Category Archives: Papers & Essays

Initiative to End the Civil War in Syria

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This 9-points plan (click here for Arabic version) represents my own little contribution, offered through the auspices of the Tharwa Foundation, to ongoing efforts aimed at resolving the conflict in y home-country: Syria. As a peace plan, it may not represent the early expectations of the revolutionaries, not to mention my own, or any one side of this conflict for that matter. But parties to the Syrian conflict have to prepare themselves for settling for much less than they initially wanted and sought. The struggle for democracy is a complicated long-term process that requires continuous readjustments. It might begin with a protest movement or a popular revolution, but it does not end with it. Politics, no matter how derided and cynical it seems sometimes, remains a necessity.

The complicated issues related to the shape of future Syria and the nature and scope of the transitional justice process are differed to a later stage, due to the intricate calculations involved on all sides. The current plan merely aims to enable parties to the conflict, domestic, regional and international, to agree on a longer-term truce (perhaps as long as 5 years), while they negotiate a final settlement that might involve talks and compromises regarding developments in other countries and even other regions of the world, not only Syria. In other words, the idea is to exchange a violent long-term conflict for a long-term political process, no matter how complicated it is bound to be, in order to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.

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Slouching Forward! -- Few Notes on the Global Order

The competition that America and Western Europe are facing on a global level from Russia and China, and the local level from a host of countries including Iran, India, Korea, Brazil, etc., is not meant to change the nature of the game, that is, the game of power projection through military and economic might, including operating viable nuclear programs, exercising control over energy sources and routes, involvement in arms production and sales, and engaging in imperialist actions under different guises and while offering all different sorts of justifications.

After years of reluctance, President Barack Obama appears to have finally re-embraced America's critical role in shaping the Global Order. Will his actions match his rhetoric? Or, will he once again succumb to his ideological inhibitions?
After years of reluctance, President Barack Obama appears to have finally re-embraced America's critical role in shaping the Global Order. Will his actions match his rhetoric? Or, will he once again succumb to his ideological inhibitions?

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Making Sense of Obama's Foreign Policy

What might have sounded like a conspiracy theory not too long ago now dawns upon us like an ugly truth.

Drone attacks and clandestine operations authorized by President Obama have so far contributed, albeit to varying degrees, to the destabilization of Pakistan, Yemen and Libya. The same effect has also been achieved in Syria and Iraq but mostly through inaction.

Except for the West Bank and Gaza, the U.S. is responsible for drone attacks that took place in all these locations. Al-Qaeda and its affiliates remain active in all of them.
Except for the West Bank and Gaza, the U.S. is responsible for drone attacks that took place in all these locations. Despite some losses, Al-Qaeda and its affiliates remain active in all of them, and has reportedly grown belligerent and popular.

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Al-Qaeda Resurgent!

As the world watches on, Al-Qaeda is gradually building a state for herself in Syria and Iraq.

November 10, 2013 | Gaziantep, Turkey

Having made its operational debut in Syria during the Summer of 2013, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a known Al-Qaeda affiliate comprised mostly of foreign Jihadists, is now actively implementing a fast-track plan for taking over governance of all areas in that country liberated from the rule of the Assad regime, taking advantage of the fractious nature of the rebel movement and the lack of international support to moderate groups. While the plan seems to be running into some trouble in the Kurdish majority areas in the Northeast where hardened PKK fighters have left their positions in Turkey and rushed to support their co-nationals, the takeover process seems to be proceeding at a deliberate pace elsewhere in the country and is picking up speed from day-to-day. The internal differences pitting ISIS against Jabhat Al-Nusra (JAN), another Al-Qaeda affiliate operating in Syria supported mostly by local recruits, and the leader of Al-Qaeda itself, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, does not seem to be having much impact operationally at this stage, although this could change in the future. Continue reading Al-Qaeda Resurgent!

Why nonviolence failed in Syria

NOW Lebanon | A longer version is available here.

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 Why nonviolence failed in Syria