Syria’s Spark of Opposition


By Nir Boms, 19th November 2007


1. In the aftermath of exiled Syrian opposition leader Farid Ghadry’s visit to Israel, support within Syria has noticeably increased for his Syrian Reform Party (RPS).

2. In order to prevent further promotion of Ghadry, rather than in their usual fashion ignoring his increase in popularity as a result of his visit to Israel, the Syrian regime has emulated policy stances that Ghadry has articulated.

3. RPS has also recently reported an increase in its membership and three more party ‘cells&rsquo have been created inside Syria. Dialogue with additional opposition groups has also intensified and new alliances formed.  As a result of this trip, the stirrings of opposition may yet indicate that there is both room and support for an alternative discourse in Syria and a challenge to the conventional wisdom that assumes the regime there is unshakeable. 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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Reform Lingo

By Nir Boms and Erick Stakelbeck

Published July 14, 2004, The Washington Times

One of the more intriguing aspects of last week’s transfer of power in Iraq was the reaction it drew from neighboring governments in the region, particularly those that, traditionally, have been anything but democracy-friendly. 

Iran’s mullahs, for instance, “welcomed” the transfer as giving “sovereignty back to the majority of the Iraqi people.” Likewise, Jordanian government spokeswoman Asma Khader labeled the move “a step toward rebuilding political, economic, security and social institutions in Iraq,” while Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher called it “an opportunity for [the Iraqi people] to take control of their own affairs and restore complete sovereignty.” 

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Shortwave Democracy


By Nir Boms and Erick Stakelbeck

Published June 28, 2004

Although it often seems like a solitary outpost of democratic sanity, the United States is not alone in waging the war of ideas. Since September 11, more than a dozen privately ownedpro-democracy radio stations have emerged in freedom-starved countries like North Korea, Syria, Iran and Cuba. 

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