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”.
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.
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 →
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.”
Ammar Abdulhamid may know more about Syria’s civil war than anyone else in the world. That’s no exaggeration. An pro-democratic oppositionist living abroad, Abdulhamid has functioned on a virtual 24/7 basis as the source of news and analysis about events within Syria, always trying to be honest and accurate in his assessments regardless of his own preferences. Barry Rubin, PJMedia Middle East editor, interviewed Abdulhamid on the latest developments and trends. Continue reading →