Asking all the wrong questions

First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations. 

Ever since the Danish Cartoon Controversy, a spate of alarmist articles and reports on Islam and the Muslim communities in western societies appeared in various newspapers and journals across the world, all warning against the danger posed by Islam as such and all asserting that Islam as a faith is inherently violence. Continue reading

Our Way or the Lions’ Way?

As the serious charges leveled against Michel Kilo indicate, and as the crackdown against democracy activists continues, culminating in the arrest of Anwar al-Bunni a few hours ago, one thing is becoming clear: the Assad regime is throwing the glove in the face of the international community and all its resolutions. Continue reading

Capitol Heresies!

I will be appearing in Capitol Hill tomorrow to speak at a conference on Immigration, Integration and Identity. My little intervention will focus on the issue of Integration & Introspection. My main point can be summarized as follows:



To facilitate the integration of Muslim communities in the traditional redoubts of western culture and civilization, namely Europe and the US, each side needs to be self-critical and not just critical of the other. But in truth, and while some criticism along these lines seems to be taking place among western intellectuals and policymakers, we are seeing little serious introspection on part of the Muslim communities involved. This seems to be one of the main driving forces behind the growing frustration of certain figures and groups in the West, both Muslim and non-Muslim. The result: many have begun to vent their frustration in ways that are simply too confrontational and sensational to allow for viable dialogue.

An Unfortunate Trait!

The way leftist intellectual continue to think in Syria baffles me. External support for them is acceptable if it came from Europe, but not if it came from the US. Why? Is Europe any less supportive of Israel? Or are European countries any less willing to push us around when their interests demand that they do so? If so, how can we interpret France’s attitude vis-à-vis the Syrian regime at this stage? How do we interpret their intervention in the Ivory Coast, for that matter, which was, by the way, quite unilateral? 

Continue reading

Responses and Clarifications!

  • To all those who expressed doubts about the possibility of a positive response from the Baath regime: indeed I am not that naïve, and I am quite cynical about the possibility of having the proposed plan adopted by the regime. But I do have to hope, don’t I? After all, the alternative to this seems to be isolation, sanctions and, eventually, invasion.  Continue reading

The Internal Dynamics of Syrian Politics

Lecture at the Brookings Institution

Syria has developed a reputation as an esoteric state because of the actions of its late President, Hafez el Asad.  Asad’s rural beginnings, military education, and limited exposure to the West contributed to his deep familiarity with Syrian social and political culture. But, it also limited his understanding of ever-changing global realities, especially in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the West, Asad was, nonetheless, perceived as a political genius because Western knowledge of Syria was extremely limited. Continue reading