Tag Archives: Assad


Dominoes and Syrian winds

Jerusalem Post

When the ground is ready to burn, a small spark might be enough to start a fire.

Dominoes, the game presented to Chinese emperor Hui Tsung in the 12th century, traveled slowly before it finally reached the Middle East. These days, however, it appears to be the game of the hour – starting in Tunisia and Egypt, cascading through Yemen, Libya and Bahrain, and now in Syria.

The Middle East’s reality, however, is not a game, but a struggle for survival. Like the old emperors of China, the remaining old guards – the voices of the past – are desperately fighting against their own people, who seek a different future. And the voices of the past appear clearly aligned. It was Syrian Air Force pilots who were flying some of the MiG fighter jets ordered to attack rebel-held towns in Libya. An official Syrian funeral for one of them, killed fulfilling his “duty,” took place in Damascus against the backdrop of the anti-Syrian demonstration there. Turkey recently stopped two Iranian planes for “routine inspection,” only to find rocket launchers, mortars and automatic rifles intended to rearm Assad’s security forces and his Hezbollah allies in Lebanon. Assad, according to opposition sources, has approved the deployment of hundreds of fighters to Libya, as well as air and anti-tank munitions to Gaddafi. There were reports that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has been seen working alongside the Syrian military to curtail the demonstrations. The Iranian assistance might have contributed to the increasing brutality of the Syrian security forces who managed to kill 50 more demonstrators this last weekend. But it did not stop the masses, about 500,000 of whom marched in about nine Syrian cities this past weekend. Continue reading


Syria – A Reason to Engage

Leaders from 40 countries are heading to Washington today to attend a nuclear security summit that will likely dominate the headlines in the coming days. North Korea and Iran, two states with disputed nuclear ambitions, will not be there. It appears , according to  Associated Press, that Syria was left off the invitation list as well since the US believes Damascus also has nuclear ambitions. This is one American view on Syria. But another could be heard following Senator John Kerry’s recent meeting with President Bashar al Assad in Damascus where they spoke of “mutual interests” and a constructive role for Syria in the region. In the midst of this, a new American Ambassador is about to assume office in Damascus to carry out a new policy of engagement with Syria. My recent post attempts to outline a few agenda items with the hope that engagement will become constructive.


A Reason to engage

Iranian Times International

In the midst of another round of violence in Iraq and following a summit with the Iranian and Hezbollah leaders hosted in Damascus, Senator John Kerry met President Bashar al Assad last Thursday in Damascus talking about “a mutual interest” and a “very frank exchange.”  The Senate, on its part, concluded the first confirmation hearing on the nomination of Robert Ford as its   ambassador there.  Manning the post, which has been vacant since 2005, might serve as another indication that the United States is moving to re-engage with Syria as  president  Obama seeks to  resuscitate Middle East peace talks.  Some are already criticizing the move perceived as one that will give the Syrian president an added legitimacy without a tangible return. Others argue that engagement, if used correctly, is a powerful policy tool that could promote American interests.  But on the side of this debate – and away from the political corridors of Washington – there are those who have long been waiting for American intervention. Their lives depend on it. Continue reading


Something to Hide

Executive Summary:

–          Syria has been slow to recognize democratic freedoms.  It has also refused to acknowledge the assassinations of numerous prominent individuals in the Middle East.

–          Syria has, however, been quick to stifle dissent.  Key members of opposition groups have been found dead or been imprisoned for many years.  Despite this, Syrians continue to insist that their nation is serious about peace.

–          Syria cannot be trusted with this promise because of its history of repression and intolerance.  Any nation that harms its own citizens cannot be trusted with matters of international peace.

–          The West must, therefore, side with Middle Eastern dissidents in a bid to bring real change to the region.  Only by promoting peace and democracy in Syria itself can the country be brought into a framework of international peace.
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Something to Hide

former MP Riad Seif, imprisoned again

Sunday, 30 November 2008 02:09 Nir Boms&David Keyes , Intrest

A British Ambassador in Teheran once explained the logic of the Middle East as follows: “What I say does not definitely reflect what I think. What I do does not necessary reflect what I say. Therefore, not everything that I do necessary contradicts everything that I think. ”This twisted logic may help explain the latest sequence of events in Syria and the apparent gap between the regime’s words and deeds.  Despite softening rhetoric and occasional signs of rapprochement with the West, President Bashar al-Assad still has a lot to hide—and fear.

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