Syria, a day before tomorrow

Three scenarios appear plausible for Syria’s future: agreed transition; segregation; or disintegration. It is imperative that friends of Syria help Syrians create a scenario they can live with.

The Commentator

 

 

AMMAN – In 1942, Winston Churchill famously drew a distinction between “the end of the beginning” and “the beginning of the end”. That distinction is equally applicable to the unfolding crisis in Syria.

While intense battles continue in Idlib, Aleppo and Damascus, equally intense discourse is  already in full swing  anticipating the “day after” or the beginning of post-Assad Syria.

Undoubtedly, the Syrian revolution has reached a critical point. Despite equipment shortages and government brutality, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been able to show some significant advances. Following the successful planting of the bomb that killed three top inner circle officials, the FSA now effectively controls most of the border crossings between Turkey, Syria and Iraq, and with them, the critical supply lines from Iran which has thus far kept the regime afloat.

Some of the FSA’s recent strides can be attributed to the growing list of defectors that now includes generals, pilots, diplomats and even inner-circle officials like Brig-Gen Manaf Tlas, the son of former defense minister Mustapha Tlas and a recent close ally of Assad.

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Layla of Arabia

Dec. 14, 2009
NIR BOMS and NOAM IVRI , THE JERUSALEM POST

‘I am writing from the other side of the ocean to inform you that after my graduation I won’t be returning” wrote Saudi student Layla (a pseudonym) to her family, in a letter published in the Saudi newspaper Okaz.

“I’ve been freed from my apprehensions and dismays and enjoy being separated from the [Middle] Eastern man; do I surprise you with the audacity to stop keeping tribal customs?”

Her voice, the voice of a free woman in an adopted country, joins a growing group of brave Saudi women activists who dare to dissent against one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Layla describes her journey through literature that focused on a question seemingly trivial to readers on this side of the ocean: What value, if any, do I have in this world as a woman? Books banned in her native Saudi Arabia helped provide her with some answers. Al-Neehum, a Libyan exile and critic of Arab culture, was adopted to be Layla’s first teacher: “Equality between men and women is impossible in any society that doesn’t allow for equal earning opportunities,” he wrote. “Arab society adopts a predetermined system where the man’s earning power is independent of the woman, while a woman’s earning power is dependent on the man.”

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Education for Tolerance: A Ray of Hope in a Troubled Region

The enclose piece  is the fruit of collaborative work with two dear colleagues, an Israeli (David Oman)  and a Kuwaiti (Khaled AlJenfawi) who are both involved with an NGO where I serve as a board member. It deals with an important key for peace in the region,  namely the issue of  education for peace and tolerance toward the “other”.

“Europe’s soul is tolerance,” said Angela Merkel at the official ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. “Our history,” she added, “obliges us in Europe to promote tolerance throughout Europe and across the globe and to help everyone practice it.” Merkel is not alone. Other European leaders often speak of the value of tolerance that indeed appears to be the bon-ton of Europe. But to what extent is it manifested in policy?

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Les promesses saoudiennes

Source Washington Times (États-Unis)
Référence « Saudi promises », par Nir Boms et Erick Stakelbeck, Washington Times, 21 avril 2004.

Auteurs Nir Boms, Erick Stakelbeck

Résumé Sous les Auspices de l’ONU et du National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, des représentants de 14 pays musulmans se sont rencontrés à Istanbul du 12 au 14 avril pour discuter des réformes démocratiques au Proche-Orient. Sans surprise, l’Iran et la Syrie ont boycotté la réunion, mais l’Arabie saoudite non plus n’est pas venue en dépit de son alliance avec les États-Unis et des déclarations de l’administration Bush sur le sérieux des efforts de réformes dans le royaume.

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