Category Archives: Middle East

11May/08

Assad on the Rocks

Oct. 9 2005, Nir Boms

Facing additional pressures at home and abroad, the schedule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, is particularly busy these days. There is much to do and time is of the essence. His timing, however, does not seem to work.

For example, President Assad had planned to head his country’s delegation to the United Nations summit last month. While restlessness was growing in Damascus, Assad could have benefited from a visit designed to ease Syria’s international isolation and show the 40-year-old president as a young reformist Arab ruler.

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11May/08

Assad Is Speaking

 

December 10, 2003
By Nir Boms and Erick Stakelbeck

In his three and a half years as Syrian President, 38-year-old Bashar Al-Assad has been called many things by U.S. officials. Misunderstood is not one of them.

Yet, if Assad’s recent comments to the New York Times are any indication, the U.S. has it all wrong when it comes to the Syrian dictator. In a wide-ranging interview published in the November 30th edition of the Times, Assad-in what undoubtedly came as a great surprise to the hundreds of political dissidents languishing in Syrian prisons-spoke of taking “better steps towards democracy.” Citing his commitment to progress, he declared, “We [Syria] have to change…I don’t agree to stand still…We are moving forward slowly but steadily.” Assad’s paean to democracy followed similar remarks by Syrian Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam at the Ba’ath Party conference in November. Acknowledging that “regional and international developments require the (Syrian) government to adapt,” Khaddam promised that “the (Baa’th) party is studying the issue of developing its political thinking.”

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11May/08

Another Syrian Round of Applause

by Nir Boms

“We are neither a great power nor a weak country, we are not a country without cards or foundations” said Syrian president Basher Assad in a recent interview as he planned to pull another card from his sleeve. “We are not a country that can be passed over with respect to the issues.” He continued with words, which may have been corroborated by Secretary of State Colin Powell that made Damascus one of his first stops after the fall of Baghdad, in spite of Pentagon opposition. Six months later, our “ally in the war against terrorism” remains a primary source and a transit point for the foreign terrorists working to destabilize Iraq. The failed Yemeni truck bomber detained last week in Baghdad holding a Syrian passport is not the first of his kind by a long shot. 

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11May/08

Assad Under Siege

By Nir Boms/ Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
Published May 15, 2006


“Iran and Syria are in the same boat,” said former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani during a visit to Damascus on April 12. In likening the two countries’ predicaments, Mr. Rafsanjani continued, “The enemies of Syria are trying to increase the pressure, but the resistance of the Syrian people will continue.” He is right: The Syrian people are resisting more than ever before. But the new wave of resistance isn’t what Mr. Rafsanjani had in mind. 

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