Unbeknownst to most Americans, reports suggest that the rebels fighting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad may have taken control of a growing portion of the country, and may now be closer to wresting it away from him altogether. While some Syrian soldiers have defected to Turkey, many more are deserting, or simply refusing to fight. Is Assad’s central authority breaking down? Are new power brokers emerging? If so, how can the United States and its allies prevent further humanitarian catastrophe?
David Enders, a Pulitzer Center grantee on Crisis Reporting, recently returned from a month of reporting alongside the rebels fighting Bashar Assad’s government in Syria. Author of Baghdad Bulletin, a firsthand account of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, he has reported from the Middle East for news outlets ranging from The Nation to The National, Al-Jazeera, Vice, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.
Ammar Abdulhamid, a fellow at FDD, is a leading Syrian human rights and democracy activist, and also director of the Tharwa Foundation, a grassroots organization that works to break the Assad government’s information blockade by enlisting local activists and citizen issues to report on developments inside Syria. Before founding Tharwa, Mr. Abdulhamid served as a fellow with the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He has briefed the President of the United States and testified before the U.S. Congress, and has appeared in many media outlets, including The New York Times. Read his full bio here.
John Hannah is a senior fellow at FDD, before which he served as national security advisor to Vice President Richard B. Cheney. Mr. Hannah has served in a range of senior policy positions in both Democratic and Republican administrations, as a senior member of Secretary of State James A. Baker’s Policy Planning staff during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, and later as a senior advisor to Secretary of State Warren Christopher under President William J. Clinton. Mr. Hannah’s articles have appeared in The New York Times,The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and he blogs regularly atForeignPolicy.com and National Review Online. Read his full bio here.
Reuel Marc Gerecht is a Senior Fellow at FDD and a former Iran analyst at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. He focuses on the Arab Revolt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, and intelligence. Mr. Gerecht is the author of The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East, Know Thine Enemy: A Spy’s Journey into Revolutionary Iran, and The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundamentalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracy. He is a contributing editor for The Weekly Standard and a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, as well as a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other publications. Read his full bio here.