Tag Archives: Democracy


A Syrian’s Struggle


May 26, 2004

On May 11, in accordance with the Syria Accountability Act, President Bush imposed new political and economic sanctions on Syria. The Syrian government, not surprisingly, was quick to condemn this move, calling the sanctions “unjust and unjustified,” and portraying Syria as a “democratic country that fights terrorism.”

While this sort of pro-democracy rhetoric has been a staple of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s four-year tenure, the story of Aktham Naeesah – a lawyer, activist, and the recent recipient of the prestigious Ludovic-Trarieux award for his human-rights work – provides a glimpse into the Syrian “democratic” reality.

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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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Saudi Promises


By Nir Boms and Erick StakelbecK

Under the auspices of the United Nations and the Washington-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, representatives from 14 Muslim countries gathered in Istanbul on April 12-14 to discuss implementing democratic reforms in the Middle East. 

While it came as no shock that Syria and Iran boycotted the event, Saudi Arabia – cited often by the Bush administration as one of America’s closest allies in the region and serious about reform – was conspicuous by its absence. 

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Intolerance in Egypt

By Nir Boms
Published July 5, 2006

Last week, Egypt’s minister of culture, Farouk Hosni, announced the latest measure in the war against intolerance in Egypt: a total ban on “The Da Vinci Code” — both the best-selling book and the hit film currently showing in theaters worldwide. 

In a speech to the Egyptian parliament that drew applause from both Islamic Brotherhood and Coptic Christian representatives, Mr. Hosni passionately defended his decision to “ban any book that insults any religion” — and ordered police to confiscate all copies of “The Da Vinci Code,” which has been on Egypt’s top-selling lists since 2003. 

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