Should The United States Engage Syria? A Saban Center Policy Forum Debate

The Saban Center for Middle East Policy hosted a debate on October 23, 2006 between Joshua Landis, assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma, and Ammar Abdulhamid, a Saban Center Nonresident Fellow, on whether the United States should engage with Syria. Martin S. Indyk, Director of the Saban Center, formerly Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs and twice U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and Tamara Cofman Wittes, Saban Center Research Fellow and Director of the Arab Democracy and Development Program, chaired the event. Continue reading

A Note on Apathy

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

Waiting for the Next Move!

The recent declarations byNasrallah, Ahmadinejad and Assad mark a noticeable decrease in the levels of bellicosity and belligerence in comparison to their erstwhile discourse. Indeed, none of these men has backed down from his declared stands on the all too important issues of resistance and the nuclear capabilities, but their statements did, nonetheless, contain some startling reversals of recent positions and attitudes. Continue reading

Countdown to Armageddon!

The arguments I made in this article on the BitterLemons-International news service, have been bolstered by the speech recently delivered by our national imbecile. Moreover, the bellicose tones of Bashar’s speech have themselves been bolstered and taken to their logical conclusion by an editorial in the official newspaper, al-Thawrah, that appeared on the following day. The editorial issued a very straightforward threat against Israel. Indeed, the threat/call for launching a Hezbollah-style campaign in the Golan was indeed the main theme. Continue reading

Wag the Lions!

Assuming that things go as planned, UNSC Resolution 1701 will deliver to Israel in political terms what its troops could not achieve in military ones, namely: the neutralization of the Hezbollah Effect. For the costs of rebuilding what has been destroyed and of resettling and compensating the displaced population is bound to be very high and will occupy Hezbollah, among other Lebanese actors, for many years to come. Continue reading