Thursday, July 15, 2004

:: Las week, there was an agreement between the governments of Iraq and Syria to form a special force to guard and watch the borders between the two countries in an attempt to put an end for the movement of intruders from Syria to the Iraqi lands.
This issue attracted a lot of attention in the Arab world and on the Arab Media. So as usual I’m presenting here a bunch of the responses (translated of course) posted by Arab readers on the BBC Arabic forum.
There were 81 comments until the moment when I finished preparing this post and I’ve chosen 14 of which that I found interesting or in some cases, weird!
However, to show you the whole picture about what I found in this forum, I performed some statistics work. And the results were:
- 32 % support the agreement but still doubt that the Syrian government is honest regarding the promises given to cooperate with Iraqis to control the passage of fighters across the borders.
- 17 % support the agreement unreservedly.
- 10 % are against the agreement and were critical of the new Iraqi government and the performance of the multinational forces in Iraq.
- 16 % totally against the agreement either because they don’t trust Syria (4%) or because they feel that it will disrupt the unity of the Arab world(12%).
- 19 % denied the whole subject and they think that no foreigners are entering Iraq to give the “resistance” a hand and this is just a Zionist-American conspiracy to control the region
- 6 % were not clear in their statements and didn’t reflect a definite inclination.

“I don’t think that Syria will show any minimal effort to secure the borders with Iraq. The presence of an unstable Iraq will serve her interests because this will impede the progress and democracy in Iraq. That’s why we ask our government to bear the whole responsibility of securing the borders instead of counting on an unelected dictatorship that cares only about protecting its heads and crushing uprisings”
Abu Yusuf-Baghdad/Iraq.

“Yes, Syria is helping the terrorists and every day some of those terrorists are getting caught. In Saddam’s days terrorism was exchanged between the two parts but today with the absence of the Iraqi Mukhabarat, Syria and Iran found open doors for their mercenaries to act under the slogans of Jihad. I think that the Syrian government acts wisely only under threats so I believe that Iraq should hold up the club that’s fit to scare wolves and bugs”!

“I’d just like to remind you that Al-Asad is the only Arab leader who described the “resistance” as legitimate without the slightest care for the feelings of the Iraqi people.
Also there are large numbers of our Arab “brothers” in the Iraqi prisons now and those were caught either while carrying out their plans or because of their suspicious movements in Iraq. It’s so obvious that some of the Arab countries, especially the neighboring ones are working hard to ruin the democratic process in Iraq. They’re trying to show terrorism and organized crime as pure Iraqi resistance in an attempt to tell America that the Arab world can not understand democracy and political reforms.
Sealing the borders with Syria and KSA is more than necessary in this stage and until things are clear”
Riyadh-Iraqi in Qatar.

“A good decision for the government in Syria and it will change it’s policies toward Iraq. Although it’s late, it will help to preserve security for the Iraqi citizen. Yes, Syria encouraged Syrians to go and fight in Iraq, especially after the fatwa and the call for Jihad released by the Syrian higher religious instructor and such fatwas can only be announced with the approval of the government.
They persuaded the young Syrians with hollow speeches that we still hear till now.
I thank president Bashar for waking up before it’s too late. I think it was the religious trend that pushed the Syrian government to the negative attitude toward Iraq”
Ghasan Ibrahim-Syria.

“Frankly it’s the best way to stop the intruders from crossing the borders and I wish this will be applied on Iran and Jordan until things cool up and return to normal”
safaa Al-Asadi-Najaf/Iraq.

“The decision cam late because the Syrian government had already sent most of it’s reserves of terrorists to Iraq before the war. More than 2000 Syrian extremists entered Iraq according to an agreement between the two governments before the war. Those were all religious extremists who belong to Al-Qaida. Saddam provided them with training camps and weapons. That’s what we saw on TV and in the streets before the war. Well, now the Syrians are using the Jihadists card to mess with America and the Iraqi people will receive the eventual harm”
Awadh Al-Taa’i-Baghdad/Iraq.

“I managed-with some colleagues-to cross the borders to Iraq with help from some Bedu tribes that live near the borders. It was a piece of cake but I had to return to Syria because I was wounded during the war. Neither the Iraq government, nor the Syrian government can stop me from going back to Iraq; the borders are so long and it’s so easy to get across”

“We-the Iraqis-have lost trust in any of the neighboring countries except for Kuwait. We need work, not words from those who try to settle their accounts with America on our land. I tell them: Iraq is not Lebanon and you’d better go and try to free your own land, or have you forgotten that you still have part of your land occupied?”
Shakir Al-Ajeeli-Babylon/Iraq.

“When I hear in the news that some Arabs coming from Syria were arrested, a question comes to my mind: why would a Palestinian come from Al-Yarmook camp (in Syrai) to fight and get killed in Iraq while he’s living only 50 km away from Al-Joulan? Why does a man come to Iraq from Yemen using a Syrian passport and how could he cross the borders if his passport was faked? Can hundreds of unemployed young men really cross the borders and the Syrian government knows nothing about their plans? Why is the Syrian president calling for a real government? How is this supposed to look like? Is he asking us to copy and use the process of his “election” as a president? I won’t answer but I ask the Syrian brothers (outside Syria)to answer me, just to avoid the embarrassment”
Mohammed Hasan-Iraqi in Dubai.

“We want the Syrians to control the borders with Iraq to prevent terrorists from entering Iraq with the same strict and serious way they use to protect the Syrian-Israeli borders. We all know that the Syrians don’t allow a tiny fly to cross the borders and enter Israel or Al-Joulan to perform terrorist attacks or “resistance” operations there. Will Syria do this? I don’t believe their promises as we have history with them and it’s not in their interests to see a free, democratic, federal and peaceful Iraq next door. This will be the end for the Syrian Ba├íthe reign. We shall wait and see.
By the way, Syria is still hosting a lot of Saddam’s followers who murdered the Iraqis. All these facts prove that Syria is not being honest when it comes to Iraq”
Mohammed Al-Khafaji-Babylon/Iraq.

“If Iraq is planning to live in peace then the Iraqis should consider building a wall similar to that one Israel is building to separate Iraq from any other Arab or Muslim country”
Omar Saif Al-Deen Al-Mashhadani-Baghdad.

“I can’t believe that 200 000 US soldiers in Iraq are incapable of watching the borders that are less than 1000 km in length. Let’s be more obvious; if the Americans wanted to seal the borders, they would’ve done it time ago”
Ali Mohammed-London.

“The puppet government in Iraq is only trying to attract attention in any possible way and I don’t think that the intruders are responsible for the resistance. The resistance is carried out by men from Iraq. Is it possible for a foreigner to find a place to hide and work in Iraq if no one wanted him to be there? The Iraqi government has to find other solutions to secure Iraq and this should be from inside not outside. And Iraqis should consider the neighbors as loyal friends not suspect friends”
Abdullah Al-Jahafi-Yemen.

“Sealing the Iraqi-Syrian borders is the first step on the way to seal all the borders among Arab countries and later, all the opportunities for Iraq and the Arab countries to prosper will be sealed”

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