Syria’s civil war is now strongly characterised by militias identifying along sectarian lines. The growing divide between Sunnis and Alawites has profound implications for Syria, and the Middle East.Continue reading →
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 →
“The only Al Qaeda cells that operate in Syria are those manipulated by Assad’s security apparatuses,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a US-based Syrian opposition activist in an online newsletter emailed today. “The suicide bombings are directly staged or facilitated by them. Issues pertaining to the timing and the real beneficiaries, and everything we know about the Assads’ involvement in terror networks, all point in this direction.”
Mr. Abdulhamid’s post carried a YouTube link that quotes Walid Muallem, Syria’s foreign minister, telling a news conference in Damascus in December that suicide bombings would not be an “embarrassment” for the government but would bestow “credibility” upon its claim that it is under threat from Islamist militants.
I hate foreign intervention. It always comes at a high cost. I know that because we’re already paying it. We’ve been paying for centuries now, centuries. For we live in the Middle East, not on some deserted island, “foreign” intervention has always been one of the historical constants shaping our lives and destinies. Today, it is a fact of our daily life. Stopping foreign intervention has never been the real challenge confronting us. Our challenge has always been one of management. We simply have to find ways to influence the intervention process so that our interests can be served and our goals achieved: freedom, justice, dignity, development. Continue reading →
Comment 1: In Syria we’ve been living under a state of emergency since 1963, because the ruling regime said we need to curb civil liberties to protect ourselves against Israel, the U.S. and the ghosts of the Netherworld. So, now we are neither free, nor “secure,” because the regime continues to abuse its powers by robbing the people and killing and jailing its critics, and Israel has over the last few decades occupied Syrian territories, bombed targets inside Syria, and carried out a variety of assassinations and incursions, and no one managed to stop her.End result: we should never believe those who promise security at the expense of liberty, because we will end up losing everything. So might as well, and in the words of Hamlet, “take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them,” because in the absence of liberty, peace and security are meaningless.
Comment 1: Multilateralism does not preclude the need for leadership and decisiveness, especially when we have many dangerous facts on the ground moving at too fast a pace.
Comment 2: ElBaradei is already facing an uphill battle and he needs everybody to mount a serious campaign that has the least bit of a chance to shake the system. ElBaradei needs to cast a wider net and do some ego-stroking. His old-style as a UN technocrat might lend him credibility but it is not going to work in the political field. Continue reading →
Comment 1:Ours is a case of righteous indignation run amuck, of principled stands without any vision, a plan of action or goal, of nihilistic determination to get everything we ever really wanted at the cost of settling continuously for everything we never really needed… The bleeding continues.
Comment 1: Indeed Arab attitudes towards America are far more complex than traditional media and scholars let on. The fact that foreign policy is not a priority for the Arabs though, should not come as a surprise to anyone; foreign policy is hardly a priority for any people. People’s immediate preoccupation is always with their specific living conditions. But as people understand more and more the intimate linkages between domestic and foreign policy, perhaps their attitudes will change. There is this myth among many Arabs that just because they can name the leaders of so many countries around the world, this, somehow, makes them more knowledgeable about the world, than, say, the American people, who often fail to name even their own leaders. But there is more to knowledge, especially knowledge of foreign policy and world affairs, than naming names. The reality is we are no less ignorant about the world than it is about us. But we are paying the price for our continued ignorance in this regard, because we are the weaker link. Continue reading →
Comment 1: That’s how Middle Eastern dictators love their American presidents: weak, clueless and irrelevant. Furthermore, and the Cairo Speech which appeased the regional officialdom notwithstanding, Obama’s “street creds” in the region have always been low due to his abandonment of the Freedom Agenda. The rhetoric of the Bush Administration might have offended the sensibilities of our peoples at times, but they did love it when their rulers squirmed. Obama’s policies, on the other hand, have painted too many smiles of contentment and ridicule on the faces of our autocrats. The meek are not always blessed. Continue reading →
Comment 1: If you want to build something then what you affirm counts more than what you reject, and the more specific your project is, the more viable it could be.
Comment 2: Global power alignments in absence of credible global leaders and in the midst of rising and clashing populisms and a nuclear arms-race is no ground for optimism and does not augur well for the immediate future.