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
Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid’s Freedom Collection interview provides a compelling look inside his troubled homeland. We were very fortunate to interview him for a second time and learn about more recent developments in his country. We are now pleased to post a recently recorded second set of interviews with Ammar, to hear his perspectives on Syria’s bloody civil war, steps that must be taken to end the violence, and building a sustainable democracy. Continue reading
“There are many in the opposition who believe that Israeli concerns over change in Syria are, in part at least, behind the lack of a more proactive response by the international community to the situation in Syria,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian pro-democracy activist. Abdulhamid is a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan Washington think tank that serves as an academic home for many neo-conservative thinkers. The group has emerged as one of the key players in forging ties with the budding Syrian opposition and urging a more active U.S. role in bringing about the demise of the Assad regime… “The agreed line by the opposition is that the status quo in the Golan Heights will be maintained until conditions permit for organizing peace talks,” said Abdulhamid, referring to Israel’s occupation of that area since the 1967 Six Day War. This approach could satisfy Jewish and pro-Israel groups whose focus on Syria’s future government in any event prioritizes other concerns.
Contribution to “Has the Arab Spring Lived Up to Expectations?” published by the Woodrow Wilson Center.
For those who expected a fast and smooth transition to liberal democratic norms, the Arab Spring has certainly failed to deliver. But for those who simply wanted to push their countries into taking one important and necessary step in the right direction by breaking the prevailing political stalemate in their societies, then, the Arab Spring has definitely lived up to expectations. Continue reading
Quoted in the Democracy Digest:
The recent Internet blackout and the severing of landline and cell phones services are an indication of the regime’s vulnerability, rather than signs of an imminent crackdown, says Syrian opposition activist Ammar Abdulhamid.
“The possibility of accidental damage can be discounted,” he said. “This is something done intentionally by the regime, and reflects growing desperation on account of the recent advances made by rebels, especially in Damascus.”
Quoted in The Washington Post:
The rising popularity of smartphones and the Syrian government’s sharp limits on the movements of independent journalists have made social media an especially vital source of information about the conflict. The abrupt loss of the technology has caused widespread fear, said Ammar Abdulhamid, a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“Not everyone will have access” to news about the conflict, said Abdulhamid, who has close ties to Syria’s opposition. “There will be panic. There will be fear.”
Quoted in The Daily Dot:
Over the last few days, Assad’s regime has suffered major losses in its clashes with rebels, who have managed to encircle the capital, Damascus, even attacking the International Airport there and forcing a shutdown of its services, said Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled Syrian pro-democracy activist and fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in an email to the Daily Dot. Continue reading
Quoted in The Weekly Standard:
Two technology firms that monitor global Internet traffic report that Syria has been cut off from the Internet. Regular landline phone and cell phones services have been affected as well, Syrian opposition activist Ammar Abdulhamid told me. “Therefore, the possibility of accidental damage can be discounted,” said Abdulhamid. “This is something done intentionally by the regime, and reflects growing desperation on account of the recent advances made by rebels, especially in Damascus.” Continue reading
On November 19, 2012, Sharnoff’s Global Views™ interviewed Ammar Abdulhamid. Ammar is a Syrian dissident and founder of the Tharwa Foundation. He is currently a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
SGV: On your Website, the Syrian Revolutionary Digest, you are described as “a liberal Syrian pro-democracy activist.” How do you define liberal with respect to freedom, democracy, human rights, minority rights and women’s rights?
AA: I believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international conventions on human rights, such as the Convention Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Inspired by my liberal values I started my “career” as an activist by launching the Tharwa Project in Syria as an initiative meant to facilitate the processes of democratization in the country and the wider region by addressing the issue of minority rights and improving inter-communal relations in the country.
My liberalism also includes a belief in the free market system, albeit my faith is balanced by an equal commitment to union rights and universal healthcare among other checks on the system. Continue reading