Overcoming Extremism

On October 22-23, the Center for Strategic & International Studies organized a workshop under the title Overcoming Extremism. I took part in the Changing Media Landscape session, alongside Anthony Barnett of openDemocracy, and Kathleen Ridolfo of Radio Free Europe. Here is a recording of the entire session hosted on the ever useful Forat.tv. Hope you enjoy.

Overcoming Extremism: The Changing Media Landscape from CSIS on FORA.tv

Don’t Be Too Quick to Thank the Assads!

Previous “Islamist” attacks in Syria have always looked suspicious, even staged, to most onlookers and analysts, their particular sympathies, be they pro-regime or anti-regime, notwithstanding. The reason for this was the choice of target, namely: empty buildings. Now, we have a seemingly more credible attack in terms of target selection, but the choice of methodsandtactics is truly problematic. Continue reading

The Alawite Question!

An interesting guest-post onSyria Comment raises the all too important issue of Alawite rule in Syria from the hence missing Alawite point of view. The post does a good job in summarizing Alawite concerns, and poses certain questions that members of the other communities in Syria are required to answer in order to convince the Alawites to take part in changing the situation in the country and turning against the Assads. Continue reading

The Fodder & the Flock!

What’s really happening with Islamist groups in Syria? Are they finally turning against the very regime that for long sponsored them, in the belief that a chaotic situation in Syria will better serve their interests at this stage? Is the Faustian deal that has for years united the two radically opposed camps, the Alawite regime and the Sunni extremists, and according to the which the latter camp was granted safe haven in Syria in exchange for reserving their violence to other people and countries and in accordance with some of the regime’s most notorious policies, finally falling apart? Or, have the Assads of Syria decided that turning against their unlikely allies at this stage will bolster their image both with regard to the domestic scene and the international one? Continue reading