One year after the invasion of Iraq and with the US as its unwelcome neighbor, the Syrian regime (or, at least, most of its power centers and semi-autonomous institutions) seems to have finally grasped the reality of the need for drastic change, perhaps even for an overhaul of the old way of doing things. But can Syria in its current hopelessly divided state and given its poorly qualified cadres produce a sorely needed new vision and mechanisms for change? Continue reading →
The recent tragic developments in Syria’s northernmost city of Qamishli, and the ensuing spillovers into other townships and cities, deserve more than simple condemnations of alleged wrongdoers, agents provocateurs, and/or the authorities, local or national. If these events are to be truly contained so that they are not repeated in the future and so as to avoid the slightest hint of the possibility of foreign intervention and any recourse to spiteful and vindictive rhetoric and measures, certain basic issues related to the living conditions and status of Syria’s Kurdish population need to be seriously addressed. Continue reading →
Although we cannot deny that the deeper causes for the conflict in Darfur seem to lie in the scarcity of resources in the region and the restricted access to them rather than ethnic tension, which seems to be a contributing factor only, current Arab reactions to developments in Darfur, official and popular, border on racism (to put it bluntly). The same can also be said with regard to reaction vis-à-vis Kurdish aspirations and concerns.
Raising such a sensitive issue as Minority Rights in such a troubled part of the world as the Middle East (especially the Arab World) at this point in time, when external forces are once again actively involved in reshaping the region and when many of their officials and “experts” are loudly and unambiguously calling for “regime changes” and new Sykes-Picot arrangements of one type or another, is bound to raise some eyebrows as well, both as a reflection of confusion and dismay. Continue reading →