But the suspension, in addition to lost supplies, also sends a damning message about the FSA, said Ammar Abdulhamid, a veteran opposition activist — showing it as increasingly overshadowed by its Islamist rivals and unable to control the flow of new supplies across the border. “The Islamists are going to use this to tell the population: We are the only ones who matter now,” Abdulhamid said.
I am quoted in this article about the visit of Assad propagandist and genocide denier, Mother Agnes:
…. But her supposed anti-Assad stance has been called into question. “The regime maintains tight controls over all religious institutions in the country: Islamic, Christian, Druze etc,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident and democracy activist living in exile in Washington. “Not a single appointment happens without its approval, even in-church appointments … Considering Mother Agnes’ position, she must have had regular contacts with ranking security officers.”
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.”