The United States has closed its embassy in Damascus amid the Syrian ruling junta’s increasingly violent crackdown. As China defends its veto this weekend of a U.N. resolution that might have amounted to nothing more than strong condemnation, the Assad regime, buoyed by continuing Russian and Iranian political and logistical support, including arms shipments, is escalating its murderous rampage. Its goal is to crush the rebellion by brute force; meanwhile, international confusion regarding what can or needs to be done precludes any international effort to protect the protesters. Continue reading
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
Ammar Abdulhamid, the Executive Director of the pro-democracy Tharwa Foundation, was much more critical of the Obama Administration’s policy (as well as that of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who recently visited Syria). “Nothing can be gained from engaging tyrants,” he said. Abdulhamid noted that the regime that Western governments are attempting to engage does not speak for the Syrian people, saying “the true leaders of Syria are in prison.”
“Peace and stability cannot happen at the expense of our freedom,” Abdulhamid insisted. He’s right of course. I fear that the Obama Administration is determined to learn this lesson the hard way.
On September 24, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus hosted an event entitled “Syrian Human Rights Policies in Syria and Toward Lebanese”. The event, moderated by Congressional Human Rights Caucus Executive Director Hans Hogrefe, featured testimony from Ali Abou Dehn, a Lebanese political detainee, Kamal El Batal, the Director of Human Rights for the World Council of the Cedars Revolution and Ammar Abdulhamid, Executive Director of the Tharwa Foundation. Continue reading
In less than a week Bashar al-Assad has managed to piss off both the French President, and Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Lebanon and human rights were the stumbling blocks, it seems. Bashar, unsurprisingly, wants complete freedom to screw everybody he wants to in these two countries, not to mention Iraq and Gaza. Some of us have known that for a long time, but some had to find out on their own, I reckon. But the end result is the same: it is the end of engagement, or at least, this particular foolish phase of it. Continue reading