The Breakthrough!

My “comrades in arms” and I have just concluded our first conference for the Syrian opposition groups in the US. The conference was organized by the Syrian National Council in the US, in cooperation with the Ahrar Movement and the Syrian National Council in Canada. It featured an amazing assortment of representatives of political currents and views, including representatives of the Syrian internal opposition groups, who have taken a tremendous risk by accepting to take part in such an event. 


The last day, Sunday, also featured a a most wonderful and inspiring phone conference with the recently freed Damascus Spring dissidents: Riad Seif, Walid al Bunni, Fawaz Tillo and Habeeb Issa, as well as the sublime spark behind the Atassy Forum Mrs. Suheir Atassy.

Despite the fact that discussion tended to veer into the usual old polemics and diatribe against the regime, a sense of focus and purpose prevailed throughout the two-day conference, and the concluding statement did a pretty decent job in summarizing the main points of agreements between the various groups, which seem quite capable of paving pave the way for the eventual establishment of an actual opposition platform or current in the very near future.

These points included for the very first time a clear and an unequivocal legitimization by the internal opposition groups of the activities of their external counterparts, as well as a clear cut call for more coordination between all opposition movements wherever they happen to be. Considering the importance of the people taking place in the conference and the fact that they did represent all strands of the Syrian political spectrum, reaching such an agreement is by no means a small feat. Indeed, the chasm of the inside/outside dichotomy seems to have finally been traversed – A development that could indeed set the grounds for the adoption of more practical and dynamic measures in the work of the Syria national opposition in the future.

Indeed, the few proposals I have made in my paper, Managing Transition, were well-received, and I expect some serious developments along these lines in the next few months.

Meanwhile, the Day of February 1 is upon us. No, I don’t expect much in terms of positive response at this stage, but my friends and contacts in Syria assure me that at least 300-400 hundred people have so far pledged to abide by the proposed work-stoppage.

Whatever the case may be, next time, and there will definitely be a next time and soon, such a call is bound to receive greater support, attention and endorsement. Or so, I have reasons to hope.

On the final day of the conference, we also had a chance to a listen to a plea for the release of Dr. Kamal Labwani, made by his brave wife, Samar. Dr. Labwani was the first well-known figure in the Syrian internal opposition to have braved the waters of extending his hands to the country’s external opposition as well as to the international community appealing for the freedom of his people.

Despite all the personal differences that some participants had with the views, if not the sharp mannerisms of Dr. Labwani, they were all willing to concede the importance of the role he played in arranging for this breakthrough in communication between the inside and the outside.

On this occasion, pleas were also made for the freedom of the other Damascus Spring prisoners, including the renowned economist, Dr. Aref Dalila, as well as all other prisoners of conscience. This naturally resonates with our recent discussion on this site regarding the lauching of a letter writing campaign, or something along these lines, demanding the freedom of Dr. Dalila. Well, on Sunday, we made a certain modest effort in this regard. But this is only the beginning, I promise.

13 thoughts on “The Breakthrough!

  1. What an auspicious begining!! May the rest of the journey be full of conquering higher ground and higher ground still.

  2. Hey Ammar,Why was Farid Ghadry and Mohammed Aljbaili excluded from the conference. Was it an attempt to isolate them or not to associate this gathering with the “American Horse” people like Ghadry is riding on or????????Would appreciate an insider’s info on the topic. And also, what do you think of the two?Tarek

  3. Ammar,I would like to congratulate the oppositions for the success and good work they had last weekend.The event PR was very low-keyed. We learned about this conference on the day of the conference!! I think, at this stage this kind conference need to be more open and publicized, All agendas published in advance and more be more transparent . finally it should not be dictated by a small numbers of “unknown” to the Syrian communities in the US and in Syria

  4. Well since Ghadri may be involved with the corrupt and militant zionist Abramoff it was a good thing that Ghadri was’nt there.

  5. But i still want Ammars opinion of them and insider information on why they were not invited

  6. Farid Ghadry and Mohammed Aljbaili are Syrian citizens and, as such, they have every right to voice their opposition to the Syrian regime. Still, I am new here, as you all know, so I am not so privy as to the exact nature of the relations between the SNC and RFP, so I am not really sure how the “exclusion” took place. Still, and from a tactical perspective, I think the exclusion of Ghadri and Jbaili was necessary in order to appeal to a broader spectrum of figures from the internal opposition. For regardless of the actual merits of these figures and their legitimate right to oppose, the public image they have in the country is less than flattering. I doubt we could have gotten much support from the Syrian opposition if they were on board, at least not this stage. We should keep our minds open for the future. If Ghadri and Jbaili should manage to polish their public image with the Syrian people, their inclusion may not as problematic in the future. This brings us to Atassy’s point, with which I totally agree. We do need to advertise such events much more in the future in order to include more and more people. Indeed, I think that the people at the SNC are quite aware of the necessity of doing that, and will make more of an effort towards this end in the future meeting scheduled to take place in Canada. More on this as things develop, of course.

  7. Josh’s new post also mentions the opposition conference and Ghadry. i make my feelings very clear on Ghadry in the comment section

  8. [This has been used to save the lives of Katrina/Rita/Wilma refugees]Suicide/impulsive depression/self-injury prevention…..[a figure of speech, a life preserver made up of words!!]Please help me END suicide & spread this eveywhere! It works, which isthe only point!Read with the kind of open mind that conquers theunknown.”SUICIDE VACCINE”: ………..You don’t have tobelieve in God to sense that there are unseen,negative forces at work against the human race; vast,heartless, loveless and unsympathetic. (If you don’tbelieve in anything you can’t see, touch or feel,you’re vulnerable!Expand your horizon to understand that ALL of life isconnected and has a great impact on us, whether we cansee it or not!….like a virus,with the naked eye, forinstance.) Fallen angels (who are JUST as real as YOUare, who hide behind our deceived ignorance of theirREAL methods, who lost their “day jobs” and havenothing better to do than prey on us, and who arecalled “demons”) get sheer delight in tricking humansinto self-murder and slaughter us like slave/cattledaily (as well as other deadly deceptions such asincited, outward violence)!One such deception we call “suicide”. The word “angel”means “messenger”. The ‘Maker of All Things’ haddesigned angels to carry His thoughts and put theminto the mind of man.The fallen angels can still place their thoughtsdirectly into any human’s mind, in that human’s veryown thought voice….YOUR thought voice! (Ever had anangry or impulsive thought, word or action that youknew wasn’t you? We all have!!)”Suicide risk” people (and others) that don’t know orACCEPT that this tampering can be done to them arestuck thinking that was what they really wanted to do.In play also is the demon’s ability to incite, tomanipulate our feelings and emotions, dragging usalong the bottom of our lives (depression or pain ofany sort, whether physical or emotional) and settingus up for a deadly trick, often through isolation,arrogance, never-ending boredom or impulsive behavior(we are most vulnerable here!).Also, the more self-absorbed or self-centered theindividual is, the more susceptible they are (involveyourself with other’s needs as adefense….others-centered rather than self-centeredLOVE is what you do for ALL others that is in theirhighest or best interest, anytime, anywhere,selflessly! 24/7).People with good fortune shining on them would hardlylisten to a suicide thought, as out of place as itwould be there and a noticeable implant into theirthought process. The bad guys have thousands of luresthat get most of us (like $$money$$…which took theplace of Love in the USA….entertainment, sports &business….which took the place of Family, “soaps”etc., but we can be inoculated against thefooling trick of suicide and eradicate it now that theREAL source has finally been revealed! HELP to spreadthis objective truth around freely to PREVENT moreneedless deaths and tragedies, to PROTECT the humanrace, including those you love!”People who don’t believe that the devil walks thisearth have not seen the things I’ve seen (terriblehuman slaughter). I believe that there is such a thingas true evil, and that there is true goodness.” [Dr.Ronald Wright:: Broward County Medical Examiner,Florida]Mick’s response: “I realisedrecently that if I ever caused an upset with someone -knowingly or unknowingly – that I would try to handlethis upset by harming myself in an effort to placatethe other person. This included serious physicaldamage to myself and attempted suicide. Having spottedthis info (Suicide Vaccine), I am now no longer goingto do it and wished to let you know this. It would bebetter for me to confront the things I have caused andhandle them. Love Mick.””The greatest trick the devil has ever pulled isconvincing the human race that he doesn’t exist.” TheUsual Suspects”Reality is something that when you stop believing init, it doesn’t go away”. Philip K. Dick—Ignorance is something you don’t know when you really need it!—JamesSorrell or or

  9. hi Ammar,If you read the letter below you would better understand why Mr. aljbaili, who is one of the founder of SNC, was excluded:To the attention of the founding members of the Syrian National Council Dear Friends, After carefully reviewing our activities and accomplishments since the foundation of the Syrian National Council on the 6th of July 2005, I regret to say that our efforts in bringing the SNC to the full gear of its expectation were clouded by some misunderstanding, and unnecessary arguments, due to misconception of the very nature of democracy with respect to the right of every individual to express him or her opinions under the rules of the SNC charter. Our goals in forming the SNC were to present to the Syrian Diaspora, and to the people of Syria, a unified entity to be accepted as an example and a vehicle to change the autocratic and dictatorial regime in Syria.The human rights of all people of Syria are at stake at this point; the SNC should open its doors to all assortment of Syrian society’s mosaic. It is the expressed views of many members of the SNC that there is a needs of making some changes to the SNC in order to make it stronger and more consistent with the international political environment, as the SNC is an American political organization regulated by American laws. These are the changes as suggested: 1- Dismantling the existing organizations and parties under the umbrella of the SNC, and transforming the SNC into a Party of All. 2- Considering all founders members of the SNC as members of the Executive Committee of the SNC Party. 3- Electing all the leadership positions of the SNC Party by the new Executive committee. 4- Adopting or modifying the by laws of the SNC to comply with the new SNC Party statue. 5- Inserting a language in the Charter to reflect equal rights for all Syrian citizens under the laws including women. 6- Considering the Islamic laws and the Shari’as, as one source among others, in writing the Constitution and laws of future Syria. 7- Denying the membership to SNC Party to all individuals or organizations which are associated to the Baa’th regime in Syria, and to all individuals or organizations which encourage ethnic or religious segregation in the Syrian Society. 8- To open negotiation with other political reformers and opposition parties inside and outside Syria as soon as possible in order to form a united front against the Baa’th regime in Syria. 9- To open a dialogue with Mr. F. Ghadry as the leader of the Syrian Democratic Coalition, in order to have a united front for the Syrian opposition in the United States. These are the main issues to be voted on I hope to hear from you by Friday the 26th of August 2005 Best Regards Mohammed AljbailiRally For Syria

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