Secularists & Islamists – The Promise & the Dread

This is the paper that I have prepared during my second stint as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution (October 2005-March 2006). It, too, was too whimsical for publication as a Brookings policy paper. So, here it is.  Continue reading “Secularists & Islamists – The Promise & the Dread”

Of Lions and Termites!

The debate in the comments section below perhaps got unnecessarily heated, but Alex did make some “sober” points that I simply need to respond to equally as soberly I hope.

Indeed, demanding anything like “simultaneous goodwill gestures between the Syrian government and its Lebanese opponents,” and advising that “[i]f the Americans wanted peace in the Middle East, they should make a deal with Bashar,” seem based on the erroneous assumption that Bashar and his henchmen are indeed capable of behaving like true statesmen and not like the sectarian thugs that they are. People who insist on looking at the Assads of Syria as statesmen are in an unfortunate state of denial. Bashar has been out of his depth from the moment he stepped into office, Maher is an unreliable hothead, and Assef is a man obsessed with his sectarian identity and with the necessity of keeping Alawites in control of Syria at all costs. Continue reading “Of Lions and Termites!”

One More Reason?

I am not sure what to make of the recent accusations streaming out of Amman against Hamas leaders in Damascus. Are they part of the Jordanian King’s attempt at cornering the Syrian regime as part of some containment plan against the Shia Crescent? Could be, I guess. But if there is any truth to the allegations being made, then the Syrian regime has just given the world one more reason for why regime change in Syria is necessary.

More on this in Tony’s post.

I Fear for Ali!

The fate of the Syrian political prisoner, Muhammad Sha’er Haysah, who died yesterday as a result of the “inhuman conditions of his incarceration” makes me quite worried about the fate of ‘Ali al-‘Abdallah and his two sons who remain missing to this day. We need an international figure to make an appeal on their behalf so that their fate can be ascertained. Their family deserves to know whether they are alive or dead. The international silence in this regard is incomprehensible and inexcusable. Ali & Sons could be undergoing some inhuman torture as we speak. They could also be dead.

What would happen, I wonder, should we find out that one or more of them is indeed dead? What sort of pressures could be brought against the Syrian regime to account for that?