Last week President Obama did say that his “calculus” about “military engagement” would change if the regime began using or deploying its stocks of chemical weapons. But as the Syrian blogger Ammar Abdulhamid has written, the drawing of that red line may have emboldened the regime to conclude that anything short of using weapons of mass destruction will be tolerated by Washington.
Mr. Abdulhamid wonders “why slaughter would be deemed tolerable if it happened one way and not another.” It’s a good question — and one for which the administration’s morally bankrupt policy has no answer.
A quote in the Guardian:
In his latest blog post, exiled Syrian activist Ammar Abdulhamid takes issue with President Obama’s “coldly articulated red line regarding the use of chemical weapons” which he says “might just translate into a green light for more frenzied killing sprees by Assad and his militias”.
A quote in the Wall Street Journal:
The dissidents added that the Assad government uses cigarettes as a form of payment for the irregular military forces and militias, known as the shabeeha, who have had a central role in its violent crackdown. “Cigarettes are a favorite form of payment for the shabeeha,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident and human-rights activist based in Washington.
The Syrian dissident and human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid entitles his very powerful blog entry today at the Syrian Revolution Digest site “Redline and Greenlight.”
What does he mean? Continue reading
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Istanbul this weekend to talk with Turkish officials about a post-Bashar Assad future for Syria. Clinton says it’s urgent to plan for a transition and make sure Syria’s institutions remain intact. She’s also warning against a sectarian war. But some Syrian exiles say the U.S. has done too little, too late and its messages won’t be heard as the warring factions become more radicalized. Continue reading
A quote in the Christian Science Monitor:
About five Alawite clans, all linked through intermarriage and business interests, control the real power bases in Syria — such as the security apparatus and the military — and there have been no notable defections from their ranks, said Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled opposition member who is on the Syria Working Group at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, a think tank in Washington.
“They control the key decision-making process in tactical terms,” Abdulhamid said of the powerful Alawite dynasties. “The defection shows that the regime has lost control of an old game: the Sunni fig leaf.”