“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.”
First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations.
Apathy is probably one of the most puzzling and serious social diseases affecting regional youth these days. Yet, we can blame economic conditions and the local fear culture, stemming out of authoritarian predilections of ruling regimes and the potential for ethnic strife in some cases, only so much before we have to stop and consider the involvement of other factors in this matter as well. For fear and economic hardships only represent the inhibitive side of the equation, while human behavior is equally shaped by motivating factors. Indeed, the lack of credible leaders and the lack of a promising vision of the future, both of which are necessary factors for inspiring people into action, seem to be involved here as well. Continue reading
Tharwa Editorial / Daily Star
Many people around the world today seek to differentiate between what they call “freedom fighters” and those described as terrorists. They argue that such differentiation, which is most often applied to Iraq and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, is necessary in order to grant legitimacy to those fighting for their freedom or the independence of their homeland against an oppressor or a foreign occupier, especially when the reality of occupation is recognized internationally, perhaps through relevant UN resolutions. Continue reading
By Nora Boustany
Going out on a limb almost comes naturally for Ammar Abdulhamid. He grew up in an artsy milieu in Damascus, the only child of a celebrity couple whose daily existence depended on living on the edge of what was acceptable within a rigid political system. His father, Mohammed Shaheen, was a movie director, and his mother, Mona Wasef, is a top Syrian actress. To succeed in their field meant breaking barriers. Continue reading
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s recent allegation that Syria is smuggling war materiale into Iraq raised the ominous prospect that Washington’s attention will turn toward Damascus, whenever it is finished with Baghdad.
Rumsfeld’s charge – vehemently denied by Syria – now tops the long list of unresolved issues in Syria’s relations with the United States: its open-ended military intervention in Lebanon; its continued support of Hizbollah there; its alleged involvement in the 1982 suicide attack against the Marines barrack in Beirut resulting in the death of 241 US soldiers; its continued support of various “outlawed” Palestinian groups; and Syria’s allegedly growing stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. Indeed, Syria has long been included on the State Department’s list of nations that support terrorism. Continue reading
A Heretic’s Log: A series of philosophical essays written between September 20, 2002 and July 15, 2004.
Usama Bin Laden was a disinherited man. His wealth notwithstanding, his voice was inaudible, his concerns irrelevant, his dreams and aspirations moot. He was not the only one in this position, of course. The world is full of such disinherited and dejected men. But then, not too many of them have had the opportunity to think of themselves as allies to the Powers That Be in this world, joined in a common cause against “Godlessness,” and not too many have had a taste of “victory,” albeit achieved through that old-fashioned, yet not so “honorable,” way that is gorilla warfare. Continue reading