On October 22-23, the Center for Strategic & International Studies organized a workshop under the title Overcoming Extremism. I took part in the Changing Media Landscape session, alongside Anthony Barnett of openDemocracy, and Kathleen Ridolfo of Radio Free Europe. Here is a recording of the entire session hosted on the ever useful Forat.tv. Hope you enjoy.
Anti-regime demonstrations reportedly erupted last week among the Alawite inhabitants of the coastal city of Lattakia. Demonstrators were apparently frustrated with Bashar al-Assad’s style of leadership which, from the perspective of many Alawite, is allowing for the erosion of their power and control over the state, raising the specter of potential Sunni domination in the minds of many, with all the acts of vendetta that such a state of affairs is perceived to entail. For this reason, demonstrators reportedly hoisted pictures of Bashar’s uncle, the one and only Rifa’at Al-Assad, the champion of the bloody crackdowns of the early 1980s. Bashar’s brother-in-law and chief of security, the illustrious General, Assef Chawkat, is said to be taken charge of the crackdown. Scores have reportedly been arrested. Continue reading “In the Last Few Days…”