Manaf Tlass Defects

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The story is now a headline: Alquds Alarabi (a Qatari-funded Arab nationalist newspaper based in London which – like all Qatari-funded media – has been increasingly vocal and strict in its adherence to Qatari foreign policy orientations) put it as the main headline.

Western media have been desperately looking for a high-level defection and they found it.

It will now be treated as the most important development in international relations since Rudolph Hess flew his plane to the UK on a bizarre mission during WWII.

Manaf maybe more sane than Hess, but the significance will have to be put in context.

The reaction of the regime will be predictable: he will be branded as a traitor and tales of his corruption (and the corruption of his family, if they join him) will be extensively detailed.

It will be said that he was about to be arrested on charges of embezzlement, corruption, and extortion when he fled Syria.

The regime will be careful at first in its reaction to test whether his father, Mustafa, will join him. The Syrian regime, however, can never explain this riddle: if those people are so bad (as they now say of former vice president Abdul-Halim Khaddam), how could they reach the top echelons of the regime, if it is supposed to be squeaky clean?

Manaf belongs to the group of royal brats in Syria: these were the sons of the top officials who attended the same schools and went on the same trips and who – to varying degrees – inherited power.

These were the sons of Khaddam and Hafez al-Assad, along with the Makhloufs, of course, and others. Manaf rose in the military which for long years was headed – in name, that is – by his father.

There is no question that his departure is a blow to the regime and to its propaganda. Here is a friend and confidante of Bashar: he is someone who was part of the very inner circle.

The opposition will welcome him with open arms – his first stop may be in Riyadh or the UAE, where his brother, Firas (a man who made a fortune from his ties to the regime), is based.

But none of the Western media or Syrian opposition media will raise serious questions about this man. He was a senior commander in the Republican Guards and has blood on his hands.

Is the search for high-ranking defectors so desperate that criminals and oppressors are welcomed to join the cause?

The recent Cairo document by the exile Syrian opposition made a distinction between members of the military with blood on their hands and members of the military who have no blood on their hands.

But how will that distinction be made after “liberation,” so to speak? Will members of the military be asked to roll up their sleeves and show their hands to see if there are stains or spots? Will all be spared except those whose hands are dripping with blood?

And how could Manaf be immune from the very war crimes accusations leveled at the regime by Western human rights organizations and by the Syrian exile opposition?

Will Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch request that he be arrested and charged with war crimes, in his capacity as a commander of a criminal and repressive arm of the regime?

Or will his crimes be forgotten (just as the crimes of Husain Kamil were forgotten once he defected to Jordan) because he may prove to be useful (idiot?) to Western governments?

It is highly likely that Saudi or Qatari media will host him and he will speak about his deep sorrow and about how he (very much like Khaddam) sought to bring down the regime – but from within?

If Western governments and the subservient Western human rights organizations are serious about their charges and about their statements, they are obligated to call for the arrest and punishment of Manaf Tlass.

But that is highly unlikely. The West is merely trying to replace one criminal regime with another. Israel wants to preserve the regime because it wants to continue to enjoy the fruits of its long undeclared peace treaty with the Assad regime.

The US and the West can only comply with Israel’s wishes. They may declare Manaf to be the savior of Syria. Where are the Syrian people in all this?


Perhaps you have forgotten to mention that from the beginning he was against violence (الحل الأمني) and pushed for dialogue with the opposition. We all know that he met with many oppositions on the ground (as Michel Kilo, Hasan Abd el Azim, etc..). And then was asked from the president to step aside . So as far as we are concerned I see no bloody hands.
His defection was a very good thing for the revolution, and he is more than welcome.

wonder how much is Qatari payday was for...

Slamming "criminal" seems to be the easiest thing in the world these days. If this man Manaf Tlass is known for something, it is for his refusal and clear position against the security/ military solution. He stood firm against the bloodshed but you among all smart people should at least consider the risks this position involved and that he nonetheless took.. Can you even bother thinking clearly and reflecting before using cliche incriminating vocabulary and statements, and Imagine the kind of risk he took to make those clear statements and keep repeating out loud his harsh criticism and denounciation while being in his position inside the country AND FOR MORE THAN A YEAR while the threats continued .This man battled just as much as the people on the ground but on his own field and alone .... He remained the sting from within, that did not bend to the hard liners' pressure. This battle in Syria is on different fronts, and he was the only one on that front and never conceded even with all the threats and risks it entailed.
Sorry to disappoint your personal vendetta, but that guy is a hero to many people's eyes

If "The US and the West can only comply with Israel’s wishes" then it is with the full blessing of same that they energetically attack the Syrian government for the past 16 months. This reality self-evidently vitiates the author's claim that "Israel wants to preserve the [Assad] regime".

Netanyahu & Co. obviously hope that if a pliant US/Saudi-controlled clique can be installed in Damascus, their demented lust for Yanki bombing of Tehran will yet be satisfied.

"The opposition will welcome him with open arms – his first stop may be in Riyadh or the UAE, where his brother, Firas (a man who made a fortune from his ties to the regime), is based."

"The Syrian National Council has announced that it will cooperate with Manaf Tlas. Where are the slogans about punishing the war criminals in Syria? Where are the slogans about making the war criminals pay for their crimes? The Syrian National Council said that it will cooperate with any war criminal in Syria, provided it will benefit politically."

Who said that all of the Syrian opposition agree with this? Who said that all of the Syrian opposition will look the other way because Rif'at al-Assad is protected by King Abdullah? Why do you always like to project your biases to suit your propaganda? Where were the slogans about "mumana'a" from the Assad mafia when Bashar's grandfather was a stooge for the French Mandate praising the "lovely Jews" or when Hafez al-Assad collaborated with the Americans in Gulf War I and was rewarded with the occupation of Lebanon? Where were the slogans of "mumana'a" when Iran and it's proxies were inciting the Zionist Neocons to attack Iraq, riding American tanks into power in Afghanistan and Iraq and taking billions from them, Iran opening it's airspace for American warplanes to attack Afghanistan? Where was the takhween carnival of all of the Syrian opposition by Hezbollah and Amal when their allies were riding American tanks into power? Why were your people, the Lebanese Shi'ites, totally silent towards this with the exception of yourself and Tufayli, then they have the audacity to accuse other of sectarianism and ta'assub?

Israel wants to keep the regime? Undeclared peace treaty? You wanted Syria to go into war alone against Israel on its own after Egypt deserted in 1979? You wanted Syria to go into war along against Israel during the Lebanese civil war? You wanted Syria to go into war alone against Israel when Turkey was threatening to attack? You wanted Syria to go into war alone against Israel, and all Arab countries, while foreign governments and media are constantly attacking it?

Please tell us what part of the "undeclared peace treaty" that Hizbullah fits into. I'm intrigued.

dear ANON 18;53
You should know that our Pundit is not bound by political,or military gravity. Poor Hafez is castigated for failing to destroy Israel (and thereby,banish the White Man, and restore Arab PPPride ).At least we should credit Hafez with better choices than Nasser.
Also: It doesn't matter THAT much to Israeli security who rules in Damascus...... Israel relies on its armed forces for its defense rather than its chummy relationship with the current Syrian regime

If Syrian can go it alone with it's allies in Lebanon and show it's "bravery" against the Palestinians in Tal az-Za'tar, the siege of Tripoli, supporting Amal in the War of the Camps, then your damn right it is hypocritical, and the "mumana'a" of the Palestinians didn't suffice for the Assadi regime and its cronies, so it shouldn't expect reciprocation.

7abibi, let's not get ahead of ourselves about Palestinians in the Lebanese civil war. All parties involved were filthy. The Palestinians are not innocent of the sectarian killings (dab7 3al hawiyyeh) that took place all over Lebanon throughout the civil war. Some of Hafez's decisions in Lebanon I will never agree with or even understand, but Yaser Arafat and Walid Jumblatt were not the heroes that Lebanon was waiting for, and we see now that as soon as the Syrian army left, northern Lebanon became the new Taliban republic. Also fact still remains that Palestinians in Syria have all the rights of Syrians except voting. They are allowed to buy homes, have the right to free education and health car, and can work in the public sector. Palestinians were even included in the Ba`th party and Syria's national anthem was written by a Palestinian. For every example you provide of something "anti-Palestinian" Syria has done, there are tens of examples proving the contrary.

You just exposed yourself and you just proved my point as the supporters of Bashar are demanding that the anti-Bashar Syrians put up with Bashar no matter what because of his "mumana'a", and yet the Assadi regime and its allies didn't apply this to the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon whose "mumana'a" didn't suffice despite their transgressions and yes, I never denied they committed crimes, though it pales to what the Assadi regime did in Lebanon. And the thousands of Palestinians killed by the Assadi regime and its allies and the crushing of the Palestinian resistance isn't just an "example" proving that the Assadi regime and the "mumana'a" camp uses the Palestinian cause for it's own purposes and Saddam treated the Palestinians even better than the Assad regime. Would you also defend him, I highly doubt it, and you have no problem with Dahiyeh being a "Khomeinist" republic and were you surprised what Tripoli has become after what the Assadi army did there?!

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