The arrest of Riad Seif, the recently leader of Syria’s largest opposition coalition, earlier today by security officers, in face of continued international protestations against the regime’s worsening human rights record, and despite continuing efforts at engagements and continued promises of normalization, support for the peace process, and even an indirect acknowledgment of the regime’s interests in Lebanon, comes as a clear sign that the Assads, once engaged and afforded any sense of legitimacy, tend to misbehave even more not less. The continued bombings and the recent riots in Lebanon are clear testaments in this regard as well. And the worst is yet to come. Continue reading
It was dazzling, I am told, that public celebration declaring Damascus the capital of Arab culture for 2008. Pavements, throughout the city, even those finished mere weeks prior to the celebrations were (re)dug and redone so that more of our illustrious officials can cash in on the event, or, to be more precise, so that some can cash in more than others. All in all, the entire budget dedicated to this event needs to be spent, and officials will always find ways to achieve that. But in this, Syria may not be different than any other country, I guess. Continue reading
Former Syrian MP and political prisoner Mamoun al-Homsi, Kurdish activist Djengizkhan Hasso of the Executive Council of the National Assembly of Kurdistan, and I recently met with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office. National Security Adviser Steven Hadley, Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, National Security Adviser to the Vice President John Hannah, and several other officials also attended the hour-long meeting.
In less than a week Bashar al-Assad has managed to piss off both the French President, and Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Lebanon and human rights were the stumbling blocks, it seems. Bashar, unsurprisingly, wants complete freedom to screw everybody he wants to in these two countries, not to mention Iraq and Gaza. Some of us have known that for a long time, but some had to find out on their own, I reckon. But the end result is the same: it is the end of engagement, or at least, this particular foolish phase of it. Continue reading