The day I met Syria’s Mr Big

One of the most feared men in Syria before his assassination, Assef Shawkat told me minority rights were a CIA invention., Tuesday 24 July 2012 07.58 EDT

“The country is not ready for revolutions and civil disobedience,” he told me.

“That’s your opinion,” I replied.

“We won’t imprison you and let your friends in America turn you into a hero.” Continue reading

Syria Needs US Intervention Now: Ammar Abduhamid

Interviewed by Ryan Mauro, Stop Radical

Ammar Abduhamid is a liberal Syrian pro-democracy activist whose anti-regime activities led to his exile in September, 2005. He currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Khawla Yusuf, and their two children, Oula (b.1986) and Mouhanad (b. 1990). He is the founder of the Tharwa Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting democracy, and is currently a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. His personal blog is the Syrian Revolution Digest. Continue reading

Ammar Abdulhamid and Joshua Landis in a debate on

Joshua Landis (University of Oklahoma, Syria Comment) and Ammar Abdulhamid (Tharwa Foundation,Syrian Revolution Digest) speak about:

Syria is not ready for an uprising

The groundwork for Egypt and Tunisia’s days of rage took years. In isolated Syria, there is much grassroots work to be done., Monday 7 February 2011 11.00 GMT.

A “day of rage” called for by Syrian opposition members living abroad and scheduled for last Friday and Saturday came and went: the only mass presence detected on the streets of major cities in Syria was that of security forces. Continue reading

Death by Sect

First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations. 

Indeed, and as this article by Lee Smith illustrates, we need to focus on the real issues in our beleaguered part of the world, namely: the problems and challenges posed by our intricate ethnic and religious diversity and the enduing communal modes of belonging and organization in our midst. The potential for violence posed by our continuing neglect to seriously address these issues is rising by the day as more and more radical forces rush to fill in the vacuum left by the reticence of the moderates. The chances for peacebuilding development and enlightenment are practically non-existing in this climate and this could only spell disaster sooner than we’d like to think.

Few New Thoughts on an Old Divide!

Ibn Taymiyyah be damned. Not that the Alawite of his time were saints though. Indeed, they, as many mountain peoples have done throughout ancient history and the world, were busy wrecking havoc on the inhabitants of cities and villages, pillaging, looting and killing. Hence this infamous fatwa against them by Ibn Taymiyyah, which was briefly revived in the mid 70s. But even then, its revival was premised on injustice perpetrated in the name of Alawite concerns and rights. Continue reading