Syrians opposed to Assad accuse him of encouraging and planting extremists in the ranks of the rebellion, including releasing hundreds of jihadis from prison early in the uprising, knowing full well that they were bound to take up arms against it. Ammar Abdulhamid, a Washington-based Syrian pro-democracy activist and director of the Tharwa Foundation, said that while the regime has probably lost control over these cells by now, their presence has helped it achieve its goal… Abdulhamid said that if groups like al-Nusra increase their profile in Syria, there will be a greater willingness among some Western leaders to listen to Assad’s argument again. “The mantra of ‘Either us or the extremists’ is slowly but surely regaining some of its popularity and relevance in decision-making circles in the West,” he said.
Some observers suggest that realpolitik is driving external actors’ strategies rather than any concern to end the conflict or advance a democratic transition.Whether by design or not, external players are indeed doing just enough to maintain a state of stalemate,” says liberal activist Ammar Abdulhamid right, the founder of the Tharwa Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to democracy promotion.“Syrians will not be allowed to solve their problems until these players solve theirs,” he contends.“Islamists, loyalists, secularists, Alawites, tribalists, even nonviolence activists, all now are but instruments of implementation of agendas that they do not control or even want,” he writes.
Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident, said: “Bulletproof vests and night vision goggles will help you become a more effective fighter, but they will not protect you from MiGs, tanks and Scuds, or enable you to destroy them.”
A group of opposition officials announced formation of an elected provincial council in Aleppo, a move endorsed by opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib, The Washington Post reported. However, dissident blogger Ammar Abdulhamid said the announcement came from Turkey, indicating how far rebels had to go to establish normal governance in Aleppo.
Further, Iran is building a sectarian Alawite- and Shia-majority militia, Ammar Abdulhamid, a pro-democracy Syrian activist based in Washington DC, and the head of the Tharwa Foundation, tells NOW. Abdulhamid believes this new militia will seek to maintain old alliances with minority communities, loyalist Sunni clans and groups, while attempting to forge new ones in the future among potential ‘rogue’ rebel units who would be more interested in carving out turf for themselves than in the fate of the country.
“At this stage,” adds Abdulhamid, “Assad is a mere placeholder. Despite the all-too-real cult of personality that surrounds Assad in the ranks of the Alawite community, this does not ensure his long-term survival. Iran eventually wants a group that will be beholden to [it] first, not to Assad,” says Abdulhamid.
In Washington, activists who have lobbied for US support said the latest promises fell well short of the action needed to topple Assad and ensure moderate rebel groups won the day. Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident, said: “Bulletproof vests and night vision goggles will help you become a more effective fighter, but they will not protect you from MiGs, tanks and Scuds, or enable you to destroy them.”
February 14, 2013 | Voice of America
Iran and Russia remain reliable donors to Assad’s war effort, according to Syrian dissident and expatriate blogger Ammar Abdulhamid. “Without continuing arms supplies from both countries, and funds from Iran and Iraq, the regime would have collapsed by now,” he says.
Khatib’s call for conditional dialogue with the Syrian government has been backed by unlikely the source – Ammar Abdulhamid a usually hawkish Syrian dissident and blogger.
Abdulhamid, fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is regarded as a NeoCon thinktank, said an armed struggle should continue alongside Khatib’s call for talks.
In his latest blogpost Abdulhamid noted the popularity of Khatib and his proposal among ordinary Syrians. Continue reading
Ammar Abulhamid writes:
Not too long ago, Assad issued a “Finitiative,” that is, an initiative to end all initiatives, calling, allegedly, for dialogue with the opposition. Now, opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib has repaid Assad in kind by issuing his own “Finitiative” calling, purportedly, for dialogue with the regime. Both finitiatives were clearly designed for purposes other than those declared and were meant primarily as acts of continued defiance, even if some failed to detect the defiance involved in Alkhatib’s finitiative
….Assad’s finitiative was meant to rally troops and consolidate support and control rather than enter into any real dialogue with the opposition, Alkhatib’s came as a revolutionary act meant to break a political stalemate in the ranks of the international community and to push for a real policy to help resolve the situation in Syria in a way commensurate with the expectation of the majority of average Syrians from all communal and political backgrounds. Assad’s finitiative was, then, a defensive act, a last stand of sorts. But Alkhatib’s finitiative marked the opposition’s first real offensive on the political front. Continue reading
Quoted in the Washington Times.
Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian human rights activist and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told a national security conference in Washington last week that the Obama administration suffered from an “absolute lack of vision,” and as a result, he predicted, Syria would be a problem for “many years to come.”