A 718-page digital document obtained by Mother Jones contains names, phone numbers, neighborhoods, and alleged activities of thousands of dissidents apparently targeted by the Syrian government. Three experts asked separately by Mother Jones to examine the document—essentially a massive spreadsheet, whose contents are in Arabic—say they believe that it is authentic. As Bashar al-Assad’s military continues a deadly crackdown on dissent inside the country, the list appears to confirm in explicit detail the scale of the regime’s domestic surveillance and its methodical efforts to destroy widespread opposition. Continue reading →
On February 15, at the headquarters of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, I helped set up a conference call via Skype that introduced rebel leaders from Damascus and Its Suburbs to a host of policy experts from Washington. This is Cliff May’s take on the event. Cliff is the president of FDD.
Many Washingtonians claim that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has been thrown back against the ropes, boxed in by international sanctions, and growing hordes of protesters whom he cannot contain, no matter how brutally he cracks down on them.
In truth, Assad is hardly alone. Iran and Hezbollah have stood by his side from the first moment, providing intelligence, and by some accounts weapons and other assistance to the loyalist forces. More recently, China and Russia have drawn a line in the sand, refusing to acquiesce to the demise of Assad’s regime, exercising their respective vetoes at the United Nations Security Council. Continue reading →
“Al-Qaeda has no sympathizers among the protesters,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian activist and fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. “The protesters’ goal remains the establishment of a democratic civil state,” he said, and “they all understand that al-Qaeda involvement would ultimately undermine this goal.” … “Al-Qaeda and the Assads are two faces of the same coin of sectarian hatred,” said Mr. Abdulhamid, the Syrian activist. “Both seek to stoke fires that we want to extinguish.”
(CNN) — The U.N Security Council is considering the most important resolution yet on the brutal rule of terror that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has unleashed on his people. The resolution, proposed by Morocco and supporting the Arab League’s plan, calls for al-Assad to leave power as the first step of a transition toward democracy. Continue reading →