Assad Is Speaking

Friday, December 12, 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.’ View full post…

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“Is Anyone Listening?”

November 21, 2003, 9:08

By Nir Boms & Erick Stakelbeck

“The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country.”

With this statement, made in his November 6, 2003, speech calling for the establishment of democracy in the Middle East, President Bush galvanized an increasingly active contingent of Syrian democracy advocates. The Reform Party of Syria (RPS) – a fledgling, U.S.-based political movement comprised of resident Syrians and Syrians living abroad – was formed shortly after 9/11 to express a voice that has been virtually nonexistent in Syria during 40 years of oppressive Baath-party rule: a voice of freedom. For members of RPS, Bush’s castigation of “dictators in Iraq and Syria” who “promised the restoration of national honor [and] left instead a legacy of torture, oppression, misery, and ruin” provided a source of hope for a new Syria, one free from extremism, terror, and iron-fisted rule.

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The Coming Fall of Assad?

Mar. 18, 2004
By NIR BOMS & ERICK STAKELBECK

Bashar Assad dodged another bullet by dispersing last weekend’s anti-government riots in northern Syria. And his Ba’ath Party continues to maintain a tyrannical grip over the lives of 22 million Syrians. For Syria’s democratic reformers, however, the widespread unrest may signify the calm before the storm.

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The Kurdish Cry

Baathist oppression lives on in Syria.

March 25, 2004.

By Nir Boms & Erick Stakelbeck

While the anti-government riots that raged throughout the Kurdish-populated areas of Syria for much of the past week and a half appear to have subsided as of Monday, the recent unrest may prove to be the calm before the storm for Syria’s Kurdish pro-democracy advocates.

On March 21, amidst banners condemning the continued repression of Kurds by Syria’s ruling Baath party, some 50 protesters assembled in front of the Syrian embassy in Washington, D.C.

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