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
Prepared for a briefing that took place in Washington on January 15, 2013.
MAP OF CONFLICT
The regime is continuing its policy of holding on to big cities and main roads while surrendering the surrounding countryside to rebels. However, it seems inevitable now that the regime might be forced to relinquish its control over the north and northeast soon, a process that could begin within the next 2 to 3 months. This move will include Aleppo City, and the provinces of Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Hassakeh. Continue reading
Written on: September 1, 2012
Updated and finalized on: September 11, 2012
The Shredded Tapestry: The State of Syria Today
A Trip Report (Turkey, August 10-30)
The trip was arranged for the purpose of helping an independent American film company do a documentary on the Syrian Revolution. Khawla Yusuf and I were invited as advisers and interview subjects. But while the film crew made their rounds, Khawla and I had ample time and opportunity to meet with important activists and conduct our own interviews. Continue reading
Few observations tweeted on June 2, 2009 regarding a favorite topic of mine: the slow and necessary emergence of a global middle class.
- An empowered and well-informed Global Middle Class can help open up the decision-making processes within the power elites.
- An empowered well-informed Global Middle Class can help check conflicts of interests between power elites through the democratic processes.
- The continuing prevalence of violent conflicts today results in part from the unawareness of the Global Middle Class of its own existence. Continue reading
On September 24, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus hosted an event entitled “Syrian Human Rights Policies in Syria and Toward Lebanese”. The event, moderated by Congressional Human Rights Caucus Executive Director Hans Hogrefe, featured testimony from Ali Abou Dehn, a Lebanese political detainee, Kamal El Batal, the Director of Human Rights for the World Council of the Cedars Revolution and Ammar Abdulhamid, Executive Director of the Tharwa Foundation. Continue reading
On April 24, 2008, I became the first Syrian citizen to deliver a testimony in the U.S. Congress. My co-panelists included my colleagues from the Brookings Institution: Martin Indyk and Peter Rodman. In the testimony I try to set the record straight on the deteriorating internal situation in Syria focusing on Assad’s weakening grip and signs of growing popular discontent. The text of the testimony can be found below, and also on the House Foreign Affairs Committee website. Continue reading
Witness Magazine, Volume XX, 2006 – Special Issue: Exile in America
Guilt is a would-be messiah’s constant companion, so, naturally, as a man mired in messianic expectations, - and how could a liberal heretic working within the context of a traditional Arab-Muslim society not be so afflicted? – I am riddled with guilt.
Now guilt is quite the interesting emotion. One can feel it both for acting and for refraining from action. But things can get a little more complex when one examines the motives involved. Continue reading
* Just as is case with military engagement, political engagement has its rules. The following is one such rule: when dealing with corrupt authoritarian regimes, especially when they seem to have some ideological motivation, no matter how minimal, you do not give more than you take, lest you end up creating a problem in the future that is bigger than the one you were trying to resolve. Continue reading