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Article 10 - Syrian Property Law

by Oui Thu Apr 26th, 2018 at 07:29:49 PM EST

Used in Israel in 1950 after the Nakba, the removal of Palestinians, and used in the 1980s in Beirut after the Civil War. Basically its purpose is to complete ethnic cleansing after a devastating conflict in a war zone.

As my brother was jailed in Dubai, left holding the bag, the Chicago mobster building constructors moved out to the green pastures of a booming Beirut, Lebanon.

10m Syrians at risk of forfeiting homes under new property law | The Guardian |

More than 10 million Syrians who have fled the country's raging war have been told to lay claim to their homes by early May or risk forfeiting them to the state.

A property law announced this month has raised widespread fears that Syrian citizens who have opposed Bashar al-Assad face permanent exile and that other people considered loyalists may be given access to their communities.

With the majority of internally displaced and overseas refugees unable or unwilling to return to prove ownership of properties, analysts and exiles say the law, known as article 10, and the tight timeframe surrounding it could serve as an instrument of demographic change and social engineering.

It has drawn parallels with laws enacted in Lebanon after the civil war to seize land in central Beirut, and the absentee property law in Israel in 1950 that legalised seizures from Palestinians driven from their lands.
The Syrian law empowers local administrations to re-register property ownership within their areas, a move that requires landowners to be present.

More below the fold ...

On the sidelines of the summit [EU-UN Donor Conference] , which concluded with close to a $5bn shortfall in aid pledges, officials from both sides said there was an increasing understanding in Europe that many of the estimated 1.5 million Syrians now on the continent were not going home.

"This is the nail in the coffin for them," said a senior EU official. "This is blatant power consolidation by Assad."

Nadim Shehadi, the director of the Fares Centre for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University in the US, said the full effect of the property law remained unclear. "Much will depend on implementation. This could be ethnic cleansing by stealth, not dissimilar to absentee laws we have seen before," he said.

"In Lebanon we had a similar law in the rebuilding of the Nahr al-Bared camp, which was destroyed in 2007 by the Lebanese army in a fight with a terrorist group called Fath al-Islam. There were illegal constructions in contravention to zoning and building regulations and unclear property rights with complicated compensation regimes."

Rafik Hariri rebuilding Beirut after the Civil War with Saudi finances - corruption, an oligarch

Rafiq Hariri, Billionaire prime minister of Lebanon  | The Independent - Feb. 15, 2005 |

When the open-minded Hariri was voted in as prime minister in 1992, he was welcomed as a breath of fresh air in a scene dominated by warlords. People tired of civil war and corruption pinned hopes on the tycoon to restore Beirut's pre-war reputation as a leading financial centre. He succeeded in putting Beirut back on the international financial map through the issuing of eurobonds, winning the praise of the World Bank for his plan to borrow reconstruction money.

Using his financial clout, and contacts, the billionaire entrepreneur attracted foreign investment, mainly from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf where he had made his massive fortune, and set up private redevelopment firms to rebuild the business heart of Beirut. His critics say he was behind compulsory purchasing orders, appropriating land from impoverished families, to rebuild big hotels, shopping malls and other projects, in contracts awarded to his relatives and friends. Others were critical of his economic strategy after he saddled the nation with big debts, which contributed to his 1998 departure from office following a row with the Syrian-backed president, Emile Lahoud, who opposed Hariri's political, economic and social plans.

Ordinary Lebanese began to judge him by the same standards applied to other politicians, many of whom had made their fortunes in civil-war activities, after two successive periods in office.

Lebanon's "14 March": from protest to leadership

My diary on neo-conservatives in US Congress and the removal of Assad

Obama 'Connived' with Neocons for a Bashar Replacement by Oui @BooMan on June 16, 2014

Bringing the War Home: Neocons Attack the State Department | FPIF - April 2003 |

As U.S. forces consolidate the occupation in Iraq the neoconservatives are bringing the war home again, re-opening the front in Washington with an artillery barrage against the State Department.

The opening salvo was delivered on April 22 by the former Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives (1995-98) and member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, Newt Gingrich, at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Gingrich, who is close to Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, aimed the full fury of his rhetorical fire on a building located about two kilometers to the southwest, the State Department, which he accused of actively subverting President George W. Bush's agenda in Iraq and beyond.

"The last seven months have involved six months of diplomatic failure and one month of military success," Gingrich charged, adding, "Now the State Department is back at work pursuing policies that will clearly throw away all the fruits of hard-won victory." While he insisted he was not faulting Secretary of State Colin Powell, whom he depicted as a prisoner of the Department and its Near East bureau, he called for a thoroughgoing transformation of the diplomatic service. "Without bold dramatic change at the State Department," Gingrich warned, "the United States will soon find itself on the defensive everywhere except militarily. In the long run that is a very dangerous position for the world's leading democracy."

It was a stunning attack from someone so closely identified with Rumsfeld and the neoconservative hawks around him. Charles Kupchan, a foreign policy expert at Georgetown University, said Gingrich, as a member of the Policy Board, probably even cleared his remarks with top officials. "I've never seen a wholesale attack on America's entire diplomatic establishment like this," Kupchan said. "This is fundamentally about ideology and the efforts of the neoconservatives to institutionalize their victories over the moderate and liberal internationalists."

The General's Gambit | Foreign Policy - Dec. 2012 |

Petraeus tried to warn Assad about the foreign fighters in Iraq. Now they're coming for him.

On Jan. 8, 2008, Gen. David Petraeus's face was beamed onto a screen in the White House for a videoconference with President George W. Bush. The Iraq surge was beginning to wind down, and the general had an unusual proposal for the commander in chief.

"I've received three messages from Bashar al-Assad via Iraqi ministers stating that he'd like to meet," Petraeus told the president, according to a classified script for the presentation. "Stan McChrystal and I still want to go to Damascus to talk AQI only with Bashar al-Assad and solicit his help in stemming the flow of foreign fighters and taking on known AQ personalities who work in Syria."

AQI was al Qaeda in Iraq, the global terrorist group's Iraqi franchise, and Petraeus thought that if he and McChrystal, then the three-star commander of the secret special-operations forces in the region, confronted Assad, they just might convince him to curb the flow of Arab fighters traveling through Syria to join al Qaeda's campaign of suicide bombings in Iraq. The volunteers were Sunni extremists, after all, and their presence might eventually pose a threat to Assad, who ruled Syria with an iron hand with the help of a small elite drawn from the minority Alawite sect.

The point was underscored by U.S. intelligence assessments, which noted that the route the would-be jihadists took to the war was also their way out. Foreign fighters "who gained operational experience while fighting in Iraq return to their source countries through Syria," one such report observed. "These experienced fighters returning from jihad pose a threat to the Syrian regime. Although Syria currently is mainly a transit point for AQI, Syria will be an AQI target in the future. AQI ultimately intends to conduct attacks in Syria."

McChrystal working for UAE-owned arms company Knowledge International LLC [Sorry: This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine]
US Elite Military Taking Mercenary Jobs In Abu Dhabi by Oui @BooMan on Dec. 23, 2012
The United Arab Emirates Is Rapidly Militarizing
UAE Moves to Horn of Africa to establish A first military Base in Berbera Somaliland
Erik Prince to Prince bin Zayed: The private military connection in UAE | Alaraby - July 2017 |

Placing the Nakba in context of the Jewish exodus from Europe after the atrocities of the Nazi regime in the Second World War ...

Pretending away the Nakba only perpetuates the conflict | 972 Mag - Feb. 2013 |

When the Czechs prefer to keep silent and repress their history, it's a problem, but it is not an imminent danger to the country. When Israelis prefer to pretend there was no ethnic cleansing here, it's a wholly different question: the conflict won't end unless Israel admits to the injustice it caused.

 « click for more info
Palestinian refugees 'making their way from Galilee in October-November 1948' (Photo credit: Fred Csasznik, copyright expired)

The Poles made it clear to Jews who thought they could return home, with the pogrom in Kielce and by hundreds and thousands of terror killings on the roads and on trains, that they, too, are an ethnic minority whose historical role is over. Without understanding these events, it's impossible to understand some of Alterman's most haunting, poisoned lines in "The Child Avram":

        Before him stand, then, the Seventy Nations,
        And say: We are upon you!
        With seventy acts of laws and seventy axes,
        We shall return you to this house!
        We shall make you lie down in the ready bed,

        And you slept in it as still as your father!

Orwell understood what was going on in 1946, in his Politics and the English Language, so reminiscent of Tacitus about the ways the Roman used language: "Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers." Orwell was speaking of the need of newspapers written in English to speak about what their governments agreed to, without making the readers understand what is it that they mean. In Eastern Europe, it was well understood. There, a "mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details" would simply not be enough; hence they spoke of the events as little as possible.

As far as its Jewish population is concerned, Palestine in 1947 was a branch of Eastern Europe, and it can be argued that its history in 1947-1948 simply cannot be understood without knowing what happened, two years earlier, in Europe. What took place there, echoed here, and when "normal" acts of hostility exploded, in November 1947, into war, tens of thousands of people who could not bring their families back, and who could not avenge themselves on the Germans - for other people already did that, yet another so-called proof of Jewish powerlessness - did on their new land what Eastern Europeans carried out on their side: they acted out an ethnic cleansing and looted the property of the other people. Afterwards they removed everything which might remind them of the people who lived here before them. And when the refugees tried to return, they shot at them. And that, not the expulsion during wartime but the refusal to let them back at peacetime, was the true birth of the refugee problem.

And then came the great silence.

re: "after a devastating conflict"

It's not finished. And the entire enterprise is "ethnic cleansing". Such is the reality of war despite lofty admonishments to the contrary where civilians are never injured, women are never raped, children are never starved, to the victors go the spoils, and POWs and refugees return from camps to wherever they came from to wipe away the dust and resume luncheon.

War is genocide. With that intention in mind comparisons of survivors' losses attains some semblance of rationality typically measured in legal tender of the day ... by them that's got it to spend.

Missile strike targets Syrian military positions in Hama, Aleppo countrysides: state TV
Surprising no one, I hope, anglophone press has yet to report.

Also I have hardly seen any headlines about FUKUS deployment of special forces to northern Syria since Juan Cole put a finger in the wind, "What Will Happen to Syria After Trump's Withdrawal? (19 Apr). This appeared to me surreptitiously to validate an earlier prediction,"Foreign Correspondent: The U.S. Is Permanently Occupying Northern Syria, and That's Trouble" (13 Feb) and what Kurdish "disillusion" with FUKUS infiltration and overtly arbitrary bombing that has escaped embargo since the new year. Focus on Turkey's dirty, occidental rear guard allows FUKUS to entrench its positions and distribute real estate grants, or rubble, to the last "friendlies" standing, if any. Macron and Trump scarcely appear to agree on who will deal the "reconstruction" cards.

That said, I think it premature to condemn Asaad's motive(s) for confiscating abandoned property now.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Apr 30th, 2018 at 12:28:51 AM EST
Incidentally, the Angry Arab finally passes US "progressive" muster.
The (Unrecognized) US Contribution to Bloodshed in Syria

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Apr 30th, 2018 at 02:11:07 AM EST
Canadian citizen Maher Arar was arrested in New York in 2002 and deported to Syria to be tortured | CBC |

A former spy has described the debate within the CIA over the arrest, rendition and torture of Canadian Maher Arar, saying multiple colleagues warned against it because they were convinced they were punishing an innocent man.

The account from former CIA officer John Kiriakou sheds new light on decade-old events that caused a public inquiry in Canada, a $10 million payout from the federal government, and unsuccessful lawsuits in the U.S.

It's a rare peek into discussions within the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency -- whose role in the 2002-03 events has never been publicly examined, having remained off-limits in Canada's inquiry.

It came during an interview at the ex-spy's Virginia home, where he described how he went from being the head of counterterrorism operations in Pakistan after 9-11, to becoming the first CIA employee to publicly question the use of torture, to eventually spending two years in jail for leaking agency secrets.

During that interview, Kiriakou declined to discuss whether he'd interacted with Canada's spy services -- because, he said, revealing details about a foreign partner remains a cardinal sin in the world of espionage.

U.S. official key to sending Maher Arar to Syria torture appointed law professor
U.S. House Hearing on Foreign Affairs: Torture and the Case of Maher Arar

    Arar's story also demonstrates how a democracy should respond when such a wrong has been done. Canada undertook an extensive high-level official investigation of Arar's treatment, and Canada's complicity in it. It issued a lengthy report fully exonerating Mr. Arar and harshly criticizing Canadian authorities. And it paid Arar a substantial damages award for its complicity in the wrongs that the United States and Syria inflicted on him. By contrast, the United States argues that Arar's claims cannot even be heard in court, claiming that its interest in secrecy trumps even the prohibition on torture.

Obama's pledge to "look forward" on torture doesn't apply to John Kiriakou

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Mon Apr 30th, 2018 at 07:31:22 AM EST
At the crossroads of religious intolerance and the attack on liberal values of the Western world.

Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right

Tens of Millions to Evangelize and Privatize the Globe

Acton Institute is a right-wing think tank which combines free market fundamentalism with Dominion Theology, or the belief that Christians should take control over the institutions of society and government.  Acton Institute brings together Dominionists and business interests that have common interests, such as opposition to environmental regulation.

Calvin Beisner, who has been an Acton Fellow, heads the Cornwall Alliance, which recently produced a pseudo-documentary titled "Resisting the Green Dragon."  In the production, Religious Right leaders, including several from organizations funded by the Prince and DeVos families, claim that environmentalism is a cult competing with Christianity. The Acton Institute is a sponsor of the Worldview Super Conference of American Vision, a Dominionist organization cited as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their virulently anti-gay activism.

Most recent addition in RightWeb on Erik Prince and the right-wing ties to Cambridge Analytica ...

Erik Prince And Big Data

    Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Mon Apr 30th, 2018 at 08:32:26 AM EST

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Apr 30th, 2018 at 05:07:34 PM EST
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