Many people in Syria and across the world continue to wonder why the Syrian uprising took such a violent turn, despite the bravery and selflessness of so many of the early protest leaders. Indeed, the development seems to have come as a result of a sophisticated strategy implemented by the Assad regime from the outset. Understanding this strategy, rather than lamenting the situation, as so many nonviolence advocates and theoreticians continue to do, might help prevent its replication elsewhere. Continue reading
I have to apologize for not drawing a rosy picture in it or any of my recent writings, I prefer to describe reality and deal with it as it is in order to see what can be done to change it. For me, romantic notions don’t give me the necessary will or tools to do that. They might work for other people, but they don’t work for me. After all, I am not motivated by faith, but by a mixture of dutifulness and personal obsession, for better or worse.
As we approach the second anniversary of the Syrian Revolution, it’s important to remember a simple truth, if for no other reason than out of respect for all who have died or continue to suffer: Continue reading
A new Syrian opposition group has earned diplomatic recognition from France and Britain.
National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces might offer more legitimate leaders than the Syrian National Council, but its rank and file are dominated by the same tired figures. Worse, the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on the group’s decisions is even more pronounced, as the Brotherhood has reportedly gained more power within the coalition, far in excess of its actual support on the ground. Continue reading
Syrian opposition fighters are committed to Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, but disagree on just about everything else.
As President Bashar al-Assad’s forces disintegrate, the Syrian civil war is devolving into a battle between Sunni rebel groups and Alawite-dominated militias fighting in support of the old regime. This may increase the rebels’ chances of victory, but it also means that the work to rebuild Syria after Assad falls will be even more challenging. Continue reading
One of the most feared men in Syria before his assassination, Assef Shawkat told me minority rights were a CIA invention.
“The country is not ready for revolutions and civil disobedience,” he told me.
“That’s your opinion,” I replied.
“We won’t imprison you and let your friends in America turn you into a hero.” Continue reading
Yes, the United States should intervene in Syria. With so much at stake, in both humanitarian and political terms, the U.S.simply does not have the luxury of inaction. If we allow the war to spiral out of control, the consequences will haunt us for decades to come.
The fighting in Syria will decide the fate not only of one country, but an entire region. In Lebanon, militiamen who support Bashar Assad‘s dictatorship show little respect for international borders as they pursue rebels, and their attacks have polarized the country, leading to clashes in Beirut and Tripoli. Continue reading
In calling for dialogue with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus, the United Nations Security Council is missing a key point: After killing more than 8,000 civilians, Assad and fellow corrupt authoritarian elites have made it abundantly clear that they will stay in power at any cost, and no international agreement can restore them to domestic legitimacy. Continue reading
Many Washingtonians claim that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has been thrown back against the ropes, boxed in by international sanctions, and growing hordes of protesters whom he cannot contain, no matter how brutally he cracks down on them.
In truth, Assad is hardly alone. Iran and Hezbollah have stood by his side from the first moment, providing intelligence, and by some accounts weapons and other assistance to the loyalist forces. More recently, China and Russia have drawn a line in the sand, refusing to acquiesce to the demise of Assad’s regime, exercising their respective vetoes at the United Nations Security Council. Continue reading
The United States has closed its embassy in Damascus amid the Syrian ruling junta’s increasingly violent crackdown. As China defends its veto this weekend of a U.N. resolution that might have amounted to nothing more than strong condemnation, the Assad regime, buoyed by continuing Russian and Iranian political and logistical support, including arms shipments, is escalating its murderous rampage. Its goal is to crush the rebellion by brute force; meanwhile, international confusion regarding what can or needs to be done precludes any international effort to protect the protesters. Continue reading
Editor’s note: Ammar Abdulhamid is a Syrian activist, author of the daily blog Syrian Revolution Digest and a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Ken Ballen, author of the book “Terrorists in Love” (Free Press, 2011), is president of Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonprofit institute that researches attitudes toward extremism, including in Syria.
(CNN) – The U.N Security Council is considering the most important resolution yet on the brutal rule of terror that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has unleashed on his people. The resolution, proposed by Morocco and supporting the Arab League’s plan, calls for al-Assad to leave power as the first step of a transition toward democracy. Continue reading