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Location: Birmingham, MI, United States

Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Monday, June 06, 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Monday, July 13, 2015

LACC Summer 2015 Executives Dinner Welcomes St. John Providence Health System CEO Jean Meyer

Thursday, February 05, 2015

LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK @mistermabsout

CONNECT WITH ME ON LinkedIn @johnakouri



Friday, October 24, 2014

John Akouri Headlines Panel Discussion on Syria Crisis at the University of Michigan

John Akouri, one of America's most trusted speakers on the Middle East, will appear at a panel discussion on Syria scheduled to take place at the University of Michigan-Flint campus on November 5th, 2014.  A native of Detroit, award-winning television personality, Capitol Hill advisor, and recognized civic leader, he masterfully explains the history behind new threats to global peace, and navigates the politics that help, and hinder, how we prepare and respond to them. He appears frequently on the FOX-2 News television network and NBC-affiliate WDIV-TV as a Middle East Analyst providing expert analysis and insightful commentary.  A much sought after political strategist, he can be frequently seen and heard worldwide on Al Hurra Television News as well as many other television shows and radio outlets, including national newspapers and the internet. An accomplished and respected statesman who has made his mark in local, national and international affairs, he gained national prominence at the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, where in his capacity as spokesman and chief speechwriter he worked with both the global & national press corps, also serving as a Middle East Senior Advisor assisting with legislative direction relating to international relations and global foreign policy issues. In addition to his working in a senior government position as congressional press secretary, he has also served on many departmental projects with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. State Department and the U.S. Army. Additionally, he serves as an advisor to the Coalition for a Democratic Syria, United For a Free Syria, and the Syrian American Council. 

Prior to leaving his post within federal government to run for the Michigan House of Representatives, he served as creator and executive producer of “Window to Washington”, a nationally award-winning television program. He has appeared as a panelist and speaker for the Washington DC-based Arab American Institute, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Madonna University International Council, Eastern Michigan University Annual Conference of the Ambassadorial and Consular Corps, Wayne State University Presidential Advisory Group, and the Syrian American Council Midwest Conference.  In addition to his many speaking engagements to university student groups on college campuses, in 2013 he was asked to appear as Master of Ceremonies for award-winning composer Malek Jandali’s ‘The Voice of the Free Syrian Children’ International Freedom Tour. Recently, he was instrumental in arranging high-level meetings for Syrian National Council President George Sabra, with national media personalities, key government leaders and UN officials in New York and Washington, DC.  His active involvement in public affairs span the course of the past two decades, where he has been a leader in government, media and business at the local, state and national levels. Previously, he worked as a media consultant to former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Governor John Engler and a communications aide to then–Governor George W. Bush. A highlight of his career was serving as an official photographer on the Bob Dole Presidential Campaign, covering the Papal visit of Pope John Paul II and receiving the Key to the City of Birmingham.

Monday, November 05, 2012


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 Never Forget

Monday, September 10, 2012

John Akouri Conveys His Best Wishes to Pope Benedict XVI, as the Holy Father Departs Vatican City This Week and Embarks on a Pontifical Journey to the Republic of Lebanon for an Official Papal Visit to the Land of the Majestic Cedars

Three Decades Later, Looking Back at a TIME Magazine Article: The Christians Under Siege - October 23, 1978

Monday, Oct. 23, 1978
A ceasefire, but both sides are prepared for further war
A shaky ceasefire, as cease-fires always seem to be, took hold in Lebanon last week, but East Beirut was a smouldering ruin. In that battered section of the city, once home to 600,000 Maronite Christians, rescue workers picked through the rubble in search of the dead and dying. Glassy-eyed survivors crept cautiously out of basement shelters, scurrying back to safety when Syrian snipers cut loose with automatic weapons. A number of would-be refugees, seeking to join the exodus that has emptied East Beirut of more than two-thirds of its residents, were mowed down by Syrian machine guns as they tried to cross the bridges leading to Christian strongholds outside the city. Five other people were wounded as they attempted to cross the "green line" separating Muslim and Christian sections of Beirut. In effect, East Beirut was under siege: the 30,000-man Syrian peace-keeping force kept 3,500 Christian militiamen and 150,000 civilians bottled up within easy range of the heavy artillery that had pounded the city in the worst week of fighting since the end of the civil war in 1976.
Even as intermittent bursts of cannon fire marred the uneasy calm, both the Christians and their enemies prepared for a new outbreak of fighting. From Damascus, convoys of Syrian trucks transported 8,600 heavily armed Palestine Liberation Army commandos to fortified positions in Beirut. The P.L. A. commandos will be the backbone of a new Syrian-controlled antimilitia alliance comprising leftist Lebanese Muslims, Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization and an army commanded by pro-Syrian Christian for mer President Suleiman Franjieh. The Arab League mandate under which the Syrian peace-keeping force has occupied Lebanon since 1976 will be reviewed on Oct. 28. If the league orders Damascus to withdraw its troops, the new force could still press the offensive against the Christian militias with Syrian arms and ammunition.
Israel, too, was building up its Christian allies: the "Tigers" commanded by former President Camille Chamoun and the Phalangist fighters under Pierre Gemayel. By night, Israeli ships brought in arms, medical supplies and food to Jounieh, twelve miles north of Beirut. About 150 Israeli advisers — distinguishable from their Christian clients because they do not wear the pearl-handled revolvers and outsize crosses favored by the swaggering militiamen — were providing counsel and logistical support. Christian officers of the Lebanese armed forces turned over to the militiamen an arsenal of U.S. weapons that had been destined for the country's moribund, ineffective army. Contemplating the grim fact that more than two dozen armed factions are now operating in Lebanon, Militia Leader Chamoun asked pointedly: "What is Lebanon — a sovereign state or a whorehouse?"
"Neither the Christians nor their foes are backing away from the prospect of more slaughter. 'As long as the Syrians are in Lebanon, there is no peace,' warned (Former President Camille) Chamoun last week. Equally adamant was Syrian President Hafez Assad, who insisted that his troops had opened fire on the Christians..."
The massive weapons stockpiling lent a new urgency, and a growing sense of futility, to President Elias Sarkis' search for an end to the bloodshed. Since 1973, when clashes between Palestinian guerrillas and the Christian-dominated Lebanese army presaged a bloody civil war, at least 37,000 — and perhaps as many as 100,000 — people have been killed. Moreover, a new attack on its Christian friends could provoke Israel into massive retaliatory raids, threatening the peace talks with Egypt that began last week.
Neither the Christians nor their foes are backing away from the prospect of more slaughter. "As long as the Syrians are in Lebanon, there is no peace," warned Chamoun last week. Equally adamant was Syrian President Hafez Assad, who insisted that his troops had opened fire on the Christians in order to "establish the authority of the Sarkis government." But when the Lebanese President proposed that a buffer force of Lebanese soldiers be deployed between the Christians and Syrians, Assad had a brusque reply: "There is no Lebanese army, and what there is represents the Christians." After Sarkis completed a hasty tour of six Arab capitals, Assad laconically submitted to an essentially meaningless compromise, under which part of the Syrian forces besieging East Beirut would be withdrawn. Lebanese troops would be allowed to help patrol the bridges linking Beirut to the Christian areas in the north — their first active role in the recent fighting.
Sarkis still hopes to persuade the Arab League to order a reduction in the number of Syrian troops in his country. But he received scant encouragement during his visits to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab nations. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Fahd, for example, promised P.L.O. Leader Arafat that the Saudis — who also bankroll the Christian militias — would "absolutely" continue their support of the opponent Palestinians.
While the search for a settlement foundered, Lebanon's beleaguered Christians held tight to the remnants of a shattered past. Indeed, Christianity has long been fractured within this complex country: in addition to the dominant Maronites — a branch of the Roman Catholic Church that preserves its own unique liturgy — there are Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Armenians and Chaldeans, among others. Since Lebanon became independent from France in 1943, the Maronites, who then made up 30% of the population, have been the major force in politics and the economy. Under the "national covenant," an unwritten agreement with the force of constitutional law, the Lebanese presidency is reserved for a Maronite, while the less powerful posts of Prime Minister and president of the Chamber of Deputies are set aside for, respectively, a Sunni and a Shi'ite Muslim. The precarious balance between religious groups fell apart in 1970, when 15,000 well-armed Palestinian guerrillas were driven out of Jordan by King Hussein's "Black September" offensive. Joining 75,000 Palestinians already in the country, they turned southern Lebanon into a staging area for raids on Israel.
The Maronites feared that the well-armed Palestinians would not only create a P.L.O.-run state within a state inside Lebanon but also turn the country into another confrontation power. In 1975, as clashes between Christians and Palestinians escalated into full-scale civil war, the Maronite militia turned to Israel for arms and training. A certain elitism — and a mutual hatred of Syrians — has nurtured the longstanding bond between the Israelis and the Europe-oriented Maronites, who regard themselves as a bastion of Western civilization in the Arab world. As a Christian militia officer explained last week, "We feel, like the Israelis, that we are on the spot be cause we are better. We let the Syrians into our country because Syria was too poor to feed them." Nevertheless, the Christians cheered when Syrian troops moved into Lebanon in 1976, thereby preventing radical Muslims and Palestinians from wiping out the hard-pressed Christian armies.
Affection very quickly turned to estrangement after the Syrian peace keepers ordered the Maronites to lay down their arms, while making no similar demands on the Palestinians. Chamoun and Gemayel began laying the groundwork for partitioning Lebanon and creating a pro-Israeli Maronite state along Syria's border. When Gemayel's Phalangists murdered the son of Assad's friend Franjieh and more than 35 other pro-Syrian Christians in June, Syria became convinced that the plot was already in motion. Assad was further alarmed when the Camp David talks foreshadowed a separate Israeli-Egyptian peace, thereby tipping the military balance between Israel and "rejectionist" Arab states even further in Israel's favor.
At that point, Assad began a methodical campaign of attrition against the Christians. So far, the campaign has had mixed results. About 300,000 Maronites have become refugees; their schools, businesses and other institutions have been destroyed. The vast majority of wealthy Christians have fled the country, leaving behind only the fighters and those too poor to buy a ticket to safety.
But the remaining Maronites are far from giving up. "Morale in the Christian areas is extremely high," reports TIME Correspondent Dean Brelis from Beirut. "In shell-shocked East Beirut, some bakers have fired up their ovens, repair crews are at work fixing broken water lines and restoring electricity. People who intend to stay on are stocking their shelters with Israeli canned goods. The Christians' ability to bounce back from adversity is remarkable. Throughout the civil war, their sections of Beirut were free from garbage and crime, in marked contrast to the areas under Palestinian control. Once more the Maronites are demonstrating their competence and courage. When a group of Christians trying to escape from East Beirut came under Syrian machine-gun fire, their leader shouted, 'Let's keep going! It's better to be shot standing up than getting it in the back on the ground!' That kind of pluck would, of course, be put to better use in a peaceful Lebanon. But as a Christian militiaman grimly forecast last week, 'We are prepared to fight for the next 40 years.' "

Friday, October 21, 2011


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Akouri Assembles Business Leaders for mini-Town Hall with Congressman Pete Hoekstra

(BIRMINGHAM, MI/USA)...John Akouri today brought together a group of leading business executives to meet with former United States Representative, Pete Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, comprising a mini-Town Hall with the 2010 gubernatorial candidate. Economic leaders from the financial and banking sectors, automotive and technology industries, immigration and labor markets, real estate and small business fields, as well as from the education and security community gathered to exchange innovative ideas, discuss challenges and build long-term national relationships with Hoekstra as he visited southeast Michigan. In addition to Hoekstra, and Northville Township Trustee Christopher Roosen, those in attendance included representatives from UBS Financial, General Motors, Chrysler, Pentacle Technologies, Merchant Tree, Andary Real Estate, University of Michigan Health System, Rehmann, Automation Alley and Nonprofits. Frank discussion ensued on fixing and/or crafting new ways to improve the US economy, a candid outlook of a post Middle East following the Arab Spring, the current state of the health care system in America, homeland security after 9/11, education, China, tax reform, and a myriad of other hot topic issues facing US businesses today. During the conversation, Hoekstra shared with the corporate chiefs his vision on how to address the country's fiscal health and ways to create a more vibrant economy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn in America 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

John Akouri's Top Five Funniest Moments in Television History

No. #5: TAXI: Reverend Jim's driving test (1979)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

John Akouri Pays Tribute to Bachir Gemayel

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Never Forget.

Monday, September 05, 2011

IN PHOTOS: Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Sixth Annual Fall Family Picnic

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Akouri Announces 2011 Autumn Event - The Hottest Business & Social Event of the Year, Scheduled for Tuesday, October 25th, 6-9pm at Zazio's Birmingham

Friday, July 22, 2011

Akouri Newsroom Release: US Rep. Mike Rogers to Address National Leadership Luncheon with Special Introduction by Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Akouri Announces 2011 Summer Event - The Hottest Business & Social Event of the Year, Scheduled for Wednesday, June 29, 6-9pm at GM Renaissance Centre

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Bashar Assad's External Agents in the USA: Maestro & Composer Malek Jandali Under Attack

WASHINGTON, DC - Aptly designated as a premiere member of the Axis of Evil, apparently it wasn't enough that for 29 long years, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (and his father Hafez before him) terrorized, murdered, raped, maimed, detained and tortured thousands of Lebanese Christians, Muslims & Druze, Palestinians, UNIFIL soldiers, Multinational Peacekeeping Forces (comprised of troops from USA, France, Italy & UK), and basically anyone who got in the way of the Assad's dominance over Syria's tiny neighbor. Since March, Bashar the Butcher has turned his weapons on his own citizenry, brutally slaughtering his own people, torturing young children, detaining women - basically an all-out air and land ruthless assault on innocent, unarmed, peaceful demonstrators, simply asking for freedom and reforms.
However, in a new strategy, Assad is not only attempting to quell calls for freedom within his own borders by barring foreign observers and global press, he has instructed his minions to do so around the world as well. The Washington Post,, The Atlantic, Al-Arabiya and other mainstream wires are reporting today that a grassroots Arab American advocacy group based in Washington, DC has blocked International Composer and Maestro Malek Jandali from performing a concerto, specifically containing a new composition reflecting a humanitarian musical piece about patriotism and freedom. Apparently, the chairman of the organization's board is a friend and supporter of the regime in Damascus.
his led to the award-winning musician to alert his fans of this news by posting the following statment on his facebook page:
"It is with deep sadness that I announce that I will no longer be performing at the annual ADC Convention this weekend in Washington, DC. This is the result of their unfortunate decision to prohibit me from performing "Watani Ana: I am my Homeland". I look forward to sharing my music live with my wonderful fans soon. Thanks to all of you who have supported me in this and all my musical ventures."
It's no secret that terrorist leaders Yasser Arafat & Saddam Hussein funneled millions of dollars to organizations, institutions an individuals in the United States to support their reign. What's new, is that now a totalitarian dictator is using his own 'diplomats' to instill fear in Americans of Syrian-descent. Interesting to note, that just a few short months ago, these very same Baathist regime appointed Syrian Embassy 'diplomats' were promoting Maestro Jandali's performance throughout the USA.
John Akouri is the former Washington, DC Director of Communications and Capitol Hill Press Secretary to U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg(R-MI) and has been featured as a guest speaker and panelist at many national Arab American organizations throughout the country.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sixth Annual Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Springtime Family Sunday Brunch

Monday, May 02, 2011

More Celebrate Bin Laden's Death in Dearborn Monday

Small groups of residents gathered in front of City Hall Sunday night and Monday afternoon to display their happiness over the killing of the world's most notorious terrorist.
By Jessica Carreras Dearborn Patch May 2, 2011
“It’s the happiest day," said Dearborn resident Dave Alwatan at a Monday afternoon gathering in front of Dearborn's City Hall.
His statement summed up what many Americans felt when they heard the news late Sunday evening. After 10 years of hunting for the world's most well-known terrorist, Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan by U.S. Navy Seals. President Barack Obama made the announcement live from the White House at 11:30 p.m. Sunday night–a message met with celebration across the country. His body was in U.S. possession and bin Laden was buried at sea Monday morning per Islamic tradition. But to Dearborn's Muslim community, bin Laden is no Muslim at all, said Alwatan, who also attended a celebration at City Hall Sunday night. “I don’t think any real Muslim will accept him,” he said. “He’s not a Muslim.”
Members of Dearborn's Arab-American community led cheers on Michigan Avenue on Monday afternoon, shouting "U.S.A.!" and "Osama is in hell!" They held American flags and cheered as drivers honked their horns while passing by. Eight-year-old Mohammad Alyassiri was out celebrating with his dad. “Osama is dead!” he shouted, holding up an American flag.
John Akouri, a former Middle East senior adviser to former U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Mich., said that he saw the news as cause for celebration by all Americans–regardless of their heritage or faith. "Osama bin Laden didn’t just kill Americans," he said. "He killed Europeans. He killed Arabs. He killed Christians. He killed Muslims. He was someone who was devoid of any humanity." On days like this, Akouri added, "we're Americans first, no matter where you came from."
He said he hoped that this would take the U.S. closer to the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that the U.S. would soon see a period of peace. "We don’t want to send our young men and women off to wars any more," he said. "We want to have a nice, peaceful world. Am I asking too much? I don’t know, but I don’t think anyone would disagree with that."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MEDIA ADVISORY: Congressional Members to Address Media on Situation in Syria at Press Conference Today

- Members of the United States Congress will speak to the media concerning the situation in Syria at a press conference scheduled to take place today. U.S. Representative Thad McCotter (R-MI) and U.S. Representative Hansen Clarke (D-MI) will join national Syrian and Lebanese American leaders, along with members of the Dearborn Arab American community, in delivering statements and taking questions. The press conference will be held near the atrium inside the main lobby of The Westin Hotel of Southfield, Michigan today at 3:00pm EDT. All media are invited to attend and directly ask questions of the speakers. For those Media organizations interested in coverage, doors open for setup at 2:30pm EDT.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Saturday, April 23, 2011

EASTER 2011 IN LEBANON: Jesus is Risen Song Performed at Beirut City Mall

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Australian: West Needs Reality Check On Syria, by Tom Gross

OF all the uprisings sweeping the Arab world this year, most surprising is the one in Syria. Surprising because, with Saddam Hussein gone, Syria is the Arab world's most ruthless and brutal dictatorship. You have to be very brave to stand up to the regime. It is also one of the world's most racist, denying millions of Syrian Kurds full citizenship. Only if a serious uprising were to break out among the Sunni Muslims in oil-rich Saudi Arabia would it be a greater surprise. Following the mass protests in more than a dozen other Arab countries in the past three months, the fear factor in Syria has finally been broken, with thousands of protesters taking to the streets in recent weeks calling for democratic elections and an end to the emergency laws, which have been in place for 48 years.
Al-Jazera and other media report that in the past month hundreds of demonstrators have been shot dead in cold blood, including protesters taking refuge in mosques. And an Arabic-language page on Facebook headed "Syrian Revolution Against Bashar al-Assad" has attracted more than 120,000 supporters. With the situation in Syria deteriorating by the day, and with the West showing a new resolve against another Arab dictator they had cosied up to in recent years - Libya's Muammar Gaddafi - you might have expected a tough dose of realism from Western leaders. So it was amazing - and depressing - to hear US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week again describe President Bashar al-Assad as a "reformer". A "murderer" would be a more appropriate description.
Clinton might want to take a look at the findings of the State Department's most recent (2009) report on Syria. It says the Syrian government and security forces "committed numerous serious human rights abuses, and the human rights situation worsened". It speaks of "arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life" and "enforced disappearances" and the vanishing of "an estimated 17,000 persons". The report describes the methods of torture inflicted on those unfortunate enough to find themselves in Syria's prisons. Among them are "electrical shocks, pulling out fingernails, burning genitalia, forcing objects into the rectum, beating, sometimes while the victim was suspended from the ceiling, other times on the soles of the feet".
"So it was amazing - and depressing - to hear US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week again describe President Bashar al-Assad as a "reformer". A "murderer" would be a more appropriate description."

In defending Assad, Clinton has put herself in the same camp as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who last week called Assad his "brother" and a humanist. Chavez has also come to the defence of Gaddafi. The media have hardly been any better. On CNN last week, I heard Assad being described as "attractive". And in a radio panel discussion on the BBC World Service, all three participants suggested Assad wasn't that bad. February's Vogue profile about Assad's wife was titled "Asma al-Assad: a Rose in the Desert". Previously, the Huffington Post ran a spread on "Our favourite Asma looks".
Of course, praising the Syrian dictator and his family is nothing new. Three years ago, at a lunch I attended in London, William Hague, who is now Britain's Foreign Secretary, went out of his way to praise Assad. A year earlier, Hague criticised Israel for using "disproportionate force" as rockets were raining down on Israel from Lebanon. But in the past month I haven't heard Hague say much about "disproportionate force" in Syria.
Indeed, this might be a good time for the British government to acknowledge Israeli restraint. In recent weeks, Israel has been the victim of a series of terror attacks, including bombings, stabbings and dozens of rockets fired at towns and villages around southern Israel. In the face of this onslaught, the Israeli government has shown considerable restraint, keen to avoid damaging peace prospects. Perhaps it is time for the British and other governments to show Israel a measure of sympathy, rather than stick up for the Syrian regime.
Were the Assad regime to be replaced by a more responsible one, this would be a big gain for the West, for many ordinary Syrians and for the Arab world. Syria is the Iranian regime's most important Arab ally. It has been a key force in destabilising neighbouring Lebanon, as well as promoting the Hamas regime in power in Gaza. And, unlike Libya of recent years, Syria has been actively working against Western interests. So why the reluctance to unambiguously denounce Assad by Western leaders? It's time we had an answer.
Tom Gross is the former Middle East correspondent for London's The Sunday Telegraph

Monday, March 28, 2011

Akouri Announces 2011 Spring Event - The Business & Social Event of the Year, Scheduled on Wednesday, March 30th, 6-9pm at Zazio's Downtown Birmingham

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Washington Times: Ridding Syria of a Despot, by Eliiott Abrams

WASHINGTON, DC - While the monarchies of the Middle East have a fighting chance to reform and survive, the region’s fake republics have been falling like dominoes — and Syria is next.
The ingredients that brought down Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia were replicated in Egypt and Libya: repression, vast corruption and family rule. All are starkly present in Syria, where the succession Egyptians and Tunisians feared, father to son, took place years ago and the police state has claimed thousands of victims. Every Arab “republic” has been a republic of fear, but only Saddam Hussein’s Iraq surpassed the Assads’ Syria in number of victims. The regime may cling to power for a while by shooting protesting citizens, but its ultimate demise is certain.
The Arab monarchies, especially Jordan and Morocco, are more legitimate than the false republics, with their stolen elections, regime-dominated courts and rubber-stamp parliaments. Unlike the “republics,” the monarchies do not have histories of bloody repression and jails filled with political prisoners. The question is whether the kings, emirs and sheiks will end their corruption and shift toward genuine constitutional monarchies in which power is shared between throne and people.
For the “republics,” however, reform is impossible. Force is the only way to stay in power. When Bashar al-Assad inherited power in 2000, there was widespread hope of a Damascus Spring — an end to the bloody repression that characterized the rule of his father, Hafez (which reached its apex in 1982, when he had an estimated 25,000 protesters in Hama killed). Bashar, the thinking went, had lived in London and wanted to modernize Syria. But when he had himself “elected” president with 97.2 percent of the vote, the writing was on the wall. Some still suggested that Bashar’s hoped-for reforms were held back by hard-line forces around him, but over time, his consolidation of personal power , the growing number of Syrian political prisoners and murders in Lebanon made this excuse obscene. The U.N. special tribunal may find the Assad regime, Hezbollah or both guilty of the 2005 murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. The car-bomb killings of Lebanese journalists and politicians who criticized the Syrian regime have one address: Assad’s palace.
"The U.N. special tribunal may find the Assad regime, Hezbollah or both guilty of the 2005 murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. The car-bomb killings of Lebanese journalists and politicians who criticized the Syrian regime have one address: Assad’s palace."

The demise of this murderous clan is in America’s interest. The Assad regime made Syria the pathway for jihadists from around the world to enter Iraq to fight and kill Americans. Long a haven for terrorists, Syria still allows the Hamas leadership, among other Palestinian terrorist groups, to live and work in Damascus. Moreover, a government dominated by Syria’s Sunni majority — the Assad clan is from the tiny Alawite minority — would never have the close relations with Hezbollah and Iran that Assad maintains; it would seek to reintegrate into the Arab world. Iran will lose its close Arab ally, and its land bridge to Hezbollah, when Assad falls.
Since the wave of Mideast revolts has spread to Syria, Assad is responding the only way he knows: by killing. What should be our response?
First, the strongest and most frequent denunciations, preferably not only from the White House but also from people such as Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly visited Assad and spoken of improving relations with his regime. All those who were taken in by Assad should be loudest in denouncing his bloody repression.
Second, we should prosecute Syria in every available multilateral forum, including the U.N. Security Council and the Human Rights Council. Others should refer Assad to the International Criminal Court. With blood flowing, there should be no delays; this is the moment to call for special sessions and action to prevent more killing. Even if these bodies do not act, the attention should give heart to Syrian demonstrators.
Third, we should ask the new governments in Egypt and Tunisia to immediately call Arab League sessions to debate the violence in Syria. Libya was expelled; let’s demand that Syria be, too.
Fourth, press the Europeans to speak and act against Syria’s regime. U.S. sanctions against Syria are strong and probably cannot be increased effectively now, but the European Union has far more trade and investment. The French have spoken out and may be willing to take the lead again.
None of these steps will bring down Assad’s regime; only the courage of young Syrians can do that. But we must not repeat the wavering and delays that characterized the U.S. response in Egypt. We must be clear that we view Syria’s despicable regime as unsalvageable, which suggests a fifth step: recalling the American ambassador from Syria. The Obama administration erred badly by sending an envoy — in a recess appointment — for this move was understood in the region as a reduction of U.S. pressure on Syria despite its increasingly dominant role in Lebanon. We should pull our ambassador, as we did in Libya, and unveil a hard-hitting political and human rights campaign against a bloody regime whose people want it gone. Our principles alone should lead us to this position, but the memory of thousands of American soldiers killed in Iraq with the help of the Assad regime demands that we do all we can to help the Syrian people free themselves of that evil dictatorship.
Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and was a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! A Parallel in Irish & Lebanese History

(DUBLIN) - Around 1000 BC, the Phoenicians the ancestors of today’s Lebanese, were trading and bringing valuable goods to the Pharos and the Greeks roaming between Phoenician colonies around the Mediterranean. Tin mixed with copper was sought after for making Bronze. Tin was found mainly in the region of Marseilles. It may have become increasingly difficult for the Phoenicians to comply with demands on this commodity that they sourced it out beyond Gibraltar or the Columns of Hercules and in particular from Cornwall, Ushnagh County Westmeath in Ireland and probably as far as Scotland. It is surprising to find that the Celtic God Bél was celebrated in Bonfires and offerings similar to the ones offered by the Phoenicians to the God Baal on the same period, in the same way. Today the estimated number of Lebanese living in Ireland is around 400 while the number of Irish living in Lebanon has decreased due to political unrest but is estimated to be around 45. Yet the greater number of Irish Lebanese remains beyond the boundries of the two Countries. Thousands of Irish Lebanese live in Australia, the US and Canada. In recent years Senator George Mitchell of Irish Lebanese decent had a pivotal role in securing the Good Friday agreement the road map to permanent Peace in Ireland. In November 2001 the Irish Lebanese Cultural Foundation is born and bears a huge responsibility to continue the work of many giants the members of the Irish Defence Forces, true Ambassadors of Peace, W.B Yeats, Gibran Khalil Gibran, George Mitchell, and Suheil Bushrui. (To continue reading, please click here :

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">