Cradle of Contradictions

Life in Syria has never been simple. The realities, meticulously hidden under a veneer of homogeneity, have always been too complex for even the most discerning of scholars. The peaceful coexistence between the country’s myriad ethnic, religious, and tribal groups is the result of a complex layer of concessions, compromises, tacit agreements, and other pragmatic arrangements perfected over the centuries.

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The Young Syrian

The Jerusalem Report / page 24

Ammar Abdulhamid hopes to spark an intellectual renaissance and encourage political reform at home in Damascus.

Yigal Schleifer / Istanbul

SYRIAN PUBLISHER AND author Ammar Abdulhamid doesn’t like to think small scale. The founder of a year-old nonprofit Damascus publishing house, Abdulhamid is embarking on a translation project through which he plans to introduce the Syrian public to the classic literary and philosophical works of the Western canon.  Continue reading

Taking it seriously

Those who think that the difficulties the Americans are having in Iraq are going to make them rethink their commitment to effecting serious change in the Middle East and adopt some kind of a neutral hands-off stance vis-à-vis regional developments are, simply put, deluding themselves. In fact, the invasion of Iraq promises to be merely the beginning of a long period of direct American interventionism in the region. Whatever difficulties the Americans are bound to encounter along the way, whatever changes should take place at the helm, substituting Democrats for Republicans, conservatives for liberals, doves for hawks, or vice versa, could affect the choice of the particular interventionist strategy to be deployed, but it will have no impact on the interventionist policy itself. The United States has no option but to intervene.  Continue reading

Out of the dark: Syria’s Kurdish question reborn

Special to The Daily Star / A Tharwa Project Editorial 

Even as the Syrian authorities seem to have successfully managed to contain the Kurdish riots that rocked the country’s northernmost city of Qamishli over the last few weeks, there could be no denying that the country’s long neglected Kurdish question is finally out of the dark and is crying out for answers. But can the Syrian authorities muster enough will and internal support to sit down with the Kurdish parties and hammer out an answer that is acceptable to both sides? Continue reading