Syria’s civil war leaves its cities, economy and cultural heritage in shambles

Quote in The Washington Post.

“In terms of infrastructure, major parts of Syria have effectively been bombed back to Ottoman times,” said Ammar Abdul-Hamid, a Syrian activist and a Washington-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies…

“We have a long way ahead before we put the country back together again,” Abdul-Hamid said. “But once we do, and we will, it will be our achievement.”

White House Dismisses Reports of Aid to Syrian Rebels

A quote in VOA:

Syrian human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid, with the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, says his contacts in Syria tell him there is no evidence of a surge in aid to the rebels.

“I do not really see any intensification of these efforts.  I see a lot of leaks, it seems to me, that were sort of primed to show that something is being done.  But the reality is, so far on the ground, we have not detected any real involvement by the U.S. in the ongoing military operations in the country,” Abdulhamid said. Continue reading

After Assad: What’s Next for the Future of Syria?

Quoted in the Time:

If Syria is allowed to fracture, each ethnic group hunkering down, says Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled Syria opposition leader in Washington, “it won’t be easy to put humpty dumpty back together again. It would take decades of instability and violence to sort itself out. And that is what we’re most worried about.”

Syrian Uprising Shifts Toward Suicide Bombings. Al Qaeda’s Handiwork?

Quoted by Nicholas Blanford, The Christian Science Monitor

“The only Al Qaeda cells that operate in Syria are those manipulated by Assad’s security apparatuses,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a US-based Syrian opposition activist in an online newsletter emailed today. “The suicide bombings are directly staged or facilitated by them. Issues pertaining to the timing and the real beneficiaries, and everything we know about the Assads’ involvement in terror networks, all point in this direction.”

Mr. Abdulhamid’s post carried a YouTube link that quotes Walid Muallem, Syria’s foreign minister, telling a news conference in Damascus in December that suicide bombings would not be an “embarrassment” for the government but would bestow “credibility” upon its claim that it is under threat from Islamist militants.

THE STATE OF SYRIA UNDER THE ASSADS & PROSPECTS FOR CHANGE

On April 24, 2008, I became the first Syrian citizen to deliver a testimony in the U.S. Congress. My co-panelists included my colleagues from the Brookings Institution: Martin Indyk and Peter Rodman. In the testimony I try to set the record straight on the deteriorating internal situation in Syria focusing on Assad’s weakening grip and signs of growing popular discontent. The text of the testimony can be found below, and also on the House Foreign Affairs Committee website. Continue reading

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