on playing nice.

Reiterating the American view that Syria needs to do more on the Iraqi border was the lowest point in this article. It was a cheap shot by all means because Young’s cannot be that stupid, and it doesn’t take a genius to know that the border issue is being leveraged by the American’s to continue pressuring Syria rather than it being the motivation for the pressure. Nevertheless the article worth a read.

Original Post:

The alliance between Syria and Iran has always been based on common interests rather than ideology. Syria’s government is secular while Iran continues to be run by conservative Islamic Shi’a clerics. But their common loathe for Saddam Hussein and American bias towards Israel, to their support for Hezbollah and weapon development cooperation. Both countries have relied on each other to avoid marginalization by the powers to be. But 2005 has held and will continue to hold enormous tests to this awkward friendship.

Iran continues to be drilled by the Euro-American “good cop/bad cop” campaign to deter it from developing its nuclear program. Syria on the other hand, and to put it mildly, is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Damascus has been under immense pressure from multiple directions and on different issues; controlling the Iraqi border, its presence in Lebanon, supporting Hezbollah and various Palestinian groups, the continuing conflict with Israel and last but not least being blamed for the assassinations in Lebanon.

Under these circumstances it is not surprising that both countries would search for strategic and possible military allies. Syria’s army is no match when compared to its Israeli counter part or the American military super-machine. Bringing Iran’s significant military force into play would probably make any country including the US think twice. But for Syria to align its self with a member of the “Axis of Evil” and “the world’s primary state sponsor of terror” is a double-edged sword. It can risk alienating itself further and damage its international public image.

But are there are any real alternatives out there? If Syria’s so called Arab “brothers” are either standing passively idle or actually participating in the pressure against Damascus. I guess its like that old saying goes “A friend in need is a friend indeed”