Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 13th, 2012

Egypt Moslem Brotherhood State newspaper: Cover me these breasts…

Anger surfaced this week after the Egyptian state’s flagship newspaper Al-Ahram modified a famous painting by Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar (1925-1966). Current Egypt Moslem Brotherhood State newspaper covered the breasts of a woman in it.

Artists and intellectual slammed the paper for the move, which was first reported last week by the Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar.

“The Popular Chorus” by Abdel Hady al-Gazzar

“On Wednesday, a loose coalition of Egyptian intellectuals called the Egyptian Creativity Front issued a statement condemning Al-Ahram for the distortion of Gazzar ‘s “Popular Chorus” (Al-Kawras Al-Shaabi).

The Al-Ahram article, entitled “Popular Chorus against Injustice” and published on 12 June, discusses how Gazzar was arrested because of the painting in 1948. The painting, which addresses poverty, disappeared and he repainted it in 1951.

Gazzar (1925-1966), one of Egypt’s most renowned artists, is acclaimed by critics for pioneering the use of everyday Egyptian themes.

The Egyptian Creativity Front’s statement described the paper’s “outrageous” act as being “incomprehensible and unjustified censorship.”

It further argued that this act of censorship can be connected to Salafis’ covering of nude Greek sculptures in Alexandria during rallies this week.

“We are not in a situation in which we are evaluating Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar’s paintings or talking about its value or the value of the artist in the minds of those interested in art. But we just ask: Who allowed the painting to be distorted?” the statement said.

The statement added that Al-Ahram was a tool of the Mubarak regime and as the official newspaper of the now dissolved National Democratic Party, the regime’s media line of defense against the opposition.

According to the statement, the paper now seems to be looking for a new regime to be used by: In the rise of political Islam it saw an opportunity to reach out to the current most powerful entity, it decided to commit this hypocritical act as a precaution.

Any difference between a Statesman and a Leader? For example, comparing Bashar with Hafez Assad of Syria…

In context:

President Bashar Assad of Syria is the second son of Hafez. The eldest son of the dictator Hafez, Bassel, died of supposedly a car accident, driving his fast Porsche. The youngest brother of Bashar died of cancer.

Hafez Assad ruled as a dictator for 30 years from 1971 to 2000.

During Hafez Assad, Syria had to contend with much more powerful enemies on its borders.

1. Saddam Hussein of Iraq was the prime nemesis to Hafez because they led the same party Al Baath in two adjacent States, and Iraq was far richer, more populous and its military hardware was diversified, including French weapons.

2. Israel still occupied the Golan Heights, and a third of Lebanon territory.

3. Turkey was not engaged in the Middle-East problems: Turkey of the Moslem Brotherhood will come to power in 2002 and has been in power for an entire decade…

4, Iran Islamic Republic was entirely focused on the long protracted war with Iraq (8 years of brutal and all-out terror).

5. Hezbollah in Lebanon was in its infancy (created in 1983).

6. Oil was not yet produced in Syria, and Syria relied completely on the Soviet Union for armement…

During Bashar, Iraq was totally impotent of doing much harm to its neighboring State because of the No-Fly-Zone and international embargo… The US invaded Iraq in 2003 , and Saddam was “ousted” and then hanged.

Israel still occupies the Golan Heights, but had to withdraw all its troops from Lebanon without any preconditions.

Turkey is getting engaged in the Middle East region and lately has been virulent and supporting the insurgents (sort of recalling its former Ottoman Empire status…)

Iran is more powerful than ever, more stable from within, and acquiring strategic interests in the region.

Hezbollah has grown and developed as a mighty structured and well-trained military machine.

Syria troops occupying Lebanon as a de facto mandated power withdrew in 2005 after the assassination of Rafik Hariri PM.

Bashar inherited a Syria with established institutions, an oil producing country, weaker States on its borders, and firmer control on many levers for negotiating better deals…

Hafez Al Assad had great patience:

1. He would never engage in any operation that might get foreign superpowers concerned before securing total support of the winning party of the moment in the region.  For example, Hafez knew that there existed a Red Line between the US and the Soviet Union in the Middle-East. Russia was not to expand beyond Turkey and Iran, these two States were to be within US sphere of influence, including Syria, Iraq… Consequently, any operation that would anger the US in the Middle-East had to be negotiated at length, whatever time it took to reach an agreement…

2. Hafez made it a point of honor to “deliver” on any promise or agreement. Thus, unless Hafez secured internal cohesion and alliance to his agreement, he would refrain from any promises that he might not be able to demonstrate his power to deliver…

This reminds me of the story of Tsar Paul I of Russia when Napoleon was only First Consul of Revolutionary France. It was not conceivable at the time for absolute monarchs to negotiate with a common person, even if he grabbed power. Paul I wrote to Napoleon: “I am ready to deal with you: You are a person who demonstrated he can deliver on agreements…”

This position angered the British Empire and they made sure for Tsar Paul I to be assassinated…

What follows are examples of how Hafez Assad operated to achieve his goals:

1. In 1970, King Hussein of Jordan was militarily annihilating the Palestinian resistance movement in Jordan: Over 70% of the Jordanians have origin in Palestine.  The Syrian defense minister dispatched tanks toward Jordan to pressure Hussein in stopping the carnage. Israel sent a couple of jets to over fly the frenzied speeding Syrian tanks.

Hafez was the chief of the air force at the time and got the message right: He refrained from engaging the Syrian air-force or to give aerial support to the tanks.  The advancing tanks stopped and returned… What was the price?

1. Hafez received “foreign” support when he waged a successful military coup in 1971.

2. The PLO was cornered to deal directly with Hafez who nibbled on the Palestinian Organization to get full hold on its internal decisions… The civil war in Lebanon was a tag of war on how much the PLO can secure self-autonomy from direct Syria interventions

In September 1973, The small Syrian army of barely 100,000 soldiers in total managed to recaptured the Golan Heights, only to retreat from the conquered part after the US established the largest airlift in its history to supply Israel with all the military hardware, satellite intelligence, and even pilots…

In 1981, Syria Moslem Brotherhood, mostly concentrated in Homs, was very virulent and had been attacking Syria institutions and targeting Hafez Assad elite people for a couple of years now. Hafez was very patient and trying to negotiate a deal with the Brotherhood. Why?

Sadat of Egypt had rallied Egypt Brotherhood around him and Hafez was dissatisfied with Sadat unilateral peace with Israel… but Syria Moslem Brotherhood kept backing Sadat of Egypt and giving serious trouble to Hafez…

Hafez negotiated with the US at length and receive the green light to put down the Brotherhood uprising. The action was irreversible, brutal, unconditional…and thousands of Brotherhood members and supporters were persecuted for years.  Hundreds in jails (mainly in Palmira , Tadmor) were executed on a weekly basis…

And the invasion of Lebanon, starting in 1976, at the instigation of the Christian leaders as the PLO and Lebanese left opposition alliance advanced into the “Christian” region…Hafez waited until the PLO got heavily engaged in Lebanon’s morass…

And the support of Desert Storm and sending a contingent to fight alongside the US troops as Saddam’s troops invaded Kuwait. And what was the price in return? A mandated power over Lebanon that lasted 15 years til 2005…

And what of his second son Bashar Assad who replaced Hafez in 2000?

The eldest son,  Bassel, had died from a car accident, driving a fast car. He was an extrovert person and was liked among the military…

And Bashar, studying ophthalmology (eye doctor for corrective lenses…) was summoned from England to return and get initiated and educated to the labyrinth of power…

Hafez had cancer for many years (since 1983?) and was being treated in Russia, and his days were counted and he was accelerating the position of responsibilities assigned to Bashar… But Bashar is an introvert…

Bashar public speeches are a pain in the ass… He cannot differentiate between political speeches and official lecturing on what is rational, logical, and should be done (logically and rationally). I had watched many Arab leaders snoozing during Bashar’s lengthy speeches…

Syria “Constitution” was modified in order to permit young Basher (33 instead of 40 in age) to become President in 2000.

In that year, Israel was forced to withdraw unilaterally from south Lebanon, and Bashar was barely in power and trying to affirm his hold, and missed a golden opportunity to withdraw his troops from Lebanon…

Those  leaders who hate Bashar or Syria, blame him for failing to deliver on agreements and promises….

Mind you that time had changed: Bush Jr invaded Iraq and didn’t ask for Bashar’s input on the decision.

Bashar was delivered ultimatum to fully side with the US forces… and to outdo the US capabilities in preventing infiltrated Iraqi nationalists from entering Iraq and engaging the US occupation troops….

And Saudi Arabia was not pleased with Bashar blocking any Wahhabi sect doctrine and activities to overwhelm the Syrians with free Wahhabi tailor-made Korans, and appointing Wahhabi sheikhs to Mosques…

And Turkey Moslem Brotherhood in power wanted to believe that opening up to Syria will ultimately encourage Bashar to extend a hand to the Syria Moslem Brotherhood and include them in the government and institutions… Mind you that Turkey Moslem Brotherhood have been in power for a decade…

Time has changed.

Bashar had to juggle with Iran strategic interests in the region: Iran during Bashar is not the same Iran during Hafez, trying to defend itself from Saddam invasion of its lands and waging a war that lasted 8 years…

Time has changed. Bashar has no longer troops in Lebanon in order to find himself in any solid position to “deliver” on agreements…

Time has changed. Bashar has reorganized the army and expanded it in order to confront eventual Israeli preemptive wars with the total support of the US.  The Syrian army is no longer a force to maintain Hafez in power, but to safeguard Syria from demanding foreign and regional powers…

Time has changed: Syria is currently floating on gas, the largest reserve in the world, and every potential country wants to have a piece of the pie and laying pipeline through Syria…

And Syria was engulfed in a “civil war” two years after the Arab Spring in 2011.

And Syria infrastructure are disturbed and its main cities (Aleppo and Homs…) are in ruin…

And the Syrians are fleeing in droves to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan (over one million refugees are relying on the UN to survive in make-shift tents…) as is the case of the Palestinians when they were forced to leave their towns and villages in 1948 and in 1967…

Is Hafez Assad a stateman, a leader, both or neither?

Is Bashar Assad a stateman, a leader, both or neither?

Hafez was ruthless, and he established a dynasty. He gave Syria 3 decades of relative stability and continuity. He invested in the infrastructure of remote regions, spread public schools and health care. Hafez demonstrated the saying that:

“If war against Israel is tenuous without Egypt, a comprehensive peace cannot be reached without Syria…”

Hafez was considered a key player by all regional powers in Middle-East dynamics and his opinion was taken seriously…

Hafez initiated two decades of terror against the Syrian Moslem Brotherhood members and tortured and detained for extended prison terms to their family members and  “potential” opponents.

Bashar started a young president and did all the mistakes a young leader can do, and failed to grab the many opportunities opened to him.

He started arrogant, coy, and behaved as a son spoon-fed in silver utensils. Most probably, he has no patience for other people opinions and love to listen to his own talks, and tends to see the world more on the black and white aspect…

The current problems in Syria are the last opportunity to salvage his reign: Either he lose or prevails over the new wave of Moslem Brotherhood cultist dictatorship sweeping in the Middle-East.

If Bashar vanquishes, on the rubble of Syria, he will be remembered as the main leader who saved this region from this monster storm that is in total cohort with the US strategic plan for the Greater Middle East domination.

Time changes: Do you think potential political leaders are harder to locate?

Time changes: Do you think potential statemen are harder to form and discover?




November 2012

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