These turkeys better get their act together

Since "Alex" couldn't control himself from blabbing this on syriacomment after I alerted him, I decided to post the curious logo for the germinating Syrian opposition group, the National Salvation Front, starring former VP Abdul Halim Khaddam and Muslim Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni.

click on the comments link below and learn why this logo will raise eyebrows. Hint - see the post's title.

word to the wise - learn from my mistakes: if speaking to a member of the NSF, don't ever refer to Khaddam or Bayanouni (especially Khaddam) as the "boss" of the other affiliated opposition activists. Rest assured you will not get a warm response!


George Ajjan said...

Like many other maps of the Syrian Arab Republic, including many found on Syrian government websites and other publications, and even weather maps on Syrian state-run TV, the NSF has chosen to include the Northwestern province of Iskandaroon aka Hatay aka Alexandretta (for those of you who enjoyed the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) as part of the country's territory.

This historically Syrian province was ceded to Turkey in 1939, though many Syrians still consider it properly Syrian. In recent years, President Bashar al-Assad took steps to resolve legal claims and finalize the "Turkishness" of the province, as part of his efforts to improve ties with Syria's northern neighbor, which were badly strained under the rule of his father, Hafez al-Assad.

Iskandaroon includes the city of Antioch, where the term "Christian" was used for the first time to describe the followers of Jesus. There are many other interesting tidbits about this historically and culturally rich province, and I invite other readers to share some information about it.

Getting back to 2006 politics, however, Khaddam/Bayanouni and their NSF colleagues made an interesting choice by presenting their logo with the pre-1939 borders of the Syrian Arab Republic. Such a move is a populist one, but also slap in the face of Turkey, and in my view an ill-thought decision, especially considering the strong and vocal criticism of Khaddam in particular toward the foreign policy of Bashar al-Assad.

It's a simple rule of politics: if you're going to attack an incumbent on a particular issue, you'd better make sure that your record is clear on that same issue.

But then again, maybe I'm the only one who pays attention to Syrian maps...

Alex said...

You know, George, the fact that Syria does not have western style politics is not only good for the current leaders, but it is also convenient to their opposition. No one will have to go through a televised debate against his opponents where he will be accountable to his statements or mistakes.

Yazan said...

In any history book, even the most credited, Steven Hamsly Longrig's "Syria and Lebanon under the French Mandate" it is noted that the ceding of Askandarone is one of the weirdest misconducts of modern time.

That being said, one of the few things that "Bashar" [reuters go to hell, I'm calling him by his first name, and if there was a "half" i'd use it], did right was the turkey relatioship. he was very prgmatic, even a bit more farsighted than his father, ofcours ONLY on this issue.

Khaddam and the NSF, I personally dont believe they he any credibility in ANY promise that they make. thats why it's not even important for me to comment on what they've chose as a logo. ;)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ajjan,
Why you are blaming the opposition or NSF of using the 1939map. If the current government in Syria has agreed on dropping the claim for this part, it is their duty to announce that and drop the part from the official map otherwise they are at least " cowards" not daring to act on what they have signed on. This kind of government policy is really not only bad but also deceiving. And this is also important for history, since the Baath and the leader since the 60s, promised to get back this part as part of their strategy. This way we are now full circle, they promised, Unity, Freedom and Socialism, they all dropped out this way. Mr. Ajjan, will you please comment on my post.

yabroudia said...

if the best that the NSF can do is to keep criticizing the Baathists and the Assads then no need to change. on Iskandaroon, if they keep it on the Syria map then that is a clear statement of what they believe so they need to explain to us Syrians HOW they will manage relations with Turkey.

George Ajjan said...


As I have mentioned on this blog before, if the opposition wants to be taken seriously, they have to be ready to undergo intense scrutiny. They haven't yet shown that they are ready for prime-time.

For example, choosing a logo that tells a neighbor and an increasingly important ally and trade partner that you have claims to part of their territory is unwise. Especially because the regime the NSF is opposing has taken significant steps to improve the Turkish-Syrian relationship, and has been successful in doing so.

Furthermore, from Khaddam's point of view, he cannot have it both ways. He loves to claim that his hands are clean of Hama 82 because he was responsible for foreign policy only. So then, is he willing to accept responsiblity for the fact that during that period of the 80s and 90s Syria's relations with Turkey were atrocious? Or does he have an excuse for that too?

My objective is not to "blame" the NSF or anyone else. Better that Khaddam and the NSF revise their script based upon criticism in the comments section of a blog, then to have an interviewer with al-Jazeera expose this potentially embarrasing Turkey issue during a live TV appearance.

yabroudia said...

everyone should see that the NSF will have bigger problems with Turkey than a map. they have become friends with Kurdish groups and this is a bigger threat to Turkey than anything else, especially after Iraq. i think this will make Turkey get even closer to Assad.

norman said...

Syria can not fight everybody at the same time and Syria,s priority is the Golan hights actualy no matter how strong Israel is it can not tolerate a long term war but turky is much bigger and more populated and muslem so Syria will not have a muslem freind in it,s dispute in addition to the fact that Turky is part Nato and that means that Syria has to fight the EU and the US ,i think Syria is right not to bite more than it can chew and untill Syria is stronger economicly and militerly it shoud not try to aquire more enemies,the nsf is trying to gain support even if that will destroy Syria.

Anonymous said...

forgotten territory

I am from Alexandretta lived last 50s,60s,70s remain not important.The tide of big Syrian cultur diminished and now invisible in my territory.Big Syria definition has many reflection.For much of us as feel where are calling Syria there presenting current Syria administration and obstruc semi-secterians around Al-mashriq.Aleppo,beirut,damascus,alexandretta,latakia,homs,hama.antioc.selucia,harran.Any of them self containing various and rich historical backgrounds.After aramic era has long hibernating time but still smelling in our home and effecting our lifestile.In ottoman time last 1800s Syrian cultur dont accepted secular forced administration and ıstanbul's imitated europian unconcernty.The broken wings(Muslim lady's first novel) and al-fatat lady association like as samples of resurrection.Every real syrians are looking for other spiritual to call but notings to presente this ancient entity like "syria"sound.No need more explaining as religious mosaic and religious sects reality.As you know that If you have true and sinecerly friends sure! they have no segregation.Big syria exsist inside of us like alaattin's candle.one day spirit will be free.