Syria Hit List Targets Thousands

I am quoted many times below:

EXCLUSIVE: A detailed document obtained by Mother Jones appears to identify a vast group of Syrian dissidents targeted by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

By Hamed Aleaziz | Mon Feb. 27, 2012 9:01 AM PST

A 718-page digital document obtained by Mother Jones contains names, phone numbers, neighborhoods, and alleged activities of thousands of dissidents apparently targeted by the Syrian government. Three experts asked separately by Mother Jones to examine the document—essentially a massive spreadsheet, whose contents are in Arabic—say they believe that it is authentic. As Bashar al-Assad’s military continues a deadly crackdown on dissent inside the country, the list appears to confirm in explicit detail the scale of the regime’s domestic surveillance and its methodical efforts to destroy widespread opposition. Continue reading

U.N. chief calls on Syria to stop killings as Assad issues amnesty

A mention in The Los Angeles Times:

It was Assad’s third amnesty offer in the last 10 months. Activists remain skeptical and claim few detainees have been freed after earlier orders. No lists with names of released detainees appear to have have been published. Assad, who succeeded his late father Hafez in 2000, has also vowed to hold parliamentary elections under new constitutional principles later this year. Continue reading

Obama Administration Designing Mideast Policy

Quoted by NPR

KELEMEN: Secretary Clinton says she raised human rights issues with her Egyptian counterpart yesterday, but some activists feel the Obama administration has been far too quiet. It’s diplomatic outreach to Syria is another troubling factor for Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident who runs the Tharwa Foundation.

Mr. AMMAR ABDULHAMID (Founder, The Tharwa Foundation): If you are only going to talk about Syria’s regional involvement and adventurism and forget about the internal dimension, then this will be a major blow to Syrian human rights activists in the sense it will make the regime behave with greater impunity towards human rights activists.

KELEMEN: Abdulhamid says that’s happening already. It is, quote, “open season” on human rights and democracy activists in Syria, he says, adding so far, the Obama administration’s silence is deafening.


Only Attention Will Keep Imprisoned Bloggers Alive

Quoted in Mideast Youth

At the Committee to Protect Bloggers, we have occasionally been contacted by people who knew they were going to have to go in for interrogation and possible arrest. One of them was the Syrian poet and novelist, Ammar Abdulhamid, who has since left Syria to take up a position in Washington, D.C. as a non-resident fellow at the Saban Institute of the Brookings Institution.

“In times of trouble, activists and their families are often told to shy away from publicizing their ordeal,” said Abdulhamid. “They are advised that this is indeed the best way to make it short and to navigate back to safety. In my case, however, international attention eased my way to freedom. Without it, I might not even be alive today. Still, there are no hard-fast rules here, and the best thing that international supporters and sympathizers can do is to follow the wishes of the (effected person), when they can be reached, or the wishes of their family members and/or friends.“

Another line drawn in our crimson sands

The arrest of Riad Seif, the recently leader of Syria’s largest opposition coalition, earlier today by security officers, in face of continued international protestations against the regime’s worsening human rights record, and despite continuing efforts at engagements and continued promises of normalization, support for the peace process, and even an indirect acknowledgment  of the regime’s interests in Lebanon, comes as a clear sign that the Assads, once engaged and afforded any sense of legitimacy, tend to misbehave even more not less. The continued bombings and the recent riots in Lebanon are clear testaments in this regard as well. And the worst is yet to come. Continue reading

Shutting Down Guantanamo

First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations. 

Guantanamo is a disgrace. No one can deny that, and the recent ruling to the effect that the Bush administration had violated both American military law and the Geneva Convention in ordering the military tribunals comes as an official endorsement of point of view. Indeed, and due to the fact that such a glaring abuse of human rights is being perpetrated by the very administration that is supposed to champion the cause of democracy and human rights around the world should naturally be noted and condemned by people from around the world. Continue reading