Friday, March 04, 2005

I can't sleep

I can’t sleep. I took two sleeping pills. They didn’t work. I can’t take any more, because I’m also using heart medicine. I tried playing internet poker, but I can’t focus. Right now there is nothing I can do. I have to wait till after the speech, which is at about lunch time here on the West coast. After that I have the meeting with the former police officer.

There is something I wanted to say a long time ago, but I didn’t have the time, because of my visit to Asia.

I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the family of my close friend and former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri. His death was a shock to me. I was horrified. I know exactly who did it and why. More about that later.

I called his family to tell them how shocked I was. I wanted to be present at the funeral, but the secret service vetoed that idea. It wasn’t safe, especially not with Hezbollah still armed to the teeth.

Mr. Hariri, lovingly called Mr. Lebanon by his fellow countrymen, was the driving force behind the reconstruction of Lebanon after the civil war. Lately he was also the driving force behind the movement to ask the Syrian government to pull its soldiers and secret service agents out of Lebanon.

That’s the reason the Syrians killed him. If Syria has to pull out of Lebanon, it will be pretty much encircled by enemy states. NATO member Turkey to the north, American troops in Iraq to the East, pro-American Jordan to the south (By the way Syria is occupying a large amount of Jordanian land, which King Abdullah wants back) and Israel to the south west.

The Syrian government killed Rafiq Hariri, because they are afraid that Lebanon would not just be sovereign if they pulled out their forces, but might in time be dominated by another power, be it Israel or the US, which is more likely.

Another reason is strategic depth. The capital of Syria is just a few miles from the border of Lebanon. And also just a few miles away from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Which is probably the reason Israel chose to occupy the Golan Heights. Standing on the mountains of the Golan Heights you can see Damascus in the distance. The Syrians know this. It’s a great deterrent against any Syrian adventurism.

This is the reason the Syrian government always uses the Hezbollah, a Lebanese group to attack Israel instead of attacking Israel itself.

Aside from a national defense dimension there is also the economic dimension. Syria has a hybrid half communist, half capitalist economic system. Syria is bankrupt and has been ever since the end of the Soviet Union. Without the economic power of Lebanon, Syria will fall apart economically.

Syria is also under economic sanctions by the US. Lebanon isn’t, so products Syria needs are bought by Lebanon, then transferred to Syria. There are also one million Syrians working in Lebanon. If they have to go back to Syria, Syria will see a lot of social problems with these unemployed young men.

In other words, without Lebanon, Syria will be boxed in from a military point of view and an economic point of view. Syria without Lebanon would be weak and exposed.

From the Syrian’s point of view Rafiq Hariri had to die, because he wanted them to leave. And he as a billionaire had the clout to gather international support for this idea. He was the one who asked the US and France to support United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, which calls upon Syria to leave Lebanon.

Some US commentators say the Hariri murder might have been organized by Syria’s old guard without the knowledge of Syria’s young, inexperienced president Bashar Assad. This is an old myth dictators create to deflect responsibility.

Go back into history and you will see texts in old Roman books saying, the emperor had raised taxes for instance and the population, who didn’t want or dare attack the emperor for his mistake, they would say the emperor’s underlings had made the mistake without the emperor knowing.

I read books in which Germans, whose family members had been hauled off to concentration camps by the Nazi’s, said “If only Herr Hitler knew about this situation, he’d do something about it”. Well Herr Hitler knew about it and had actually ordered it.

It’s an old trick. The dictator can make mistakes and deflects taking responsibility by giving the impression he isn’t his own man and the population can criticize the dictator’s policies without criticizing him personally.

Bashar Assad ordered the death of Rafiq Hariri. Bashar Assad is in control of Syria.

People in the media should stop making up infantile excuses by saying the real power behind Bashar Assad killed Hariri. Assad is the power.

There are also people, who think you need to give Bashar Assad incentives to behave more responsibly, to make him stop supporting terrorists in Lebanon and Israel. This is nonsense. It took me almost eight years to understand that our way of thinking is not their way of thinking. Their way, I mean a country’s dictator’s way of thinking.

A dictator wants to stay in power. That’s all. A dictator doesn’t care about his population, war, peace. He only wants to stay in power. Everything else is negotiable.

You have to understand the Syrian tyranny. Syria’s president Bashar Assad belongs to a minority religious sect called the Alawis, a sub-group of Islam. The top government and army officials belong to the same sect, which only 10 percent of Syria belongs to. In other words 10 percent of the population is lording over the 80 percent of Syrians, who are Sunni Muslims.

Syria can not be a normal country, because that would mean, the minority Alawis giving up power to the vast majority of Sunnis. This is the reason, why Syria has to be always in a state of turmoil if Bashar Assad and his cronies want to stay in power.

As long as there is an external enemy, like Israel occupying the Golan Heights, as long as there is Turkey “occupying” according to Syria the province of Hatay, the Biblical Antioch, there are external enemies, which focus the majority populations’ attention on these external enemies.

Were these external enemies to disappear, the majority would have the time to consider their own plight. That is a dictator’s worst nightmare, because thinking about a problem and thinking about ways to solve the problem are very closely connected. This is the reason a minority government like Bashar Assad’s Syrian dictatorship needs chaos and turmoil to exist. It doesn’t want peace with its neighbors. It doesn’t want its people to be prosperous and content and have time to think about their situation.

The only way to stop Syria from being a constant threat and stop them from spreading chaos is to topple the minority government of Bashar Assad and let the majority of Syrians rule.

President Bush did this in Iraq and now that the majority Shia are in power, Iraq is looking inwards, trying to make the lives of its people better. That is what democracies do, they look inward instead of threatening their neighbors, the United States or Israel or the oil supply and with that the world economy. Majority rule means peace. Minority rule, like Bashar Assad’s dictatorship means chaos, terrorism and war.