Syrian Uprising Shifts Toward Suicide Bombings. Al Qaeda’s Handiwork?

Quoted by Nicholas Blanford, The Christian Science Monitor

“The only Al Qaeda cells that operate in Syria are those manipulated by Assad’s security apparatuses,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a US-based Syrian opposition activist in an online newsletter emailed today. “The suicide bombings are directly staged or facilitated by them. Issues pertaining to the timing and the real beneficiaries, and everything we know about the Assads’ involvement in terror networks, all point in this direction.”

Mr. Abdulhamid’s post carried a YouTube link that quotes Walid Muallem, Syria’s foreign minister, telling a news conference in Damascus in December that suicide bombings would not be an “embarrassment” for the government but would bestow “credibility” upon its claim that it is under threat from Islamist militants.

Of Foreign Intervention

A Note published on my Facebook Public Page:

I hate foreign intervention. It always comes at a high cost. I know that because we’re already paying it. We’ve been paying for centuries now, centuries. For we live in the Middle East, not on some deserted island, “foreign” intervention has always been one of the historical constants shaping our lives and destinies. Today, it is a fact of our daily life. Stopping foreign intervention has never been the real challenge confronting us. Our challenge has always been one of management. We simply have to find ways to influence the intervention process so that our interests can be served and our goals achieved:  freedom, justice, dignity, development. Continue reading

Doing the Math!

The math of life deals more with cold logic than with complex calculations 

Further to Hammam’s excellent argument below, I would like to point another problem with the math issue that gets often raised these days.

It goes beyond a doubt that when an America administration makes a mistake in calculations, whatever the reasons for that may be, more people get hurt around the world than when a regime like the Assads does. But looking at things from this perspective ignores an important fact, namely that American administrations are, in the final analysis, accountable to their people, while the same cannot be said of the Assads.  Continue reading

In the Last Few Days…

Anti-regime demonstrations reportedly erupted last week among the Alawite inhabitants of the coastal city of Lattakia. Demonstrators were apparently frustrated with Bashar al-Assad’s style of leadership which, from the perspective of many Alawite, is allowing for the erosion of their power and control over the state, raising the specter of potential Sunni domination in the minds of many, with all the acts of vendetta that such a state of affairs is perceived to entail. For this reason, demonstrators reportedly hoisted pictures of Bashar’s uncle, the one and only Rifa’at Al-Assad, the champion of the bloody crackdowns of the early 1980s.  Bashar’s brother-in-law and chief of security, the illustrious General, Assef Chawkat, is said to be taken charge of the crackdown. Scores have reportedly been arrested. Continue reading

How does it work?

Lights_demonstration How does the regime manage to get so many thousands of people to take part in its sham “popular” demonstrations of support to the President? Well, take the candle light vigil, for instance, in which a reported 50,000 students took part, though actual on the grounds estimate put the number at 20,000 only. All the authorities had to do in this case was to collect the ID of the students from different Syrian university all over the country, the IDs they have to sue in order to gain entrance to the exams hall, and voila. Continue reading

Reaching Out for the Impossible!

Assad_abdallahUnder certain conditions, autocrats can indeed ensure stability. But this stability is always borrowed somehow, borrowed from the future. The more stable an autocratic society today, the more catastrophic its implosion in the not-so-distant morrow.  For autocrats are like termites, the structures they infest continue to look impressive right until they fall on their heads, and ours. Betting on Middle Eastern autocrats to ward off the evils of Islamist threats and popular revolts is not only misplaced but will serve as a catalyst of these very evils. We tend to seal our fates in various ways, some with a handshake, others with a kiss.