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.
Continue reading ““Is Anyone Listening?””
Nir Boms and Elliot Chodoff
Since he abruptly returned from Britain to Syria five years ago to inherit the regime from his ailing father, thirty-six year old Syrian strongman Basher al-Assad has rarely smiled in public. After all – running Syria is a serious business. But lately, it seems that Assad is showing the world a different face. While visiting Cairo last week to discuss the situation in the Middle East he actually cracked a half-smile.
Continue reading “Syrian Peace Overtures: Timing is Everything”
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.
Continue reading “The Coming Fall of Assad?”
The road to Damascus.
November 30, 2005.
By Nir Boms
With increasing international pressure over the U.N. investigation into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, Syria’s young president, Bashar al-Assad, has taken the identification of his country with the Assad name to new levels. In a recent speech he defiantly stated: “It will not be President Assad who will bow his head nor the head of his country. We only bow to God almighty.” As he desperately calls for an emergency meeting of the Arab league that might help alleviate the growing international pressures, Assad is trying to reassert control in a troubled country that now must handle parallel attacks from the United Nations, United States, and, increasingly, the Syrian opposition.
Continue reading “Unsilenced Voices”